Patterico's Pontifications

3/15/2017

The (Tax) Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:01 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Well, I think it’s close to official by now: voters of Los Angeles County once again elected to send more of their take-home pay to the government last week when we (or at least those who voted for it) approved Measure H to levy a one-fourth of one percent sales tax for the next ten years in order to “prevent and combat homelessness.” Because this is a local tax initiative, it required a two-thirds majority from voters to pass, and after running nip-and-tuck right at the 2/3 level on election night it would appear that the count of mail-in ballots has safely pushed it beyond the threshold.

This is how it is in California and Los Angeles in the second decade of the century. Pretty much any tax initiative that purports to be “for the homeless” or “for the environment” or for some other progressive cause is assumed to be worthy. What’s more, if you tack on appeals to “help our veterans” like the Measure H supporters cynically did, you are almost assured that the low-information voter will sign on, and adding children, seniors, and battered women to the victim list just helps to gild the lily. After all, what’s a $0.0025 tax on purchases anyway? (Well, if you spend $400 then it is an additional $1 in taxes; if you spend $8,000 on taxable items in the course of a year, you’ve just voted an additional $20 out of your pocket to the government.)

The city of Los Angeles set the stage for their county neighbors this past November by passing Measure HHH which called on the city to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to build between 8,000 and 10,000 permanent units for the homeless, financing it by taxing commercial and residential properties within the city limits an average of $9.64 for every $100,000 in valuation. Facilities for mental health and addiction treatment would also be built with this money, so it’s a safe bet that they will fall well short of 10,000 new units constructed. Measure H was therefore sold as a companion measure which would pay for an army of social workers, addiction counselors, doctors & nurses, and job counselors to work with the homeless while the new housing authorized by HHH was being built. Is anyone surprised that a whole lot of new county employees are going to be hired thanks to these measures? In addition to the usual do-gooder organizations like the United Way, Children’s Defense Fund, and various churches, the measure was unsurprisingly supported by the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, and even the LA Chamber of Commerce, proving that all the fat cats come running inside when they hear the whirr of the social justice blade slicing into the can of taxpayer dough.

Back in November the voters of the Golden State voted to extend the income tax increase on “the rich” (defined as income of at least $263,000 per year for a single filer) which was due to expire this year, reminding us once again of the old adage that there is no such thing as a temporary tax. The state also voted to issue more bonds for school construction and raise the tax on tobacco products. In the same election, Los Angeles city votes passed Measure HHH and Los Angeles County voters passed Measure M which raised the sales tax by one-half of one percent ($1 on every $200 spent) to fund repairs on highways and roads and improvements in public transportation. With Democrats now holding supermajorities in both the California Assembly and Senate, legislators are now contemplating raising gas taxes, vehicle licensing fees, and perhaps even finding the nerve to take on the Sauron to their Frodo, Proposition 13.

History may record this as a turning point for the Golden State. Do progressives here accept that there are limits to how much money you can demand from your citizens and how many public services a sober government will try to provide, or are we on our way to being Greece, where rent-seeking and tax-avoidance became a way of life, or perhaps even Venezuela, where arrogant totalitarians who believed they were serving the poor and marginalized wrecked a prosperous nation through greed, corruption, and incompetence? I guess it will be interesting to see, but day by day I’m losing optimism.

– JVW

21 Responses to “The (Tax) Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves”

  1. The Dog Trainer has an interesting graphic showing how this measure fared in each county neighborhood. The official city of Los Angeles, which incorporates the West side including Venice and then down south into the LA Harbor area and San Pedro tended to favor it, while the parts of the county that were not a part of the city of Los Angeles tended to fall short of the 2/3 required support. That should tell you a lot about power politics out here.

    JVW (5de783)

  2. I would call it San Angeles after the dystopia in demolition man

    narciso (02f62d)

  3. If you want, Narciso, Ropelight, and I can start scouting houses for you here in Florida. Between the three of us, we can cover about half the state.

    Added inducement: we are having a cold snap. The overnight low is predicted to be 50°. I actually turned on the heat.

    kishnevi (37d538)

  4. Alternate name Los Infernales.

    kishnevi (37d538)

  5. What are the chances that just doing the paperwork on the new $0.0025 tax will cost more than that for the average business?

    Richard (8cc0da)

  6. Californians are entitled to other peoples money because they need it.
    sad.

    mg (31009b)

  7. There will be a noticeable impact on the homeless: it will raise the price of Thunderbird and Mad Dog 20/20 by a few cents.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  8. There was also JJJ which required paying “prevailing wages” in the construction of these units, and some private projects as well. So many hands out, so few coins trickling down to where it counts.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  9. It’s a sewer with zip codes.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  10. Most of the money the state spends on things like this go to the consultants who do study after study to examine the problems and review potential solutions. All very caring people.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  11. This seems to be the disconnect (2014 Austin Tx):

    http://www.mystatesman.com/business/surge-property-tax-bills-spurs-push-reform-tax-appraisal-process/wO52umRkY9gDizic4jfDFL/

    “I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

    “It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

    Every vote on new taxes, she had a chance to step in and address the big picture…

    BfC (5517e8)

  12. I saw a comment by a lefty regarding Trump’s 25% tax rate. They said it should be 100%, because he’s a billionaire.

    They simply don’t understand basic economics. Therefor, my guess is no, they won’t realize that there’s a breaking point.

    Arizona CJ (191c8a)

  13. please secede and take the 9th Circuit with you.

    NJRob (43d957)

  14. Greetings:

    Me, all I’m thinking is “Does it fell like serfdom yet ???”.

    11B40 (6abb5c)

  15. Thank you, JVW.

    There is a tension, at least here in the Bay Area, between old school liberals and nouveau riche techies. If at some point the techies realize they are the enemy of the state, things might change. I’m not holding my breath.

    ThOR (c9324e)

  16. So, are teachers old school or new school liberals?:

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/03/16/ca-lawmakers-want-to-exempt-teachers-from-state-taxes/

    Democratic senators Henry Stern of Los Angeles and Cathleen Galgiani of Stockton earlier this month introduced Senate Bill 807, which would exempt teachers from paying the state income tax – which would be the equivalent of a 4 percent to 6 percent salary increase – after five years in the classroom.

    California’s state income tax rate ranges from 1 percent to 12.3 percent, depending on taxable income. For example, taxable income between $40,774 and $51,530 draws a 8 percent tax rate while taxable income between $51,531 and $263,222 draws a 9.3 percent tax rate.

    So far the bill has not faced any opposition from lawmakers in either party. No figures have been released about the possible lost tax revenue from the proposed legislation.

    BfC (5517e8)

  17. Bfc, it wouldnt be so bad if by NOT collecting the taxes from teachers they were able to reduce headcount in the CA Treasurers (or the equivalent to the state Dept. of Revenue) office, but alas this is California. In the meantime, call their bluff and and ask for a salary freeze (or an end to “steps” that increase salary by # of years).

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  18. back in the day (year of the woman) when DiFi and “check bouncer” Boxer first ran for the Senate….

    Santa Clara Valley had a 1% sales tax add-on that was going to disappear. The Progressives proposed to keep the tax (surprise?) to synchronize the traffic lights (who knew that was so expensive?). It was asinine and completely idiotic. When it passed, I knew CA had jumped the shark. I found an exit strategy from my birth place…. The outside isn’t all that great…. mostly because progressive Californians keep leaving and bringing their evil ideals with them… sigh…

    jkstewart2 (9efb40)

  19. Our retailers thank you 😉
    (Inland Empire Resident)

    mark (ca18be)

  20. Since this is for “the homeless” who will be understandably short of ID documentation, will there be any citizenship requirement to board this gravy train?

    If not, how many other kinds of “undocumented” illegally voted to create this gravy train that would provide its largesse to them.

    Oh, wait. Illegal immigrants don’t vote. All the people who would benefit have told us so.

    bud (68b248)

  21. The illegals out there rent garages and take shifts on 3 mattresses per room in a house at worst. They ain’t mixin’ with what is usually considered to be the “homeless”.

    urbanleftbehind (30ffec)


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