“Taxed to the Max” rally at state Capitol

Earlier today I joined with over 150 concerned taxpayers from around the state as we gathered on the West Lawn of the State Capitol. This noon rally was to send a message to CA legislators of our opposition to any tax increase to offset the state’s roughly $15 billion budget deficit. This “press conference,” adjacent to a huge inflatable ATM machine, was led by several conservative leaders urging no new taxes. Speakers or attendees included around 10 Assembly Members, several of whom addressed the crowd and the TV crews covering the event in the bright Sacramento sunshine.

When called to speak Irvine Republican Assemblyman Chuck DeVore said the “Lord giveth and the government taketh away.” He mentioned a proposal of billions in new taxes being floated. i-tune downloads, beer, virtually “if it moves–tax it; if it stands still they will still tax it.” He added “Ladies and gentlemen, we have had enough.” Chuck went on to report that while Assembly Democrats are proposing an unspecified $6 billion dollar tax increase the Senate has their own plan that will be $8 billion. To bypass the 2/3rds requirement he anticipates increasing of fees to raise around $1.2 billion. Unlike a tax to increase or impose a fee only requires a simple majority vote.

This rally is part of a multicity effort by the non-profit “Americans for Prosperity Foundation.” Peter Foy, California State Chairman informed that this national “grass roots” organization has Chapters in 21 states with a common goal. Stop tax increases.

Michael Villenas, Assembly Republican Leader, who functions as the Lead (Rep Caucus) Negotiator during “big 5” sessions with the governor, notified us that the Assembly is proposing a $6.4 billion dollar increase while the Senate is shooting for $11.8 billion. Mike said they have “no cuts” in their proposed budget. “That budget will go nowhere.”

Without a transcript listing every speaker and their comments let me simply add that Members George Runner and Van Tran provided brief remarks. I did speak to both Todd Spitzer and Jim Silva who were there to show their support.

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association president Jon Coupal was multitasking at the rally. I listened in as he was interviewed by a local radio station producer and overheard him state that “CA is in the worst fiscal situation (than any state) now in America.” Adding our “legislature is anti business, and anti taxpayer” and that “unlike the federal government we can’t print money.”

In his rally comments Jon said that “it’s time to tell the legislature to keep your hands off Prop 13.”

David Spady, California State Director of the Americans for Prosperity, told us that “taxpayers should not be an ATM machine.”

Flying out from Washington, DC was Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips who commended us for our productive efforts to get petitions signed. He reported that in a very brief timeframe we had gathered 28,000 petitions that were to be turned in today. He estimated that the current budget fight would continue into the summer.

At the conclusion of the press conference we were encouraged to pick up packets containing the 28,000 signatures which were sorted by representative and their room numbers for personal delivery. SRA member Joy Ferlauto and I picked up two bundles and carried the first one to the offices of Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod where I handed them to Alfonso Sanchez. Before having us leave Alphonso thumbed through the pages to make sure that they were in fact from their constituents. Our next stop was to the office of Senator Bob Margett. As bob was not in the office we gave them to his executive assistant scheduler Diana Franscella.

While riding the elevators or walking the halls looking for these offices we passed several groups carrying their own bundles of petitions wearing green T’shirts which read in part. “California Taxpayers. NO NEW TAXES!”

Before departing I did stop to chat with Assemblyman Bob Huff to congratulate him on his recent Senate victory over Dennis Mountjoy.

Let me share a few more facts to this lengthy report.

1. “The size of the state budget has increased by 30% or $34 billion over the last five years.”

2. “California has the fifth highest tax burden in the nation.”

3. “Together, education, health, and social services account for nearly 80% of General Fund spending in 2006-07.”

For additional information on Americans for Prosperity simply go to :



Final note. Fellow Juice blogger Vern Nelson attended the rally during which he spoke to Assemblymember DeVore on the controversial issue of same sex marriage.

About Larry Gilbert