Walker and Brown, who both took office on the same day, Jan. 3, 2011, faced tremendous budget deficits and squawking public employee unions demanding higher taxes. Brown obliged; Walker would not.I predict the voters of California will reject Brown's tax hike. We're tired of throwing more and more of our money into an increasingly dysfunctional state government run by public employee unions. The reason the tax base is deteriorating in California is because the government has done everything it can to run small business out of the state. With ridiculous environmental policies and a stupidly high regulatory burdens the business climate is so unfriendly that companies that can are leaving. Those that can't are failing. Want more tax revenue? End the war on business.
Faced with a $3.6 billion deficit, Walker lowered taxes — freezing property taxes and bringing down school property taxes. He also painted a realistic and honest budget picture for his constituents and pushed for painful but necessary reforms that cut collective bargaining rights for government unions and created more competition, like allowing private vendors to bid on health insurance contracts for school districts, which reduced costs.
Seventeen months later, Wisconsin is projected to have a $154 million surplus by the summer of 2013. And, the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute reported that Walker’s reforms have saved taxpayers $1 billion.
In California, Gov. Brown, returning to the post he left in 1983, sided with unions from day one. Early on, he appointed a California Teachers Association lobbyist, Patricia Rucker, to the state Board of Education. He also presented Californians with an unrealistic budget that projected far more state revenue than what eventually came in.
Partially as a result of such budgeting gimmickry, the state’s projected $9 billion budget shortfall has ballooned to $17 billion.
Brown’s plan to close the gap is to convince voters in November to inflict higher taxes on themselves, an approach blessed by unions. Should his tax increases pass, they would raise only about $8.5 billion, a far cry from the $17 billion needed to close the budget hole. And that means California will continue on the path of dysfunctional budgeting and sidestepping meaningful reform.
No more new taxes for California's black hole of government.