Tax hikes are at the root of the 2012 political landscape in California. Governor Brown has his plan and at least three other tax proposals are hoping to join him on the November ballot. Whether or not the Governor succeeds in passing his proposal will go a long way in dictating the agenda for the rest of his term.
Working against the tax hikes is the perception that government does not spend taxpayer dollars efficiently. Pension costs continue to rise while funding for virtually every other program is cut. Stories about six-figure (and in Salinas this week, million-dollar) pension and benefit payouts for retired public employees continue to get headlines. Legislators award raises to their staff then spend taxpayer dollars to sue the state over getting their pay docked for last year’s late budget.
Against that backdrop CBS13’s investigative report tonight on the state missing millions of dollars in assets is significant. In November voters will be asked to send more of their money to Sacramento. As long as they are seeing stories like this and question how their government is spending the money they already gave them, it’s going to be a tough sell.