On May 13 Governor Newsom released his “May Revise,” which updates the proposed budget he released in January. The state’s $301 billion budget, larger than most countries, contained a big surprise -- our budget surplus has grown to $97.5 billion.
California has some of the highest taxes in the United States, as the surplus demonstrates. So are we about to have some big tax cuts? I've advocated to suspend the gas tax for a year, try to spend down some of the state’s unfunded liabilities, estimated in the billions, and give a refund back to hardworking Californians to help defray the cost of living.
Well, no, the Governor and the majority in Sacramento actually believe we aren’t taxed enough! Apparently the surplus is too low. Why else would they not prevent a scheduled gas tax increase? Almost every day we break a new record for having the most expensive gasoline in the United States, and on July 1st, the cost goes up even more, thanks to the Governor and his supporters in the Legislature.
In addition to unprecedented gas prices, Californians are suffering from high grocery prices, rising crime, unaffordable housing and utility costs, increases in homelessness and poverty, wildfires and drought. Public safety has been compromised; new laws have weakened our criminal justice system. We need more, not less money for law enforcement. Spending on wildfire prevention should be increased, not cut by almost $1 billion as the Governor plans. Despite the driest 1st quarter in history, the budget has no additional funding for new reservoirs or water storage facilities, and there are no long term plans to address future droughts.
The taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be squandered on political wish lists. Common sense solutions are readily available; current leadership simply lacks the will to tackle the critical issues facing our state.