The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Stealing from the poor
– California style

Jan 21, 2008

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he intends to cut the state’s spending by 10% across the board. He said that his only other option was to raise taxes.

That’s two lies in as many sentences. First, what the governor proposes is anything but “across the board” – his cuts target services and programs that workers and poor benefit from, while big corporations and wealthy individuals will continue to feed at the huge trough of state subsidies and tax breaks. And secondly, he IS actually proposing to raise taxes, but under other names – home insurance and car registration fees, for example.

Every public service is under attack. The governor wants to cut school spending by three billion dollars. That would be in violation of voter-approved ballot measures, which Arnold wants the state assembly to suspend.

Forty-eight state parks are supposed to be closed For the parks that will still be open, entrance fees are supposed to be increased, or new fees introduced – that is, more taxes.

The cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable especially hard. Grants for tens of thousands of poor children are to be eliminated. So are cost-of-living increases for the elderly, blind and disabled. So are food stamps for tens of thousands of needy people. And dental and eye treatment visits for the poor. “Healthy Families,” a program that provides medical coverage for children from low-income families, would be hit with premium increases. Foster care grants would be reduced. Money for child development and before- and after-school programs would be cut down.

Some state politicians, especially Democrats, play their usual game, saying that cutting public programs is wrong. Instead, they propose even more taxes – on working people.

These same politicians have been passing and expanding huge tax breaks for big corporations and the rich year after year. The tax cuts that they have passed since 1993 are costing the state about 10 billion dollars a year, which is more than two-thirds of the supposed budget deficit this year. On top of that, there are all kinds of subsidies, deductions and tax credits given to businesses. In fact, many big, highly profitable corporations don’t even pay any taxes in California. In 2001, the last year for which exact figures are available, 46 corporations, which showed more than one billion dollars income and a profit, paid no more than $800 in taxes – the minimum franchise tax every business has to pay under state law.

This is nothing but highway robbery in broad daylight.