Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Tax rebates are a bad idea

TomEliasW

By
From page A12 | March 16, 2014 |

If there’s a state budget surplus, let’s return it to the people we took it from. That’s the demand these days from conservative Republicans led by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who now represents a lot of barren desert and would like to be governor of California.

It’s quite a siren song and one we’ve heard before, most recently 14 years ago. Who wouldn’t like to open the mail and find a fat check from the state?

But it’s a bad idea. Just ask Gray Davis, the former governor ousted in a 2003 recall election and replaced by muscleman actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Davis acquiesced in 2000, when legislative Republicans voiced precisely the same arguments made by Donnelly today. A case can be made that there was a straight line from the rebates he ordered then to the recall. The refunds ranged up to $150 for 12.3 million Californians who filed tax returns in 1999 ($300 for couples filing jointly).

Those checks weren’t the only way Davis returned money to taxpayers. He also cut the vehicle license fee (aka: the car tax) and exempted 275,000 public school teachers from having to pay any state tax on their teaching income. He increased the research and development credit for corporations from 12 percent to 15 percent. He doubled property tax assistance for the disabled and those over 62 and he gave $600 a month each to senior citizens in rent relief.

Then came the dot-com bust, and suddenly — because Davis had passed back all that cash — he couldn’t prevent wholesale budget cuts to schools, highways, state parks and other vital programs.

The first thing he tried was to reinstate the old levels of the car tax. That produced huge recall-season rallies in car dealer lots, most featuring Schwarzenegger and others claiming Davis was unilaterally raising the levy. In fact, he was and he wasn’t, depending on how you looked at it. But he needed the $3.9 billion he had earlier cut from the car tax in order to spare many other programs.

Obviously, there’s a lesson here for Brown, one that he has heeded. So far, Brown has completely ignored the calls of Donnelly, who is one of just two Republicans so far entered as candidates to replace the governor in this year’s election.

Instead, Brown’s budget proposal includes $1.6 billion for the opposite of rebates — a rainy-day fund designed to prevent shocks like those of the Davis era if capital gain taxes, which are a major part of the state’s income tax take, suddenly plummet as they did in 2001-02. Brown, who once employed Davis as his chief of staff, certainly has learned from his onetime protégé’s politically fatal mistake.

This may infuriate Donnelly and conservative Republicans whose ideological forebears had no problem with deep cuts in social services like care for the frail elderly and preschool education, not to mention public schools and universities, carried out under Davis, Schwarzenegger and Brown.

Instead of giving tax rebates, Donnelly griped, Brown is “giving pay increases to union members while leaving regular, hard-working taxpayers out to dry.” In short, Donnelly indicates doesn’t believe unionists are taxpayers or that parents of schoolchildren pay taxes. Huh?

He sounds a lot like current Tom McClintock did back in 2001, when the congressman who then was a state senator exhorted Davis to “return the state’s surplus as a rebate to help families cope with high prices. The governor’s spokesman said this relief ‘won’t see the light of day.’ We beg the governor (Davis) to reconsider.”

Davis did, and ended up being the only California governor ever kicked out before his term ended, also becoming the butt of endless jokes. Wisecracked late-night television host Jay Leno, “An NBC News poll has found that if the election were held today, 31 percent of Californians would vote for Schwarzenegger and 26 percent were not sure. Today, Gray Davis changed his name to ‘Not Sure.’ ”

Brown has been the butt of plenty of jokes in his career and doesn’t want any more of that. So you can safely bet there will be no tax rebates, no givebacks, no response comparable to Davis’ to the current demands of Donnelly and friends.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at tdelias@aol.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    Words and Music Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
     
    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

     
    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8