Adults represent children when voting on ballot initiativesUnions and many other organizations are supporting the Budget Accountability Act which should be on the March 2004 ballot. This will change the "two-thirds to pass" budget gridlock, which now encourages very wealthy legislative districts to hold up budget approval until they get what they want, at the expense of the rest.
By Laura Wells
"No new taxes" is a phrase used to promote many ballot initiatives funded by bonds. "Borrow now, our children pay later" would be more to the point.
Bond financing helps the super-rich, who can buy tax-exempt state and local bonds, increase their income, and pay no tax on it.
"When President Bush informed the nation last Sunday night that remaining in Iraq next year will cost another $87 billion, many of those who will actually pay that bill were unable to watch. They had already been put to bed by their parents." This, as reported by author and film-maker Michael Moore, was the lead paragraph in a New York Times article. It describes the reality of much government funding.
Prop 13 in 1978 promised lower taxes-California voters could reduce their taxes and stop fixed-income seniors and others from losing their homes due to escalating property taxes. Since then, the bulk of the "tax relief" goes places the voters never intended-giant corporations. Corporate properties are rarely re-assessed since corporations never die and seldom sell. Corporations benefit again when cities, now relying more on sales tax than property tax, compete with neighboring towns to bring in "big box" stores, stadiums, and other commercial developments rather than build houses or leave open space. Although lucky for corporations, Prop 13 was unlucky for the rest of us and especially for the first-time home buyer-our next generation.
Capital expenditures like schools, parks, roads, and water systems are often thought to be appropriate for bond financing because they are "long term investments" like houses. In fact, the high costs come about because of "deferred maintenance." These costs could have been paid for year-by-year if commercial properties had been fully assessed and corporations were paying their fair share of the tax burden.
Three questions should be asked when we consider how public work is financed. Do regular people benefit, or just the extremely wealthy? Do people benefit, or corporations? Do we pay now, or do our children pay later? See chart labeled TAX: Which taxes benefit regular people, including our children?
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