Sunshine and Taxes ... the Golden Days of the Golden State

By Sen. Scott Wilk

Sunshine, warm climate, great beaches, majestic mountains….and a huge tax bill.

California has a lot to offer but to think these God-given amenities are enough to keep taxpayers in California is a dangerous assumption. But it is an assumption the legislature makes every day.

While mid-April marked the end of tax filing season for taxpayers, it certainly isn’t the end of the threat of government’s attempt to take as many of your tax dollars as possible.

With so many lawmakers focused on raising taxes, the assault on your paycheck is a year-round effort that knows no bounds.

During this next fiscal year California is expected to collect a record $131 billion into the General Fund. That’s $7 billion more than what was collected in the previous year and $32 billion more then what was collected in 2014, the first year I was in the Legislature.  Like most taxpayers, I struggle to see what we have actually received for those dollars.

While the improving economy has also allowed the state to create a $13.5 billion budget reserve, the majority party in Sacramento continues to propose new taxes.

The California Tax Foundation recently compiled a list of new tax proposals that are working their way through the legislative process, and the amount of new fees and taxes is astounding.  

Currently, there are 33 proposed pieces of legislation that would increase taxes and fees by a total of more than $269 billion annually – that’s right $269 billion – that’s double what California is projected to collect in the next fiscal year.

All of this is on top of record tax increases that were implemented in 2017 – led by the $5 billion in new gas taxes the state levied on drivers in California when they imposed a 12 cent a gallon hike on gas taxes to create the highest gas prices in the nation. This figure doesn’t even include a hidden 20 cent hidden carbon tax we pay per as part of the cap & trade program or the fact that we pay sales tax on gasoline. In addition, there was a new tax added to your DMV car registration that averaged about $50 per vehicle you own.

Despite a lack of accountability on how your tax dollars are used, those who have a thirst to spend as much as possible continue their assault on your pocketbook.

Leading the way this year is the proposal to once again to create a government-run health care system that is estimated to cost $200 billion a year. To this point, supporters of the legislation haven’t included a way to pay for this financial monster, but they have indicated that it would likely include a steep hike in every taxpayer’s state income tax bill.

But, the tax increases don’t end there. Other proposals to increase taxes include a tire recycling tax by $1 per new tire, a vehicle emission testing tax that will be passed on to those who own vehicle that require a smog check, and a dental anesthesia tax that is sure to increase your costs next time your visit your dentist.

What’s scary about many of these new taxes is that they are being proposed as a fee, not a tax, meaning the threshold for them to pass the legislature is by a simple majority vote. But, as the saying goes, no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig. These so-called fees are nothing more than a tax in disguise that, if passed, will cost you hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars each year out of your paychecks.

So it’s no wonder that most taxpayers believe they pay more to state and local government that they feel they should – it’s because they do!

There is a disconnect between Sacramento politicians and the needs of hard-working Californians.

The legislature needs to focus on bringing mortgage paying jobs to California, not policies that send businesses and taxpayers fleeing from the state.

Senator Wilk represents the 21st Senate District which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor valleys.