Other Voices: Concerns over budget gridlock mounting | TheUnion.com

Other Voices: Concerns over budget gridlock mounting

President Ronald Reagan once told us: “Governments don’t reduce deficits by raising taxes on the people; governments reduce deficits by controlling spending and stimulating new wealth.”

It’s amazing how many people continue to ignore this message.

I am deeply troubled by the latest budget plans pro­duced by the majority party in both the Senate and Assembly.

The proposed Senate budget contains a record $11.5 billion tax increase, although the plan lacks the courage to tell the public which taxes it would raise. The Assembly budget proposal also contains a $6.4 billion tax increase, but again, the majority party has not told the public which taxes they would increase.

The competing plans pro­duced this week by the Senate and Assembly budget commit­tees reject every single cut in spending that had been pro­posed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in his May budget revision last month. Even with the proposed cuts, I had problems with the governor’s plan, because I felt and still feel that the May Revision would have led to greater deficits in future budget years.

But the plans produced this week by the two legislative budget committees go far and above what the governor pro­posed last May, and I will not support either of them. The majority party has largely rejected the governor’s plan to lease the California Lottery, and instead balances the budget with billions in new taxes.

Senate Republicans are still prepared to support a budget that cuts spending and puts an end to the structural budget deficits that have plagued state finances for nearly a decade. But that’s not what the people of California are getting.

I did not initially support the governor’s plan to borrow against future state lottery rev­enues. It isn’t the solution that north state constituents and all California families deserve when it comes to out-of-con­trol state spending. But the governor proposed a far more responsible plan last May, when compared to what the majority party put on the table this week. These new plans include record spending levels and record tax increases.

Senate Republicans made it very clear to both the majori­ty party and to the governor that we expect spending cuts to balance the budget.

Unfortunately, the plans pro­posed this week by both legislative committees will lead to record tax and fee hikes. I can’t support that. I will not support that.

I had major concerns about the governor’s plan to lease the California Lottery to help close the budget gap, and did not support the Administration’s plans to temporarily raise the state sales tax by one percent if the lottery proposal was reject­ed by voters. But it appears the majority party has rejected the idea altogether.

My concern with the gov­ernor’s proposal was the message it sent to taxpayers. It essentially told them to approve of a $15 billion borrowing plan to balance the budget, or hand over their wallets for a tax increase. I didn’t support that proposal because I do not believe that voters sent us here to threaten families and busi­nesses with the prospect of higher tax rates. My con­stituents believe, as I do, that government should live within its means and quit spending more money than it has.

However, since the major­ity party has apparently abandoned the governor’s lot­tery proposal, the new message is a simple one: hand over your wallets for a tax hike. My response is never. I will not support new taxes, period.

I believe all budget propos­als from the majority party and the governor should take sever­al factors into account. Our constituents are paying record prices at the gas pump, more for goods and services and thousands of homes are falling into foreclosure. The budget should address these problems.

The budget proposals released this week do not. It does not solve our problems. Indeed, it exacerbates them.

I will not support any type of new tax or fee to subsidize the big spending interests in Sacramento. The record deficit facing the state of California is the result of years of out-of­control spending and the mismanagement and waste of hard earned tax dollars. A new field poll confirms what Senate Republicans already know. A vast majority of Californians do not support any type of new tax or fee increase, and Senate Republicans stand united in our pledge to cut spending to bal­ance the budget.

We are prepared to work with Gov. Schwarzenegger to accomplish this goal, and have already submitted a list of spending reductions to the gov­ernor and the majority party to balance this budget. Working families don’t deserve new tax­es. They deserve a state government that never spends more than it has.

Sam Aanestad is a Republican state senator from Grass Valley.

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