Friday, 14 June 2024

Calkins: Confusion about overtaxation

Gov. Newsom has proposed his new budget. It is the largest budget ever for California.

He got a gift coming into office of $16 billion in excess (more tax revenue than expected). The budget indicates he can spend this on almost anything he wants. His bean counters project the excess will grow to $21 billion in 2019 thanks to our improved economy.

The same state has the highest fuel tax in the country (including diesel tax used in trucks to deliver our food and everything else) and last year it was significantly increased, along with increasing the highest DMV vehicle fees in the country.

During the recent election there was an opportunity to repeal these latest increases, California spent tens of millions on TV time so our last governor (aka Moonbeam) could explain over and over and over that if you did not vote these taxes back in, the state could not fix the potholes and make the roads safe. We sheep responded and saved the tax, who wants unsafe roads?

The increase adds another $52 billion in fuel taxes and vehicle fees over the next 10 years allowing California to initially spend $6 billion on roads annually (or on whatever they can tie to improving transportation for us, aka bullet train). Such road repairs have been in the budget all along. And the surplus could have fixed the roads.

Our overtaxed young families are unable to afford housing in areas with lots of jobs, and unable to afford fuel to commute between affordable housing and available jobs. Our state expects this excessive taxation to force them to buy electric cars which most young families do not want and such vehicles do not meet their needs or their limited budgets.

This letter is already too long to explain how else your taxation funds California’s noble goals of changing the planet’s climate.

My confusion (and conclusion): We have surpluses that exceed the entire budget of some states that fix their potholes, yet we overtax our young families and drive them out of the state to fix our potholes. Why? Please explain.

Ed Calkins lives in Kelseyville, Calif.

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