Editorial: Californians say ‘yes’ to housing measures. Mostly for the good.
Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of articles on initiatives in California this year. These articles include coverage of the Proposition 5 ballot measure, the California Tax Reform Act, Prop. 13, the state ballot measures that failed in 2010, the tax referendum for the state water bond and the state ballot measure that failed in 2011. For this story, the writer speaks with Dan Walters of the Los Angeles Times.
I love the phrase, “The Golden State.” The San Gabriel Valley, just east of Los Angeles, is a real hotbed of the California dream. Here in the San Gabriel Valley, more than 100,000 people live in just one district, Rancho Cucamonga, and more than 50,000 in just five. It is probably one of the most diverse regions in the United States.
Rancho Cucamonga may be the most successful example of the Golden State myth. It may define the state that has given me so many reasons to be optimistic about the future and, in the process, maybe made me an even more optimistic guy.
But there are also plenty of reasons not to be optimistic. In most areas of California, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. In Rancho Cucamonga, the rich have been getting richer. Rancho Cucamonga still has a lot of homeless people.
But the most powerful reason to vote against propositions 5 and 13, which would dramatically raise the state’s sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent and add another one-percent sales tax on luxury and foreign goods, is because neither measure will give the rest of California a chance to prosper. It will raise taxes on small businesses, which will cause them to lay off more people. It will increase health-care costs and cost more to taxpayers, who will have to pay higher taxes. It will cut off more resources than it will increase.
My concern is that voters are going to throw away the opportunity of improving lives of Californians, many of whom are doing exceptionally well, to vote for tax hikes that have no benefits to the people that will suffer the most: small businesses, small and mid-sized businesses.