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Community Commentary: California asks for too much in taxes

April 13, 2011|By Jim Silva

With Friday fast approaching, Californians know firsthand that we pay some of the highest tax rates in the nation. California wage-earners pay taxes on income, purchases, property, gasoline and much more. In fact, Californians pay much more in taxes compared to residents of other states, as shown by a study conducted by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.

Each year, the foundation calculates a "Tax Freedom Day," the day when taxpayers stop working for the government and finally get to keep their paychecks for themselves. This year, America celebrated Tax Freedom Day on Tuesday, meaning that average Americans will have to work until then to earn enough money to pay their federal, state and local tax bills.

Unfortunately, Californians will work nearly a full work week longer to celebrate our Tax Freedom Day on Saturday. This is the sixth-latest date in the nation. In contrast, Mississippi's taxpayers enjoyed their day March 26, which is the earliest among the 50 states. Even Massachusetts will enjoy its day Thursday.

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The main reason Californians have to work longer is because of the tax-and-spend policies pushed by liberal politicians. In their never-ending quest to grow and protect big government, liberals have succeeded in raising taxes over a period of time.

The facts are undeniable. California's taxpayers now pay the nation's second-highest sales and gas taxes, and the sixth-highest tax burden overall. Employers now pay the highest corporate income tax rate in the West and have to deal with the second-worst tax system for small businesses.

Combined, these taxes are consuming a greater percentage of personal and business incomes, forcing people to work longer to meet an ever-increasing tax obligation. Yet incredibly, liberals in Sacramento think we are not paying enough taxes!

How else do we explain why Gov. Jerry Brown and his legislative allies are pushing for higher taxes this year and into the foreseeable future? The governor is pushing for a five-year, $55-billion spending plan that increases income taxes, sales taxes and even the car tax.

In addition, liberals are trying to impose a $13.9-billion income tax increase on Californians over a five-year period. They have also proposed to allow cities and counties to impose new local income and corporation taxes. If you think filling out federal and state tax forms are stressful enough, try filling out a new local tax form.

Some even want to add a 12-cent tax per can of soda, resulting in a $1.4-billion annual tax increase. If all these proposals become law, we could be celebrating Tax Freedom Day near the end of April.

I reject the idea that Californians are not paying enough taxes, and I will fight hard against these proposals to prevent further damage to our economy. While liberals like to say their taxes only affect the rich, they neglect the fact that more than 2.7 million small business owners file their taxes as individuals. If their income taxes are raised, these owners will have less money to invest and create jobs.

Californians deserve better than receiving a bigger tax bill because Sacramento cannot control its spending. As your representative, I will continue to oppose higher taxes so we can enjoy Tax Freedom Day earlier, not later, in 2012.

JIM SILVA is an assemblyman covering the 67th District, which includes Huntington Beach.

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