Lte no on 29 120509


Published on

KernTax opinion on Prop. 29.

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Lte no on 29 120509

  1. 1. May 9, 2012Letter to the EditorRE: Prop. 29: A Flawed Measure Kern County Can’t AffordLast month, Sacramento politicians admitted again what we’ve known all along: their“house of cards” budget is collapsing. Based on overly optimistic revenue projectionsno one really believed, we’re now seeing reality come home to roost as actual taxreceipts come in billions below projections. This in turn threatens core functions of localgovernment, public safety and education, which receive major funding by the state.It’s no surprise revenues are still down. Bakersfield is still recovering from one of the worstforeclosure rates in the country, and unemployment here in Kern County is still higherthan the state average, at 15.9 percent. It’s even higher in communities like Delanoand Shafter.Times are still tough for many, and when times are tough and many people can’t evenpay their most important bills, it’s not the time for them to have to spend more moneythan they have – especially on new taxes.Sacramento should know this lesson too. But sadly, it doesn’t. Incredibly, one careerpolitician, apparently with too much time on his hands, thought that now, of all times,Californians should raise their taxes by another $735 million per year to create a newgovernment bureaucracy. This comes to us in the form of Proposition 29 on our Juneballot, and it carries with it a price tag Kern County can’t afford.In typical Sacramento fashion, political consultants know they can’t get your money bysaying they need more bureaucrats. So they cloak tax increases in good intentions – inthis case, cancer research. All Californians can agree that cancer research is a worthyendeavor, but with the federal government allocating $6 billion annually to researchand California spending $70 million on tobacco prevention and smoking cessationefforts, the last thing we need is a billion-dollar government agency duplicating manyof these efforts.Life is never as simple as proponents would have you believe; read the fine print ofProp. 29’s 4,515 words at and you’ll see that the measure is full offlaws. It allows a new commission, with six political appointees, to spend $110 million ayear on buildings and facilities and another $15 million for salaries, consultants andtravel. There is no accountability; these commissioners answer to no one, not theGovernor or the Legislature or the taxpayers. It allows for conflicts of interests with thecommissioners and the organizations they represent. And buried in the measure is aprovision that it can’t be modified for 15 years, even in the case of fraud andmismanagement. 1 2012/Communications/ LTE No on 29/ 120509
  2. 2. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. If voters look at previous commissions established atthe ballot box, they will see warning signals that the proponents of Prop. 29 deliberatelychose to ignore. For example, Proposition 71, passed in 2004, created the CaliforniaInstitute for Regenerative Medicine, which is better known for paying its president anearly $500,000 salary and its network of cronies handing out lucrative contracts than itis for groundbreaking stem cell research.Californians must not make the same mistake with Prop. 29. This initiative contains a lotof the same principles that will create a new government commission with noaccountability. It’s the same kind of ballot-box budgeting that has contributed to thechronic budget deficits our state faces today. It is a poorly written initiative that willgrow the size of our state government without lifting a finger to solve our budget deficitor improve schools. And the timing of this proposition could not be worse.Taxpayers in this economy shouldn’t even be asked to bankroll a cushy new stategovernment agency when the state is $10+ billion in the red and on the hook for $200billion in debt. Yes, cancer research is important, but Prop. 29 is a flawed measure thatwill only lead to higher taxes and bigger, less accountable government. Kern Countyalready sends a strong signal to Sacramento and the rest of the state: The volunteerswho conducted and participated in Bakersfield’s Relay for Life raised more than $2.1million for cancer research without a commission, without a new bureaucracy andwithout a new tax.Please vote no on Prop. 29.Michael TurnipseedMichael TurnipseedExecutive Director 2 2012/Communications/ LTE No on 29/ 120509