Legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown are claiming they won’t rush to raise taxes now that the Democrats have supermajorities in both the Assembly and the Senate. Maybe they mean it right now, but you can bet their minds will change fast.
For example, they want to put amendments for Proposition 13 on the next ballot — which would mean the taxation protections homeowners and business lands and buildings now enjoy on their properties could go away.
The public-employee unions, which are big supporters of Democrats, want Proposition 13 to revert to the bad old days of inflationary risesin property taxation.
Prop. 13 limits the amount of tax on a property to 1 percent of its valuation, and limits the amount that valuations for tax purposes on properties can be increased to 2 percent per year or less.
Any changes in Prop. 13 would have to be voted on by the people, but since California’s biggest voter registration block is Democrat, amending Prop. 13 probably would have no better chance than in this election cycle. And most property taxpayers are too young to remember the abuses that took place pre-1978, the year Prop. 13 was passed.
The other problem the Democrats face is finding money to start paying the unfunded liabilities of the state pension system. Some cities are going bankrupt because they can’t pay what they owe for their public-employee pensions. That could lead to unpaid pensions, or drops in pension payouts, which many Democrat supporters won’t stand for.
A suggestion to triple the car tax, fortunately, was nixed. But with their supermajorities, the Legislature could have passed such a tax had it wanted to.
Keep in mind, also, that payments on the high-speed rail system bonds will start coming due.