Jul 16, 2012 3:50 PM GMT
Spending has more than doubled, from $45.4 billion in 1996 to more than $92.5 billion today. Income, sales and car taxes have all been hiked. As a result, California has the most progressive income tax system in the nation, with seven income tax brackets, and the second-highest top marginal rate.
Even with all those tax hikes, California's 2012 budget is still $15.7 billion in the red. So what does Gov. Jerry Brown want to do? Raise taxes again, of course. He has proposed a ballot initiative that would: 1) raise sales taxes on everyone and 2) raise incomes taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year (like Obama has proposed to do nationally). But even this $8.5 billion tax hike would still leave the state $7.5 billion short. Where will California get that money? Who knows?
And that is not the only spending binge California Democrats haven't paid for. Just this month, the state legislature approved a $2.6 billion bond sale in order to fund construction on a scaled-back $68.4 billion high-speed rail project that will supposedly connect San Francisco and Los Angeles.
If California begins construction on the train before this December 31 (a big if), Obama has agreed to give the state $3.5 billion in federal money to help. But that still leaves a $62.3 billion hole. Where does California plan to get that money? Who knows?
With all of this unfunded government spending, Keynesian-Democratic thinking would predict that California's economy should be booming.
At 10.8 percent, California has the third-highest unemployment rate in the country. There are fewer private-sector jobs in the state today, 11.9 million, then there were in 2000, 12.2 million.
And thanks to liberal welfare requirements, a third of all the nation's welfare recipients live in California despite the state only containing one-eighth of the national population.