I have a great interest in the politics of the West Coast, having spent much time in those states. As a result, I’m very interested in the return of Jerry Brown as Governor of California.
This week, I saw an op-ed in the San Francisco Examiner that truly astonished me. The Examiner is an exceptionally conservative tabloid, in the same vein (and owned by the same people) as the Washington Examiner. It’s rare that I read something in that paper that surprises me; it’s a typical mashup of right-wing talking points. But I took notice at this:
Indeed, the history of the state’s chronic fiscal woes begins with the passage of Proposition 13 and, more pointedly, Brown’s decision to embrace it after its passage, shovel billions of dollars in state funds to local governments and schools to replace lost property taxes, then immediately slash state taxes.
The editorial is blaming Jerry Brown for the impact of Proposition 13, despite his extremely vocal opposition to it prior to its passage. And despite Republicans having held the Governor’s Mansion for more than twice much time as Democrats since its passage.
But what makes this especially astonishing is this: it’s a conservative editorial talking about limits on taxation as a bad thing! Proposition 13 was the first battle in the conservatives’ war on taxation, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen acknowledgement from the right that such single-minded opposition to taxation isn’t necessarily good.
Is it possible that the time has finally arrived for intelligent discussion about tax policy? I sure hope so, because it seems to me that Proposition 13 has done more damage to California than anything else that has ever happened to the state.