Written By: Assemblywoman Young Kim, Originally Posted in Orange County Register
Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2015-16 budget plan prescribes $113 billion in General Fund spending.
We may not all agree on the details of the spending plan, but one thing is certain: Gov. Brown and legislative Democrats cannot raise taxes on Californians without Republican support. And that’s largely the result of key Republican legislative victories last year that denied the Democrats their two-thirds supermajorities in the state Assembly and Senate.
Since 2010, when voters passed Proposition 26 to expand the two-thirds vote requirement to pass a variety of regulatory fees, the Legislature has been forced to achieve greater consensus before taking more money from taxpayers. Although the vote threshold was increased, the initiative placed a spotlight on the political makeup of state government. During the November election, Republicans secured a sufficient number of seats in both houses of the Legislature to ensure that no tax increase could pass without GOP support.
The GOP’s ability to block taxes is critical because many new taxes have been proposed. In recent weeks, for example, the speaker of the Assembly proposed a new $1.8 billion annual tax to fund transportation projects. Other potential tax increase proposals include extending the sales tax to services and taxing oil production and cigarettes. We’re also witnessing the erosion of Proposition 13 property tax protections.
If every cause was embraced with new government spending and Democrats’ ability to levy taxes were unchecked, taxpayer’s would be left with even less in their wallets and more money going to grow government spending without accountability.
Politicians in Sacramento too easily seem to forget the commitments they make when campaigning. They sold the Proposition 30 tax increases to voters in 2012 as a silver bullet for California’s budget problems, yet our educational system remains one of the weakest in the country while state colleges and universities consider tuition increases.
We shouldn’t be balancing the state budget on the backs of higher education students. That’s why I’ve introduced a measure to freeze tuition at California State University campuses and community colleges – an encourage the UC system to do the same – for as long as Prop. 30 is in effect. Taxpayers remember the political promises, and we must act to hold government accountable while working to improve our educational system for current and future students.
Without Republican victories last November, tax increases would be a near certainty in the Legislature, with no other backstop than Governor Brown’s veto pen. The GOP resurgence provides a critical check and balance.
Despite what some say, the effort to eliminate the Democratic supermajority was no mistake; quite the contrary. Election victories were the result of a strategic effort by Republican leaders to ensure good candidates ran for office equipped with the skills and resources to win. This program was instrumental in my own success.
The program is called California Trailblazers, and it helped to make the difference for successful campaigns in key legislative races. The program is critical to the success of the Republican Party in California and to ensuring we have fiscally conservative and constituent-focused leaders in Sacramento. More simply stated, the effort helped eliminate one-party rule, unobstructed expansion of government and a parade of special interest tax increases.
In fact, California Trailblazers is the only statewide candidate support program helping to elect Republicans to the Assembly and state Senate. Program leaders, like the chairman of Hispanic 100, Mario Rodriguez, from Orange County, are working with Republican legislative leaders and state party officials to ensure efforts are aligned and candidates are equipped to run successful campaigns.
I’m not the only California Trailblazers success story. Assemblyman David Hadley of the South Bay, state Sen. Janet Nguyen of Orange County and Assemblywoman Catharine Baker from the East Bay also ran and won as part of the Trailblazer team. Today, the Trailblazer Caucus is working together to serve our constituents by fighting against harmful tax policies that stifle small businesses and prevent economic growth.As the adage goes, elections have consequences. And today, that means greater taxpayer protection so the tax-and-spend majority in Sacramento is no longer free to waste taxpayer money without the highest level of accountability.
While the recent successes are helping defeat new and increased taxes, the longer-term goal to increase Republican membership in the state Legislature continues with momentum.
Having a foundational organization committed to supporting qualified and motivated candidates is a game-changer for the Republican Party in California. Most importantly, it has restored the voice of the taxpayer in the Capitol.
Young Kim, R-Fullerton, represents the 65th Assembly District