THERE'S A BUMPY RIDE AHEAD FOR MOTORISTS DAVIS IGNORES POSSIBLE SAVINGS WHILE PLANNING TO INCREASE CAR TAX.Byline: TOM McCLINTOCK Thomas Miller "Tom" McClintock (born July 10, 1956 in White Plains, New York) is a California State Senator. He ran for Governor of California in the 2003 California recall election of Gray Davis and finished third out of 135 candidates with 13.5% of the overall vote.
FOR the last three years, automobile renewal notices have included a conspicuous red message on every envelope: ``Your car tax cut enclosed.''
Sacramento's politicians wanted to be sure that voters couldn't possibly miss the fact they had reduced California's crushing car tax during a period when state revenues were exploding.
In fact, two years ago, Gov. Gray Davis insisted on putting motorists through the ridiculous drill of paying twice what they owed in order to get a rebate check back from the government for the difference.
As the governor explained in a rare moment of candor, ``People don't appreciate the fact that they're getting a rebate unless they see it in their hands.''
What now amounts to a two-thirds reduction of a family's annual DMV DMV
Department of Motor Vehicles bill - although welcome relief for motorists - barely dented state revenues, which increased $15 billion between 1998 and 2001.
Nevertheless, the mere notion of a tax reduction is anathema anathema (ənă`thĭmə) [Gr.,=something set up; dedicated to a divinity as a votive offering], term that came to denote something devoted to a divinity for destruction. In the Bible, the term is herem. to the spending lobby, and the successful car tax cut has stuck in its craw ever since.
Thus, when the state's revenues began to fall off after a three-year bacchanalia, the first tax that Davis turned to was the car tax.
And it's a good bet your next DMV renewal won't include a bold red message from the governor: ``Your car tax increase enclosed.''
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Gov. Davis, it's not really a tax increase anyway. He is merely restoring the tax to the level it was at after his first year in office.
Of course, if he would only restore state spending to the level it was at after his first year in office, California would have a $7.3 billion surplus this year - and the budget would still be 15 percent bigger than Pete Wilson's last year in office.
At the same time that Gov. Davis is more than doubling motorists' car taxes, he is shifting more than $1 billion from earmarked highway funds to general spending.
Ironically, the more highway users pay, the less money goes to their highways.
But don't worry about that either. According to the governor's Web site, ``Road building and expansion are widely recognized as ineffectual in the battle against traffic congestion The condition of a network when there is not enough bandwidth to support the current traffic load.
congestion - When the offered load of a data communication path exceeds the capacity. . Increasing road capacity only encourages more driving.''
The governor insists that he has no alternative. After increasing general fund spending from $58 billion when he took office to a revised $79 billion proposed for next year, he can't possibly find anything else to cut.
Critics can snipe snipe, common name for a shore bird of the family Scolopacidae (sandpiper family), native to the Old and New Worlds. The common, or Wilson's snipe (Capella gallinago), also called jacksnipe, is a game bird of marshes and meadows. all they want, he says, but until they come up with a better idea, he'll stick with his budget.
Here are three modest proposals:
--First, conform welfare eligibility standards to the federal Welfare Reform Act of 1996. Most other states already operate under these guidelines and California's lenient le·ni·ent
Inclined not to be harsh or strict; merciful, generous, or indulgent: lenient parents; lenient rules. welfare laws cost state taxpayers more than $1 billion a year.
--Second, stop funding vacant staff positions. California spends an estimated $525 million annually for vacancies that the bureaucracies simply use as gigantic slush funds Slush Fund
A fund (or something similar) that does not have a designated purpose. These types of funds are often illegal.
A good example would be a politician siphoning off money for side investments or to help friends.
See also: Mutual Fund .
--Third, get back the $95 million lost in the Oracle computer scandal. Last year, Davis bought more computer software licenses In computing, software that is copyrighted and licensed under a software license is done under a variety of licensing schemes. For end-users there are proprietary licenses and there are free software licenses, and there are proprietary Within these schemes are further classifications. from a major campaign contributor than the state has employees, despite the fact that 122 of 127 state agencies had no use for the licenses to begin with.
Those three adjustments alone would save $1.6 billion - enough to avoid any increase in the car tax with $400 million left over.
But such simple reforms - and many others like them - would require confronting the spending lobby, upon which the governor has built the state's last remaining growth industry: the Davis Re-election Committee.
Motorists had better buckle-up - its going to be a bumpy bump·y
adj. bump·i·er, bump·i·est
1. Covered with or full of bumps: a bumpy country road.
2. Marked by bumps and jolts; rough: a bumpy flight. ride.