1.10.2005

Schwarzenegger bullshit watch (7)


Today's guest Watcher is Michael Hiltzik:

" For instance, if you deprive K-12 education of $2.2 billion it was otherwise due, resulting in the elimination of some basic programs, you've merely shifted some of the cost of effectively educating children from the general taxpayers %u2014 who are disproportionately affluent and include many who can buy their kids a private education %u2014 to those who have no other educational choice but the public schools.

This latter group, obviously, is disproportionately middle-class and poor. They may have to pay for enrichment programs because their schools can't drill their kids in math or teach them art or music, or they may pay the cost of having undereducated offspring. Either way, it's a tax.

So, what does it mean when the business leaders in the California Chamber of Commerce keep telling us how desperately they need a well-educated workforce -- and then praise the governor for his fiscal restraint? It means that their real priority isn't a better school system, it's no new taxes -- on them.

...The truth is that he has imposed plenty of 'tax increases.' Schoolteachers paid more taxes because Schwarzenegger canceled a teacher tax break. University students paid more for their education. And those who rely on local government services paid more through higher user fees, reduced police coverage and more potholes on their neighborhood streets.

This concept of budgeting exposes the fatuity of Schwarzenegger's rhetoric. The governor, who delivered to the Chamber of Commerce 100% of its legislative wish list last year, had the gall to advise the Legislature to 'ignore the lobbyists' as a way of demonstrating 'political courage.'

As yet, he still shows no signs of taking the truly courageous step of reconsidering the state's ridiculous structure of income, sales and property taxes, which has been in need of redesign for nearly two decades.

Schwarzenegger tried to preempt some of the howls of outrage that greeted his underwhelming platform last week by predicting, rather proudly, that it would generate hostility from 'special interests,' a category that he has apparently winnowed down to state employees, Indian tribes, schoolteachers and schoolchildren."

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