In California, the Inmates Run the Asylum
Taxes, regulations, gun laws, sanctuary status — all of it is getting progressively worse.
California is nicknamed “The Golden State,” but we should really consider renaming it “The Trail Mix State,” because it’s now populated by fruits and nuts. The lunacy emanating from that once-great state has become impossible to satirize. What sane people say in mockery, California “progressives” take as the next revolutionary idea.
Though a net of 140,000 residents per year are fleeing California, the Democrat-dominated state legislature continues to find creative ways to increase taxes.
At 13.3%, California leads the nation with the highest state income-tax rate. It also has astronomically high real-estate prices, along with the property taxes that accompany them. There is also a 7.25% state sales tax (not including additional local sales taxes), and a myriad of state excise taxes ($2.87/pack for cigarettes, $0.473/gallon for gas, 33% for vending machine fruit … yes, that’s a thing).
Bad? Yes, but still not enough for the blood-sucking Democrats in the state capitol.
In addition to the above-named taxes, and more, Democrats are proposing a jaw-dropping litany of additional taxes, ranging from a two-cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks, to new taxes on “tires, firearms, water, prescription painkillers, lawyers, car batteries, corporations based on their CEO pay, estates worth more than $3.5 million, oil and gas extraction.” There is even a proposal to turn San Francisco’s world-famous Lombard Street into a toll road, and a proposed tax on text messaging.
In all, the current proposals would raise taxes an estimated $6.2 billion on Californians, and that number will only rise as bills go through the amendment process.
Ironically, while there are several proposals to increase taxes on sugary drinks, there is also a proposal to reduce the tax on marijuana. Coke bad, pot good?
Recent polling shows 63% of Californians believe they are paying too much in taxes, yet these same Californians have given Democrats absolute control of state government — a Democrat governor, a 61-19 majority in the state House, and a 28-10 majority in the state Senate. It seems the problem for the state’s citizens is not that tax rates are too high, but that their tax rates are too high. They are perfectly happy with a lavish welfare state and the high taxes that fund it so long as they aren’t the ones paying the taxes.
Then there are the hidden taxes of regulation.
In an effort to combat the phantom menace of “global warming,” California is now considering a proposal to ban natural-gas appliances in homes and businesses. This would mean replacing literally millions of gas stoves, gas dryers, gas water heaters, and gas furnaces with those that run on electricity. Since many homes and businesses do not have the 220-volt wiring required to power these major appliances, owners would face the cost of not only replacing multiple major appliances, but of rewiring buildings to accommodate the new electric appliances. The total cost would be devastating to most home and business owners, even if the retrofit was partially subsidized by government (read: “taxpayers subsidizing themselves”).
Considering nearly 45% of California’s electrical generation is fueled by natural gas, this would be a massive, and massively expensive, undertaking. Since California has a tiered-rate system for electrical usage, with rates increasing the more electricity is consumed, people who now pay as little as $20/month for natural gas to fuel their appliances would face enormous cost increases when converting everything to electric.
This may be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for millions of middle-class Californians, many of whom already absorbed a brutal electricity rate hike of up to 80% in 2015.
To make matters worse, the 2017 Republican tax cuts ended low-tax states subsidizing high-tax states by capping the state and local income tax (SALT) deduction at $10,000, meaning potentially tens of thousands of dollars more in taxes owed.
Continuing on their current path, Californians will soon learn the harsh lesson New York has just learned; namely, that when you have a highly progressive tax system that punishes productivity, the producers can afford to pull up stakes and move to low-tax states. In New York, the loss of a relatively small handful of high earners has blasted a $2.3 billion hole in the state budget.
Of course, the financial aspect is hardly the only aspect of California’s lunacy.
This is a state that recently reduced the crime of knowingly infecting a sexual partner with HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor, but you can go to jail for offering plastic straws.
This is a state where public urination and defecation is now legal, and it has gotten so bad that someone invented an app to help people avoid the piles of human feces in San Francisco.
This is a state that proudly declares itself a “sanctuary state” for illegal aliens, with state government officials actually aiding criminal illegal aliens in escaping from federal immigration authorities, even when these criminals are killing innocent Californians. Worse, California’s gun laws are draconian, preventing the vast majority of law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.
This is a state where you can now choose your gender on state ID’s; male, female, or nonbinary.
In short, this is a state that has lost its collective mind. The inmates are truly running the asylum.