It’s almost Christmas, a perfect season for California Democrats to pretend to be Santa Claus while reaching around for your wallet.
California liberal leadership is known for being experts at figuring out how to hide taxes, fees and penalties to fund their bad ideas. Democrats don’t usually have success with their machinations, but they are experts at delivering failed schemes.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s Los Angeles to San Francisco bullet train debacle, as an example, is 11 years behind schedule, and the cost has exploded from $33 billion to an estimated $77 billion. In the meantime, a CNBC headline tells us “Californians fed up with housing costs and taxes are fleeing the state in big numbers.”
Maybe they should redirect the bullet train to the more appealing route of San Francisco to Dallas, with pickups in between.
The latest California effort to drain your wallet to pay for its fever dreams was to tax conversations. That’s right — the state was ready to ring in the new year with taxing your text messages. There was immediate outrage, with Californians of all stripes calling it “dumb” and surprised that their leadership would try to do this to them.
The Federal Communications Commission saved Californians from the leadership they voted in by declaring text messaging an “information service” not subject to the surcharge (the hidden tax) California was proposing. But the Feds can’t save them from Democrats on everything.
Why Californians would be vexed by another scheme to steal their money is surprising. This past summer, this column revealed more hidden tax and revenue shenanigans in the form of water rationing. New California law sets impossible water use standards, guaranteeing fees and penalties to be passed on to the consumer by the water utilities.
Then there are the gas taxes. Last year, California hiked fuel taxes and added new fees on vehicles. The Sacramento Bee reported, “Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law billions of dollars in higher fuel taxes and vehicle fees, the state will have an estimated $52 billion more money to help cover the state’s transportation needs for the next decade. The money comes largely from a 12-cent increase in the base gasoline excise tax and a new transportation improvement fee based on vehicle value … [and] new charges on diesel fuel and zero-emission vehicles.”
Regular, hard-working Californians get stuck with higher taxes to “cover the state’s transportation needs” after years of the state wasting billions of dollars on a bullet train debacle that many expect the new governor to kill. It’s not just failed schemes the Democrats are geniuses at, it’s the ability to make other people pay for their incompetence.
Yet, California Democrats aren’t satisfied with being limited to hoodwinking their own constituents. Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat, has a bill that has been sitting in committee called the “Rent Relief Act,” a perfect campaign moniker. The possible 2020 presidential candidate tweeted, “Under the Rent Relief Act, anyone who spends more than 30% of their income on rent would be eligible for a federal tax credit. What would you do with that extra money in your pocket?”
Yeah, that promise is akin to being told that Obamacare was going to save you $2,300 a year and make health care more affordable. But for the Democrats, it’s always promises of the pot of gold under the rainbow. At this point, perhaps the Democrats should start dressing like leprechauns.
What Ms. Harris’ bill would do is simply this: Make taxpayers across the country pay for the housing crisis caused by liberal policy in California. In other words: They want us to bail them out in the short term, while they do nothing to solve the problem of homelessness in their own state.
National Review reported, “The Bay Area’s rent crisis is driven by a drastic shortage in housing. Strict rent control in San Francisco and ‘NIMBY’ (not in my backyard) zoning policies have ensured that the area constructs only a fraction of the housing it needs. … The state’s Legislative Analyst Office puts the Bay Area’s crisis bluntly, and lays the blame on decades of state policy.”
As to the actual impact of her scheme, “Why would the relief be short-term? Because as landlords become aware that renters are receiving a subsidy, they will simply raise rents by the amount of the subsidy. The cost will be the same for the renters — who today are lining up for a chance to rent, showing that they are willing to pay it. In the end, then, this would be an effective subsidy for landlords, not renters,” National Review said.
Watch out for Democratic slogans. You can bet on the impact being the opposite of what they’re touting. But hey, “free rent money” will be a great slogan for a campaign.
Now that the Democrats control the House of Representatives, Ms. Harris’ bill might get out of committee and even get a vote. It is serving as another reminder that the so-called new leadership of the Democratic Party is the same as old leadership with a penchant for insisting that they’re the ones to solve the problems they created. Just trust them.
How about this: Let’s not.