What voters want

It continues to perplex us that virtually the entire political leadership of Sacramento has decided that the recent election was somehow a directive to make deep, drastic cuts to the budget without looking for new sources of revenue.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger leads the pack and is proposing nothing but spending cuts to resolve the state’s $24.3 billion deficit, with terrible consequences. Health care for 900,000 children—gone. Cal Grants for 118,000 college students—gone. Most state parks—closed. CalWORKs welfare-to-work program—abolished. (See “State of surgery” below.) State universities—cut by another $481 million.

Is this what voters wanted? No. According to a recent Field Poll, they oppose cuts in all of these areas except parks and prisons.

Not only that, but they also support tapping new sources of revenue in California. For example, 73 percent support an oil-extraction fee of the kind that other oil-producing states have, 63 percent support raising the state income tax for top earners and 59 percent support prohibiting corporations from offsetting more than 50 percent of their taxes through tax credits.

Most significant, 63 percent of California voters support closing the tax loophole that allows corporations to avoid reassessment of newly purchased property. Changing Proposition 13’s method of reassessing commercial properties won’t solve the state’s immediate fiscal problems, but it certainly merits investigation.

It’s asking too much of California’s poor and middle-class residents and too little of its businesses and wealthy individuals to come up with $24.3 billion solely by cutting programs. That’s not what Californians want.