Thursday's front page featured Los Angeles-based reporter Adam Nagourney's paean to tax hikes, 'In California, Asking Voters To Raise Taxes.'
For 33 years, since the passage of Proposition 13 slashed property taxes in this state, California has been on the leading edge of the tax cut movement that has spread across the nation.
But faced with the prospect of withering budget cuts and deficits that stretch through at least the middle of the decade, that may be about to change.
A near glut of initiatives that would raise taxes are being aimed at the November 2012 ballot. A group of Republican and Democratic business leaders and former state officials calling itself the Think Long Committee for California is drafting an initiative to raise $10 billion by expanding the sales tax to services, while reducing personal and corporate taxes. Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, and legislators are negotiating the details of an income tax surcharge on the state's top earners and for a sales tax increase that in its latest form would raise $6 billion.
Nagourney then helped the Democrats pitch their tax hikes:
Yet the sheer abundance of undisguised tax-increase proposals is the latest evidence that spending cuts in California, arguably deeper and further along than almost anywhere in the country, may be producing a reconsideration among voters about taxes and the value of government. Democratic leaders said the tax campaign marks the start of the backlash that many of them, starting with Mr. Brown, had predicted would set in as budget cuts turned into the reality of closed parks, shortened school years, a reduced number of police officers on the streets and, in the case of California, the early release of felons from overcrowded jails and prisons.
There was not a word from Nagourney on how steep California taxes already are. The Tax Foundation finds California with the highest sales tax and third-highest top personal income tax in the nation, and other measures of tax levels are almost as uninviting for people and potential businesses.