Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner explains his opposition to Prop 1A

The following guest commentary is from the Flash Report. Thanks to Jon Fleischman for posting this information. Let me remove any Juice reader doubts regarding my position on Prop 1A. Simply stated, Vote NO!


Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner March 23, 2009

 Sadly, the California Legislature is up to its old tricks. 

A year ago, legislative leaders Don Perata and Fabian Nunez, pushed Proposition 93 in an effort to trick the voters into weakening term limits.  The politicians had their crony, Attorney General Jerry Brown, write the ballot language so that voters would think it was a toughening of term limits when it was actually a dramatic loosening of the law to benefit incumbents.

I was so outraged by how deceitful and self-serving the legislators were with Proposition 93 that I led the effort to defeat it.  Despite being outspent by over $10 million, we stood up to the Sacramento power brokers and convincingly defeated this misleading initiative.   

It’s a year later, and once again the politicians are manipulating the levers of power in an attempt to fool the voters.  The legislators are shamefully abusing the electoral process to prevent the people from learning the full story about what they will be voting on in the May 19th special election.

Make no mistake: If they get away with their latest scheme it will cost you dearly.  Specifically, the politicians don’t want you to know all the facts when it comes to Proposition 1A.  This is the ballot measure that would impose a state constitutional spending limit – a concept that is supported by an overwhelming majority of Californians.

However, if the measure passes, it will also extend the huge tax increases recently approved by the legislature. Passage of Proposition 1A means that the near-doubling of the car tax, the 1 cent statewide sales tax increase, the income tax hike and the reduction in the dependent tax credit would continue for an additional two years.  That adds up to an estimated $16 billion in higher taxes.  It’s no surprise these taxes are not supported by the majority of Californians.

That’s why our state legislators want to keep the truth from you about Proposition 1A and they’ve stacked the deck in their favor.  So when you read the official ballot description of the measure – what should be an objective description on what is being voted on – you will see no mention of the taxes.  The legislative leadership wrote the ballot description themselves and intentionally omitted any reference to the tax increase extension.  They made sure what you read is biased. 

After a lawsuit was filed by Proposition 1A opponents, a judge ordered minor wording changes in the slanted ballot description but the extension of the $16 billion in taxes is still not mentioned.

Sixteen billion dollars in taxes – now that’s quite a fact to keep hidden from the voters!     

Proposition 1A was crafted out of public view in a backroom as part of a deeply flawed budget deal that was passed in the dead of night.  This alone is reason enough for Prop. 1A  to be defeated.  The legislature’s effort to mislead the voters is another reason. And, then, of course, there are the original 16 billion reasons.

California taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay for the legislature’s gross fiscal mismanagement.  We already have one of the worst state economies in the nation and one of the highest unemployment rates – now at a staggering 10.5%.  We are a high-tax state that is becoming increasingly less competitive economically in the global economy.  The taxes contained in Proposition 1A will only make it worse.

The tax increases that comprised the budget deal are particularly regressive – hitting hardest the state’s middle-class and working-class families who can’t afford Sacramento lobbyists to protect their interests.   It’s estimated an average California family of four will have to pay an extra $1,000 or more a year in taxes.  Extending these tax increases is simply wrong.

California needs to change direction. Our citizens – and our economy – are reeling and can’t afford this tax burden indefinitely.  If we are going to begin to turn the corner on the state’s disastrous tax and spend policies of the last decade, we must roll back the recent tax hikes as quickly as possible. And the fastest way to do this is to defeat Proposition 1A.

California’s on-going fiscal crisis requires a systematic restructuring of state government.  We must bring into the 21st Century a system that was designed in the 19th Century and been built piecemeal ever since.

A few weeks ago I declared at the state Republican Convention that Californians should pay “not another dime” in higher taxes until state government is first reformed and made more fiscally accountable.

We need to do more with less.  At the Department of Insurance, we permanently cut our operating budget by 10%.  We did this not with indiscriminate meat axe cuts but through investing in technology and careful strategic planning. Then we reduced fees by millions of dollars for the small business people who deal with the department.  We made this agency more effective and more efficient in the process.  We need to do the same across state government.

Over the next two months, I will be speaking out against the cynical and misleading 1A.  I hope you will join me. Vote NO on higher taxes.  Vote NO on Proposition 1A.

_________________________________ Steve Poizner was elected Insurance Commissioner of California in 2006.  He is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2010.”

Juice readers. To provide equal access I will post comments from any other gubernatorial candidates regarding this ballot measure.

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