This article was originally published in Partisan issue no. 21, printed September 2005.
The Democrats declare neutrality in Schwarzenegger's war on the people
On November 8, you will need to vote against some dangerous propositions which will reduce state services and hurt workers. There won't be any chance to vote for money to meet human needs. It's not that there is no money in this state. The Democratic Party leader of the State Assembly, Fabian Nunez, frequently claims that he wants to raise taxes on the highest income brackets (the less than 2% of California taxpayers who make over $138,566). This would restore taxes that former Republican governor Pete Wilson approved in 1991.
But the Democrats in the Legislature have yet to take on Schwarzenegger's "no tax increase" mantra. In fact, they have helped him cut state and local revenues. They passed the 2005-2006 state budget with its "smoke and mirrors" combination of cuts to needed services and borrowed money. They are attacking Schwarzenegger for his personal wealth from his outside jobs and promotion of performance-enhancing drugs. They are his loyal allies when it comes to increasing the general wealth of the rich and the corporations at the expense of working people.
Instead of putting a measure on the ballot to tax wealth to fund our dwindling services, the Democrats counted on cutting a deal with the governor. And what was their bottom line? Extending their current term limits so they can stay in office, plus Schwarzenegger's pledge to stay away from the "paycheck protection act." The only right of working people they seem to want to protect is the right to give money to their campaign funds. Apparently they are more concerned with their security than with ours.
And don't bother looking for the split roll property tax measure. That initiative would have raised taxes on the increased value of property owned by business and corporations while leaving homeowners under the current protection of Prop 13. It didn't gain enough signatures by the deadline to be on the Nov. 2005 ballot.
The California Teachers' Association (CTA) did collect enough signatures to qualify a split-roll tax measure for the June 2006 primary ballot. But CTA president Barbara Kerr says she will not put it on the ballot because the teachers' union is making a deal with major corporations. These are the corporations who are attacking unions with the "paycheck deception" act. They want more say in how the schools are run without paying taxes. Haven't they already done enough damage with their standardized curriculum and testing agenda?