Entries by Jon Coupal

TAXPORTATION: Profligate Waste Negates Justification for Transportation Tax Hike

Part One:  California’s Highways – A Legacy of Mismanagement and Over-regulation. A personal digression: My father was head of the Iowa Department of Transportation (then called the Iowa Highway Commission) in the late ’60s and early ’70s before he was appointed by President Ford to serve as Deputy Federal Highway Administrator. (Of course, he lost […]

Budget Primer for California Citizen Taxpayers

Average taxpayers in California are probably aware that the state budget was in the news again over the weekend. But even folks who follow both Presidential politics and local issues probably couldn’t be blamed if they tune out stories about the California budget. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s just that public finance issues […]

Special Interests and Hospitals Inflict Pain On Taxpayers

In 2012, those of us who opposed Proposition 30 were told that the measure, which was the largest state tax hike in American history, was just a “temporary” fix to address the emergency of a severe budget shortfall. But just as Milton Friedman noted that “nothing is so permanent as a temporary government measure,” here […]

Unionized Government's Open Season On Taxpayers

Even if one lives in a cave, it’s hard to avoid the publicity surrounding the high profile presidential debates that are a reminder that this is an election year. And California taxpayers know, from hard experience, it also means that it is open season on taxpayers as local politicians rush to put tax increases on […]

Funding Pensions for Unionized Government Workers – It's Never Enough

Editor’s Note:  Here’s another government pension horror story coming from Chicago. If you think it can’t happen here, think again. California’s political system, state and local, is just as dominated by government unions as Illinois. At least in Illinois, Governor Rauner is using every legal and political weapon he can possibly muster to fight these unions. […]

​Is California a Low Property Tax State?​

Editor’s Note:  When asking whether or not California is a low property tax state – it’s not, as taxpayer advocate Jon Coupal explains in this article – the parallel question is WHY, if property taxes are already high enough in California, are legislators trying to raise property taxes? Here is a list, courtesy of the Howard […]

Government Union Assault on Taxpayers Continues in California

Editor’s Note:  This article discusses multiple proposals to raise taxes that are making the rounds in California’s government union controlled state legislature. Two in particular are mentioned, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 that takes Prop 13 protections away from business owners, and Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 that lowers the two-thirds vote requirement for local tax increases. On top […]

Unionized Government Means Higher Taxes and Less Transparency

​Especially in California, the word “taxpayer” is frequently preceded by the word “beleaguered.” Given our large tax burden and the tragic level of government waste, perhaps there should be a grammatical rule that these two words must always be combined. While some California taxes are hidden, most are unfortunately and painfully obvious. But the same […]

California's Government Union Quandary – Support More Taxes Yet Claim Budget "Surpluses"

Californians know them well. They are the Proposition 13 “blamers.” They blame Proposition 13 for everything they see or even imagine as negative in the state of California. Some years ago, a newspaper editorial asked if Proposition 13 was responsible for a measles epidemic saying it may have limited the availability of vaccine. A national […]

Proposition 13 – Protection Against Government Union Greed

​In its more than 160 plus year history, few things have remained constant in California.  However, since the 1800’s California has taxed all classes of property the same. Thus, when the iconic Prop 13 passed in 1978, it did not differentiate between different kinds of property.  All real property – whether residential or commercial – […]

Union Offensive Against Prop. 13 Gains Momentum

There’s a joke about public sector union bosses making the rounds in Sacramento lately:  What happens when the California Legislature hands over a blank check to the California Teachers Association (CTA)?  It’s returned the next day marked “insufficient.” No matter that spending on schools is up 36 percent over the last four years, the state […]

Courts Deny Government Unions An Opportunity for Revenue

Editor’s Note:  As documented in two recent California Policy Center studies, “Examining Public Pay in California: The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and “Alameda County Water District Rate Increase Driven by Labor Costs, Not Drought,” no crisis, including a drought, is missed when it comes to seizing opportunities to increase revenue in order to […]