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POLL: Should California Raise Taxes to Balance the Budget?

A majority of voters favor Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan, according to a new Field Poll. Do you agree?

Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing hard for voters to help balance California's budget by passing a November ballot proposition raising taxes.

Fifty-four percent of voters surveyed in a recent Field Poll supported the proposal to raise taxes on sales and high-income earners, while 38 percent opposed it.

Voters were evenly split on two other tax proposals. The first, backed by attorney Molly Munger, would temporarily raise income taxes on nearly all Californians and put most of the money towards schools. Another, supported by hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, would raise taxes on out-of-state businesses, with the money split between energy conservation and the state's general fund.

We're curious what Elk Grove Patch readers think about these options. Which tax measure do you support? Or do you oppose them all? Vote in our poll, and tell us your reasons in the comments.

patchreader July 09, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Sure, lets keep telling the "wealthy" they get to pay more taxes to support the rest of us.....after all, the State of California can't seem to make the necessary cuts to live within it's budget, so why should the middle and lower classes. How many of you complaining about "barely making it" have iphones at $100 a month? Ipods or Ipads? Cable or satellite service for your big screen television? Eat out and go to movies? Wait and start a family when you could actually afford to-by going to college first, then having kids? How much time and money does the legislature waste each year with nonsense bills? How much is wasted when they check in just to get a per diem, then go home? Redoing their offices every year? Staff pay raises when everyone else was on furlough days? Oh, that's right-they work harder than the rest of us. How much money do we spend every year to educate kids who are here illegally? How much do we spend on healthcare for illegals? How about tax fraud by illegals? Billions upon billions upon billions. What about welfare fraud? And people on welfare who keep having baby after baby after baby? Nope, no tax increases unless everyone pays. Over half our state don't pay any income taxes. That needs to change.
Stan July 09, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I would suggest that you go to Wikipedia and put in California Commissions and it will show you over 500 commissions and agencies. It's easy to prove a negative with FACTS.
M.Legison July 09, 2012 at 05:28 PM
California needs a little Margaret Thatcherism to convert the takers into givers, even if just a little. Brown knew the only way the sales tax initiative had a chance was to include the soak the rich portion rather than separate them. His initiative lacks language that promises to fund education. Munger's is the most fair and education specific.
Think Free July 09, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Right, lets go after the ones not paying their fare share of taxes. The People on assistance, the elderly on social security. How about if we change the unemployed more in taxes. That is the way to get the people who are not paying taxes to make up for us who are working, can buy our own food etc. Thats is your Repubnothing answer.
Think Free July 09, 2012 at 05:40 PM
They always leave out "Who" those people are that are not paying taxes. It is a deception. That is what they speak in. Deception speak!
M.Legison July 09, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Maynard G. Krebs reincarnated.
M.Legison July 09, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I don't think Gov. Brown is the central problem. He is attempting to do what he said he would try to do, but he like others before him is failing in the face of an out of control, tax and spend Legislature that has been purchased by the unions years ago. With the new 50%+1 majority vote, all the Republicans can do is attempt to block more spending as they have no power. Brown is a liberal Democrat but I believe him to be reasonable to the extent he is allowed to be. I have no confidence in this state remaining solvent and the Democrats don't care. They know the Fed will bail us out because there is no practical alternative.
patchreader July 09, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Estimates are $12 BILLION to educate illegal immigrant kids just in California. Another $1 BILLION for all the illegals in prison in California (paid by the Feds, we pay in taxes). Around $400 mill the State of CA pays for them. This doesn't include healthcare costs from ER visits. No, no more taxes. Shut off the flow of money.
Gary Erwin July 09, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Let's DNA ID each illegal immigrant prisoner and then have them sign a contract stating that if they ever return to California that they will immediately be returned to prison as a parole violation. After doing this lets return them to their country of origin, with a copy of their CDC file. If they come back to California they immediately go back to prison. If they do not return we are rid of them.
Mark Paxson July 09, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Stan, your claim was that all of those commissions have "paid termed-out politicians "appointed" to them." The simple reality is that the vast, vast majority of them do not. The vast majority of them involve existing state officials serving on the commissions as part of their regular duties. Yes, there are a few that involve paid members, but again, almost all of them are not. Again, facts help.
Think Free July 09, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Perfect picture for ya https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=442349889129612&set=a.412455585452376.97064.174612345903369&type=1&theater
Think Free July 09, 2012 at 11:48 PM
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=442349889129612&set=a.412455585452376.97064.174612345903369&type=1&theater
Mark Paxson July 10, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Ah, yes, another beautiful "fact" ... Do you realize that the State spent approximately $48 billion on k-12 and community colleges in 2011-12? Do you really think that 1/4 of that went to educating the children of illegal immigrants?
lynn wheat July 10, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I would like to address local city spending of our tax dollars and fees. For instance we all voted for a tax increase; utility tax on cellphones...if you have a land line and cellphone you actually are paying more. This ballot measure was written so well most didn't pick up on it....this was our leaders was of collecting more tax...this helped out the city budget this year. Now...more the city has an application for a sphere of influence; 8,000 more acres of development. Is this what the city needs? The residents need? 700,000 plus has already been spent on this deal and another 300,000 plus is budgeted for this next year. How will this benefit those who have lost so much equity in their homes? Who will really benefit from this land expansion. The mess all begins at the local level....
Stan July 10, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Mark, why don't you ever post an original thought instead of responding to others comments, then others can correct your misstatements, which are routine.
Mark Paxson July 11, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Stan ... you have an odd way of making an argument or participating in a discussion. You might want to pay attention. I post a lot of original thoughts here on EG Patch, while also pointing out inaccuracies posted by others and also points which I disagree with. You have posted several "facts" here and instead of backing them up when challenged choose to attack me. It's typical and exactly why a reasoned discussion is impossible. You want to believe that California spends $12 billion on the education of illegal immigrants, go for it. You want to believe that there are 500 or 600 state commissions full of paid, termed-out politicians, go for it. But, every time you post crap like that to prove your point, I'm going to challenge it.
M.Legison July 11, 2012 at 05:27 AM
"Taxes are lower now then they have been in decades ... at both the state and national level." That is a false statement Mark. Had you have added the word "bracket" to the federal statement you'd be correct, but the net taxable income is much higher now for taxpayers making over $100,000 than it was back when we had the 70% bracket. Back then, prior to 1986 we had short term write-offs, ITC, short term depreciation, and a host of deductions and loopholes that no longer exist. Very few taxpayers with those earning paid any significant taxes then. The brackets are lower now, but the net taxes are higher. As to the state, and I will not ask you to show proof because this is a discussion board and not a court proceeding, I believe you are wrong there as well when PIT and sales tax are considered. PIT is clearly higher, and California with the recent millionaire's tax is now the highest personal tax state in the nation.
Mark Paxson July 11, 2012 at 02:20 PM
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/how-we-pay-taxes-11-charts/255954/ ... Please note that the chart attached to the heading "Are We Paying More Than We Used To" is for effective tax rates. Not brackets, no, the chart is for effective tax rates ... meaning what individuals are actually paying. Feel free to look at all of the other charts and tables and explain to me how I'm wrong that the tax burden on individuals is lower now than it has been in for decades, well, oddly enough, except for some portions of the middle class, where it is ever so slightly higher. Here's something else ... corporations are paying at a lower effective rate than they have in decades ... http://business.time.com/2012/02/06/the-corporate-tax-rate-is-at-its-lowest-in-decades-is-big-business-paying-its-fair-share/. Ignore who the author is and note that he is basing his article on a WSJ study. As for California ... any discussion of tax burden that doesn't include property taxes is not a legitimate discussion. Many of the states with lower PIT and sales taxes have higher property taxes, which given the value of property owned by the wealthy, is going to hit them a heck of a lot harder than the less well off. One more point, PIT on the wealthy now is lower than it was under Governors Wilson and Reagan when they had budget crises to fix. Here's what I wish for ... rates at those levels, tax oil production like every other oil producing state, broaden the tax base.
M.Legison July 11, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Those pretty graphics are pleasing to the eye, aren't they Mark? Too bad they don't prove your point as they too use brackets (rates) and not net taxes or net taxable income. Most of the graphics are supposedly from the very liberal Tax Policy Center and New York Times. I prefer the IRS data and tax codes. Their graphics are not as pretty and the writing isn't as pert, but at least you have the primary source. We're going to include property tax now for state comparisons? OK, then let's include gasoline tax and the other embedded confiscatory fiscal items as well. Want to try that ranking again Mark?
Mark Paxson July 12, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Oh M., why do you do this to yourself? I'll ignore your mischaracterization of the key table in the first link I included above and do as you suggest. Here's a link to IRS data, straight from their website ... http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/indtaxstats/article/0,,id=133521,00.html. Unfortunately, it only covers 1986-2009, however, included in the information on that page, is a chart that shows that average tax rates (not brackets, but the actual real level of taxation for individuals) for those 23 years. If you bother to look, you'll see that the average tax rates ever since the Bush tax cuts are lower than they were for the prior fifteen years ... across the board. Considering that those tax cuts are still in place, I'm pretty confident nothing has changed in the last three years. The only thing worth comparing is the percentage taxes paid, not net taxes or net taxable income. As incomes go up, net taxes and net taxable income goes up ... as a result, you're trying to recast what I have been saying which is this. Americans, across the board, are paying a lower percentage of their income in taxes then they have in decades. The IRS data shows it, the Atlantic tables show it. It's really not a difficult concept.
M.Legison July 12, 2012 at 12:46 AM
One would think man in your position would have at least a fundamental understanding of taxation and proper terms, but clearly you do not. Effective tax rates are factors, applied to taxable income, after using all marginal brackets, not just the top. Net taxable income is the amount taxed by the effective tax rate factor , and that product, Mark, is what has increased for earners over $100K due to the deductions, credits, and some loopholes, previously available that no longer are. Should you need any other clarification on matters of taxation, I'd be glad to help.
Mark Paxson July 12, 2012 at 03:19 AM
M. ... please feel free to educate me as I'm a member of the unwashed masses. Which deductions, credits and other loopholes have been eliminated over the past 25 years? And, while you're at it, please also educate me on the other deductions, credits and other loopholes that have taken their place and other reductions that benefit the wealthy more than everybody else. Let's see, capital gains tax lower than it has been historically, one of the reasons the Republican candidate for President can earn millions of dollars and have an effective tax rate of less than 15%. Let's see carried interest for private equity managers. Hmmm ... Oh, yeah, the increasing threshold at which estates are taxed. For every tax you say is higher, for every deduction or credit you claim has been eliminated, I can probably point to another that has benefited the wealthy, the middle class, or the poor. Unfortunately, I think there's a lot here you and I would probably agree with ... broadening the tax base, a fair tax system, and a recognition that the current model isn't working. Where you think the solution is less taxes and, therefore, less revenue for government, I think the solution lies in bringing back taxes and revenue to a level where it seemed to be working. Sorry, but trickle down economics is a pretty much disproven economic theory, unless, of course, your real interest is in starving the beast.
Mario July 12, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Todd you keep saying the Repubs broke and are to blame...Repubs havent been in charge of anything in California for a long time. Your record is broken. I am independent , everyone is to blame.
M.Legison July 12, 2012 at 03:46 AM
From a previous post, for openers: short term write-offs, ITC, short term depreciation, and a host of deductions and loopholes that no longer exist. You have to get to pre 1986 to see the big difference. Back then we were in exploration and every time we'd spud a gas well it was like the sky came down with write-offs. They continued through the life of the well, if it produced. If not, the ITCs would be charged against the equipment. Add in some soft write offs like non competes and there was no end in sight. I'm not suggesting it was fair or unfair, but it provided us with salable tax shelters. Nothing like that is available today. Same with equipment and real estate. You'd have to spend more time than I am willing to in constructing a list of the differences, but feel free now that you have a start and a little more information. No argument on capital gains, it's low and it probably should be lower. Bush's cut was probably the biggest stimulus in his entire tax program.
Mark Paxson July 12, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I'd suggest having a balanced budget which freed up hundreds of billions of dollars that once were invested in treasuries provided a much greater stimulus than any tax cut did.
Mark Paxson July 12, 2012 at 11:49 PM
By the way, M., I've been looking up what the effective tax rate calculation is based on. I have yet to find a source for it being based on net taxable income, but have found multiple sources as describing the correct way to calculate it is to use total income, not net taxable income, as you suggest. Yes, the IRS reports those numbers based on what people report as AGI, but, the % is actually based on gross income. I just reviewed my tax return, it shows an effective tax rate of just over 10%. Based on income and taxes, that's clearly a calculation based on total income. And, here's the kicker, an "effective tax rate" isn't "effective" if its based on AGI, or net taxable income. So, your claims to the contrary, with the effective tax rate lower, almost across the board, than it has been in decades, people are paying a lower percentage of their income in taxes than they have in quite some time.
M.Legison July 13, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Let's go through it together. Let's say you make $100,000 salary. That's your Total Income, assuming you don't have a Schedule C and if you do that's added in here. You may have a few offsets or additions for things like moving expense, self employment tax and the result after adding and subtracting is your Adjusted Gross Income. Now, you apply Schedule A deductions or your standard deduction if you're not a Schedule C filer, and the remainder is your Total Taxable Income. It is mainly the schedule A deductions (loopholes, offsets, credits, deductions) that have been largely eliminated, so if we made $100K in 1985 and $100K in 2010 our 1985 Total Taxable Income would have been much much smaller even though the Effective Tax Rate (using marginal rates for the Taxable Income) would have been higher. The result is a lower check to the IRS in 1985 than 2012. Of course this is not true in every case as I said before, and mostly for either high income earners or those with a LOT of write-offs and shelters. Back in 1985 $100K was a lot of income and those were considered high earners. Those are the taxpayers that really benefitted from the pre TRA write-offs. Is that more clear now, Mark?
Tomas July 13, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Like we need to raise taxes on all Gringos. They got the money and the people need it. So why doesnt Gov Brown ask for more money fromn the Gringos? They got it and we need it. Otherwise we got to go take it if they don't give it up. Stores and such should, like have to pay more. They got the money and all are Gringo owned.
Think Free July 13, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Us Gringos don't need no stinking badges!
Think Free July 13, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Mark, I do no understand why you keep arguing with this guy. Everything he says is party line and distorted. Arguing with republican tea baggers is a waste of time, their heads are stuck up their anus!

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