California State Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg could have been a bit more straightforward about the cost of extending temporary sales, income and car taxes that have either expired or will expire.
There was a comedy routine by the late George Carlin delivered in the same style as his “hippy dippy weatherman” character. He portrayed a TV pitchman promoting the complete record collection of every song you have hummed since childhood.
“And what does this incredible offer cost?”
“Only twenty-five cents per pound!
In a more subdued voice he qualified, “Based on the weight, that works out to be $150,000….plus shipping.”
The only problem with Steinberg’s characterization is that the Senator is not a comedian….and I hope he doesn’t try doing the weather report.
I’m surprised he didn’t include cats and dogs in the base. The cost, then, would have worked out to about two bucks each, making the deal as attractive as the popular wine sold at Trader Joe’s.
It is always important to use a relevent unit of measurement. Would it make sense to measure gasoline usage as inches per gallon?
I know of very few children who pay taxes. Most married couples file a joint return. Families and domestic partners usually pool their purchases.
The average household size in California is close to 3.7. In other words, the average cost is actually 3.7 times $260, or $962 per household, per year.
That’s nothing for some families, but would be a hardship for many, especially when you consider the regressive elements represented by the vehicle use tax and sales tax.
Having said that, I’m not opposed to a tax extension, but there must be some serious quid pro quo to win me over.
It is unfortunate that the five Republicans attempting to negotiate with the Governor are being vilified by their colleagues. They might be the only five legislators in the state with common sense. They want spending caps and pension reform in return for supporting a ballot measure on the taxes.
Permanent structural changes that wean the state from defined benefit pension plans and bargain-basement employee health care contributions represent a fair trade for a five-year tax extension.
The fact that the negotiations have yielded nothing only demonstrates the fear the Governor must have of the public unions. That’s unfortunate because I believe that Brown wouldn’t mind agreeing to major concessions if union leaders wouldn’t pounce on him if he did.
But that’s the way it is in California, but it is not a laughing matter.