SANDAG Tax and Spend Republicans #FeelTheHeat

Brian Brady Brian Brady 88 Comments


We warned the SANDAG tax and spend Republicans to vote against putting Proposition X on the ballot:

Thus, the Republican Party is the “no new taxes” party.  Nationally, we ask our federal candidates to sign a pledge to oppose new taxes.  Statewide, we ask our statewide and legislative candidates to sign that pledge.  Locally, our standing policy is “no new taxes”.  If you run as an endorsed Republican, especially in San Diego County, the compact with the voters is that you will OPPOSE any new taxes.

A few Republicans on SANDAG think they have a cute way around this compact; they intend to approve a proposed tax ballot initiative.  Rather than do what we elected them to do, they cloak their support for higher taxes in the “it’s not supposed to be MY call…let the VOTERS decide“.  Poppycock. The voters “decided” when we elected you to office with the understanding that you would oppose any attempts at new taxation.

Then, we  gave y’all a life line, an “out” if you will, if your Council directed you to vote for this new tax:

Let me offer a life line to the elected Republicans who want to vote to put the tax hike on the ballo
t: Delay the vote until you get an up or down signal from your City Council. Introduce a resolution in your City Council meeting with these words:

“The City Of XXXX supports the half-cent sales tax increase to fund the SANDAG transportation initiative.”

Put this resolution on the agenda verbatim. If you reword the resolution to support a public ballot, you will dilute its efficacy. This resolution gives you the cover to vote against the resolution but take direction from the Council majority which wants you to support the SANDAG initiative.

We made this promise:

Republicans on SANDAG, who vote to put this on the ballot, should expect a conservative challenger this November. I promise you that I will communicate to the voters that the incumbent voted to raise their taxes.

I know, I know…it’s just Crazy Brady and the tea party group.  Think again.  Last week, RPSDC Chairman Tony Krvaric weighed in with a very specific opinion:

When voters got the ballot and elect Republicans they expect those Republicans to hold the line on new taxes.  That includes not voting to put tax increases on the ballot.  Yes, it’s a cop out to say “All we’re doing is letting voters decide”.  Come on.  Lets the Democrats be the party of raising taxes.

It’s getting serious.  The “No new taxes coalition” is strong in San Diego County.  The Escondido Council put this measure on the agenda (as will Coronado) and, in Escondido, every single Council member instructed the SANDAG representative to vote against allowing Proposition X on the ballot.

We know a few of you think you have to “stand up to us” because we are “threatening” you with a challenger.  Be reasonable; we gave you a life line if your Council voted to support Proposition X.  We did that for two reasons:

1- It smokes out the tax hikers on your Council.  Some of you are running against these folks so it’s great politics to make your opposition vote to raise taxes.  Trust me –your consultants will love you for this.

2- I wanted to give you an out.  We will still going to raise money and oppose Proposition X but, if you vote against this tax on a Council resolution, we won’t target you.

Now, your own political party is reminding you that it opposes any and all taxes.  Chairman Krvaric’s letter is going to make our job easier in November.

Don’t do it.  Please, don’t do it.


Comments 88

  1. If the GOP’s elected officials can’t bring themselves to oppose tax increases, what ground is left for the GOP to stand together on? It’s the ONE issue that resonates with most voters — across demographic lines and to a degree across party lines.

    BTW, anyone who thinks our state and local taxes are not high enough in California, get in touch with me for a refresher course on how we stack up compared to the other states.

  2. Right, like raising taxes is the most pertinent singular issue facing our country. Government continues to grow and tax regardless who is in power. Spitballing here, but probably something to do with a direct correlation with GDP, thus taxes increase — grow the government. And/or as our population increases, increases our need for more government services.

    If we really want to cut out government growth/taxes, need to cut military. But that’s a no go for the GOP.

  3. Alistair — Spitball this: Tax REVENUES go up with inflation and growth, but that doesn’t justify increasing tax RATES. It doesn’t justify giving a larger PERCENTAGE of our assets to government — leaving a SMALLER percentage in our pockets.

    But then, to be a Progressive lover of endless tax rate increases, such higher math is doubtless above your comprehension. Sorry it baffles you.

    Spitballing, indeed!

  4. Thor, I believe the comments by Richard are uncalled for and go against the spirit of this forum by questioning my math skills. Please in all fairness to etiquette on this site, you must remove his comments.

    I love how I spitball and get you all riled up. Richard, we know that no party can stop taxes or decrease them significantly to change our lives. Government is a runaway train headed to a European welfare state–which is fine by me–actually get decent services for a change.

  5. Wow, Rider questioned the math skills of an anonymous commenter? That hurt your feelings. Life must be rough for you.

    If you’re going to tell us Alistair is your real name and that you’re thus not anonymous, well, that’s only one name. We have no idea who you are. You are anonymous here.

    Yes, we did indeed remove the last part of your prior comment. Including in your comment a question about whether we’ll post it has nothing to do with the point you were making. Imagine the SDUT publishing a letter to the editor and including an ancillary sentence, “Bet you won’t print this.” How inane.

    No, we didn’t call you inane. We said you were being inane.

    We do also on rare occasions block commenters that simply aren’t worth our time. Mind you, never because of opinions that differ with any here. But, simply because they act like boors.

    If you don’t like our rules, you are free to choose. So are we.

  6. Really? This website gets visited by the same twenty guys per day who think they are making a difference in the GOP. Thor, you are hypocrite with double standards applied to your buddies, like Rider who comments every week about taxes. Next week’s column will be about tax increases and correlation with cats. How pathetic…really changing and influencing the GOP.

  7. No, we don’t censor. We do edit for violations of the rules, as previously noted. But, we are beginning to think you’re having a bit of difficulty with comprehension.

    You apparently can’t see how including in your comment a challenge to us about whether we’ll post the comment is not relevant to your point, especially WHEN WE END UP POSTING THE COMMENT.

    So, you see your comment we approved above? We approved it. See that? Thus, because we approved it, it doesn’t make sense for us to include the other part, which said, “Of course this will not get published as you continue to censor my post which I don’t appreciate it.”

    That part of your comment was a personal message to us, which becomes moot and irrelevant ONCE WE APPROVE THE MAIN COMMENT. That’s not censorship, that’s getting rid of the part that makes no sense, because we did approve your comment. It’s called editing. We changed no substance whatsoever.

    We also fixed the six spelling errors in your last comment. Is that censorship too?

    But, all that said, we’ve quite frankly dealt with your false allegations long enough.

    A word to the wise, if you can be included. There’s only 20 guys here, having no impact. You’re wasting your time.

  8. Thor, I think the comment section is more interesting and dynamic when I get involved; therefore, we can have a healthy and productive discussion about what we need to do as a party.

    And for the record, the quote above from your comment was from yesterday.

    Ohh, thanks for editing my grammar errors : this blackberry is too small.

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  10. Alistair, maybe you need to retreat to a safe place, where my mini-aggressions can’t reach you. Poor baby!


    I DO like your claim that cutting military spending (already at [perhaps since 1890] a historic low as a percent of the federal budget) will give us money for local trolleys and roads. And everything else, I suppose. I like it because it demonstrates how illogically tax raisers think.

    I might remind you that most (not all) of the discussion of taxes on this blog involve STATE and LOCAL taxes. But then, why bother? Apparently you’ve never seen a tax increase you didn’t like. Gosh, could it be that you are an anonymous public employee???

  11. One intriguing aspect of Alistair’s posts is that he seems to oppose the growing power of government, but is just fine with raising tax rates to fund BIGGER government. If his gonzo viewpoint were unusual, that would make it less disturbing. But many people who value PERSONAL freedom and oppose our military actions also want higher taxes. As Alistair so ably demonstrates, they fail to connect the dots.

    One reason I oppose high taxes is precisely because I value personal liberty. “Starve the beast” is an honorable goal.

    A less well-funded government means that there are fewer bureaucrats trying to run (and RUIN) our lives. And with lower taxes, we will be able to keep more of what we make, and to spend it on what we want.

    To work more days in the year for bigger government is arguably the expansion of part-time slavery. Some taxes are necessary, but I would suggest that with today’s taxes, enough is enough. MORE than enough, actually.

  12. Richard,

    I think you have it all backwards. If you want to “starve the beast,” you should actually raise tax rates. As I understand it, from reading your many posts, higher tax rates stifle the economy. This would result in less actual dollars being paid in taxes and a necessary reduction in the size of government. Conversely, lower tax rates would cause a great economic expansion and the resultant boom in tax revenue would overflow the coffers of government allowing it to grow unabated.

  13. Nice try, HQ. Your’s is a common “misunderstanding” (let’s be charitable here) of the Laffer Curve. But to understand the Laffer Curve, you have to look at the FULL curve.

    A zero tax rate collects zero taxes. A 100% tax rate also collects zero taxes (after you’ve taken everything and leave zero incentive to work).

    Within a range, raising taxes can indeed expand government — until the rate passes the “optimum” point (the optimum point for big government, that is) and then it doesn’t. Where that “tipping point” is becomes the subject of debate, of course.

    Regardless of how far along the curve one moves, the higher the tax rate, the less of one’s earnings one can keep — a clear loss of liberty — unless one is a successful “rent seeker” sponging off the system (think of your public union allies being paid above-market wages and benefits). So the individual (the productive private sector individual, as opposed to people milking the system), loses more with higher taxes.

    To a degree that loss of liberty is a trade-off for a government that protects rights, provides personal safety and enforces the fundamental rule of law (including enforcing contracts).

    But when the government’s primary function becomes redistribution (as is arguably the case on the federal and state level today), it’s a lose-lose for productive people. More people will make the logical decision to work less and “sponge” more, and to vote for people who offer them something for nothing (Bernie Sanders!) — at the expense of the productive folks — increasing the pressure for more taxes.

    Yes, as the redistribution society grows, eventually the government will run out of OPM and shrink (think USSR), but for many years the damage to our society will be endured. It’s not instantly correcting — not hardly! In the long term, most of us (perhaps not your successful rent seekers) will be worse off.

  14. A question, Richard: don’t non-economic, cultural factors play a role in this equation?
    I’m thinking of the relatively heavily taxed “nanny state” economies of places like Germany and Scandinavia that, at least before having to deal with massive Muslim minorities, were quite prosperous.

  15. Good question, Craig. When one thinks of one’s fellow countrymen as ‘family,’ that seems to work better. But we are too contentious a society to think of our fellow countrymen as relatives. The ‘commune’ mentality doesn’t work here. And now it’s predictably falling apart in Europe (which is doomed, regardless).

    But more important, Both Germany and Scandinavia prospered for years under rather free market conditions. Then they went socialist, and started stately declines.

    Sweden is fascinating in that it has since moved AWAY from Socialism and back to relatively free policies. Indeed, they have a FULL education voucher system. All European countries have lower corporate income tax than the U.S.

    In Sweden they take particular care not to harm the Geese laying the Golden Eggs — businesses. In the last 15 years or so, the Swedes have adopted a number of remarkably free market policies. It’s an interesting story that merits a closer look.

    One other aspect that differentiates us from Europe. Europeans understand that they can’t achieve a welfare state by simply soaking the rich. Everyone there pays taxes, with the regressive 20+% VAT tax hitting everyone.

    Contrast that with the hate-spewing Bernie Sanders School of Socialism so trendy today. It’s all about soaking the rich for LOTS of free stuff. Can’t work. Won’t work.

    But “something for nothing” is a POWERFUL campaign theme — especially so for a society imbued with an anti-business, anti-wealth mentality (thank you Hollywood and liberal educators).

  16. Thanks, Richard.
    It also occurred to me that these are countries that’ve never really had to defend themselves. Since the end of WWII they’ve lived under the protective umbrella of American military might.
    That would leave a lot of money for non-defense spending.

  17. Thanks, Richard.
    During the cold war, we used to say things like, “If it weren’t for America, Europe and Britain would be speaking either German or Russian (or both).”
    Another thought: imagine the tremendous economic advantage of living under the military protection of another country.

  18. Richard,

    My comment was meant to be sarcastic. Of course I understand that increasing the tax rate would result in an increase in government revenue. I was happy to read that you agree and were willing to admit it in writing. The Republican mantra has always been that cutting taxes would reduce the National Deficit by spurring so much economic growth that government revenue would actually increase. Thank you for calling that out for the lie that it is.

  19. Thanks, TA–

    As excited as I always am to see my comments on Rostra, I thought the first of the last two comments didn’t reach you. (Thus the redundancy.)

  20. HQ, raising taxes will always reduce the consumption or production of what is being taxed, but for most of the Laffer Curve, the reduction is not enough to actually REDUCE taxes. And granted, Republicans sometimes don’t understand that.

    The problem is that too often tax proponents use “static analysis” — the silly assumption that people don’t consider tax rates (or price increases) when they buy or invest. Hence with static analysis, no change in consumer spending or investment decisions is assumed when taxes are changed (up OR down). Normally this means that the REAL tax collections from a tax increase are less than the numbers used by proponents when selling the program.

    And if the increase is enough, it can actually REDUCE tax collections, as per the “ends” of the Laffer Curve. Think high cigarette taxes. Granted, we want less smoking, but revenues were projected on cigarette taxes that were pretty much absurd (in other states more so than CA, as our taxes on “coffin nails” is less than several states who really sock it to smokers).

  21. Guys, lets not deceive ourselves that Sweden is some free market states that has eradicated the “nanny”, welfare state.

    I would argue that the late 1980s and 90s due to the Social Democrat party’s policy of opening trade, hence increasing exports, and controlling inflation, were the main vessels of Sweden’s economic recovery.

    Furthermore, I would argue that despite such reforms to the welfare system, those reforms would be internal mechanims (e.g. competition mechanism/ free market variables), but in the end, the services are still provided by the government– it is just the means to an end.

    Also, Sweden’s typology of a welfare state is still social democrat—so lets not think that is transformed into a Liberal welfare state (USA, UK, Australian).

    Funny, how Reason is promoting a thriving welfare/ political economy state…

    People need to do their research…

  22. Richard,

    Without a commensurate reduction in spending (and we both know that neither party really wants to cut back on giving their constituents goodies), a tax cut will increase the deficit. On this, we seem to agree. We also agree that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reduce the tax rates because there are still many good reasons to do so.

    The problem is that most of your fellow Republicans do not want to have an honest conversation about the tradeoffs because too many on the right pretend that we can actually reduce the deficit simply by cutting taxes. They need to remember that the only time in the last 35 years that we had a budget surplus was during the Clinton Presidency and we all know what Clinton did with the tax rate.

  23. I understand the concern but going against some Republican candidates (sometimes) just helps the Democratic opponent…

  24. HQ, there you go again. Static analysis.

    Your are assuming that if taxes are cut, spending is not. Granted, on the federal level, we agree that “printing money” (deficit spending in all its forms) may grow. To the degree spending is cut, it doesn’t.

    But state and local governments have no such “deficit spending” option. If tax revenues are reduced, spending MUST be reduced. And after all, this is primarily a blog about state and local issues.

    I might add that the perennial claim by both parties’ candidates that THEY will “cut waste, fraud and abuse in government spending” is pretty much nonsense. Is ANYONE in FAVOR of “waste, fraud and abuse”? Well, aside from government labor unions — the ones the control many politicians in CA? Okay, okay — cheap shot.

    The truth is, most unnecessary spending by govenment is NOT “waste, fraud and abuse.” Not the stereotypical version, anyway.

    The REAL savings in government can come from reducing what we ask government to do — especially in the redistribution arena. And for the services being provided, lower wages and especially benefits (parity with the private sector) will still get the job done. Even better, contract out as many functions of government as possible, using COMPETITIVE bidding — with oversight by taxpayer assholes (like myself), and with penalties for not fulfilling contractual obligations (something that doesn’t exist in government bureaucracies).

  25. “I understand the concern but going against some Republican candidates (sometimes) just helps the Democratic opponent”

    The party labels don’t matter to me as much as pro-taxpayer vs anti-freedom. I’ll vote for a pro-taxpayer Democrat over a tax and spend Republican any day.

  26. Party labels don’t mean much to me either, Brian, especially at the local level.
    But many candidates/politicians who are arguably the most committed to, say, lower (local) taxation (which at the local level is a miniscule portion of our overall tax burdens) would be disastrous in other crucial ways.
    Take Joel Anderson.
    Truer to the platonic form of “Tea Party” politico than Dianne? I’ll grant that. But a better man for the residents in her (still, thankfully…) district? Not by a long shot.
    Right now, tens of thousands of wilderness acres and the small communities in and around them are either being developed or are soon slated for destruction by an unholy alliance of developers, “renewable power” shysters, crooked Indian tribes and their conscienceless, opportunistic, political supporters.
    These precious places and the people live there need help. Consistently, Dianne’s been the only one in their corner.
    Fighting taxation’s a noble and much needed calling, but it’s only one among many.
    Beware the danger of single issue advocates, candidates and their supporters.

  27. Fair enough.
    Letting it “start with no new taxes” might be okay, but I’d advise against letting it end there.

  28. Brian,

    When Carl DeMaio was running for Congress, Founding Father stated the he couldn’t support him because of one issue also, only his issue was same-sex marriage. Many on this site criticized him for ensuring the election of a Democrat with whom he had many issues of disagreement. What is different about your “no new taxes” line in the sand?

  29. Richard, Redistribution doesn’t hold a candle to military spending, not even close. Go after the big fish first. I guarantee that there is more fraud, pork (D. Hunter) and waste in that arena than anywhere else.
    That being said, although I’m an evil lib, I would support new regulations that cap welfare payments to the children you have, not future children. Take away the incentive to have kids just to up your benefit. I also support voter I.D. and English only ballots, however there is something seriously wrong when your military I.D. is not valid.

  30. HQ, taxes is what government is all about. It can do nothing without it, and can do everything (for us or TO us) if it has “enough” money. It involves the use of force to compel compliance — EVERYBODY faces this coercion (a necessary evil, but coercion nevertheless). My experience is that EVERYBODY violates the tax law in some fashion — usually a criminal offense. It’s the huge issue that EVERY politician votes on often, EVERY year.

    Contrast that with same sex marriage, an ancillary issue. It affects VERY few of us. And most politicians have zero say about the issue either way.

    Contrast that with taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, the California 2016 Tax Freedom Day is 30 April. The average Californian will work ONE-THIRD of this year just to pay taxes. And paying is NOT an optional evolution.

    Taxes cost the average American more than food, clothing and shelter COMBINED. Paying taxes affects every one of us — some more than others. My family’s “Tax Freedom Day” is sometime in the latter part of June — and possibly in early July (hard to gauge accurately).

    What your question asks is why isn’t ANY other “GOP” issue — no matter how unimportant to most of us — valued the same “deal breaker” as the tax issue? Obviously it’s a matter of what’s important to you.

    IF you think “prayer in school” is all important, that can be your criteria. Abortion is certainly some folks’ ONLY issue. Same sex marriage for others — though I suspect if the option was same sex marriage OR a 20% drop in taxes, that marriage issue would suddenly lose its priority status.

    For MOST of us, a top priority is the level of taxation — assuming some control can be exerted over that aspect of our lives.

    Brian is NOT saying that taxes is the ONLY issue to consider. I know Brian (he uses his REAL name!!!) — he would not support a tax cutter who also wanted to put everyone lacking Mayflower ancestors in concentration camps.

    But arguably taxes constitute the biggest SINGLE issue our party should use when gauging the suitability of a candidate. NOT the only issue, but (to me) clearly the top issue — an issue over which all politicians have some say.

  31. Paul Therrio — Redistribution — direct and indirect, is much bigger than military spending. Social security is robbing the young to pay the old — and like any Ponzi scheme is doomed to fail. Medicare is the same.

    Add in the all the other federal AND STATE welfare and subsidy programs (there are hundreds) and our moving money from the more wealthy to the less wealthy is a MASSIVE part of our government spending.

    Just looking at the federal budget, defense now constitutes less than 20% of spending. During the 60’s defense was over 50% of federal spending.

  32. Richard, Please cite any country in history where there was no redistribution of wealth.

  33. Paul Therrio, your silly challenge is as valid as mine back to you:

    “Paul, Please cite any country in history where there was 100% redistribution of wealth. And how well that worked out, starting with the USSR.”

    It’s not either-or, as you infer. It’s how MUCH. And for what purposes.

    Buying a home? Free or low cost housing? Free college education? Free day care? Paying people not to work? Pensions heavily subsidized by others? As a liberal, doubtless you support such redistribution. I get that.

    But I don’t.

  34. Richard,

    I agree, and I am sure Brian does too, that taxes are not his only issue. However, he did say that it is his threshold issue and that he would not support anyone, regardless of their stance on all the issues, if they were at all willing to propose a new tax. In my mind, this is no different than FF’s position was during the DeMaio-Peters contest.

    As you said, different people have different “most important” issues. It is when Republicans refuse to support an otherwise agreeable candidate because of that one issue, that I, as a Democrat, say “thank you.”

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  36. Brian,

    You can work against any Republican candidate who would even honor a previous commitment to allow the public to vote on a new tax. Others will work against any Republican candidate who would even allow a woman who was raped to have an abortion and still others will work against any Republican candidate who doesn’t think that a hotel owner should have the right to turn away a same-sex couple.

    The result of all of the above? More elected Democrats. As I said previously, I should just say “thank you” and leave it at that.

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    If electing unprincipled people is your goal, have at it HQ. I would prefer that voters actually have the option to vote for people who do what they promise

  38. There is nothing unprincipled about not agreeing with every plank of the Republican (or Democratic) platform.

    I live in the real world where candidates, like all other people, have attributes and flaws. I try to elect the one with whom I most agree knowing full well that there are none I completely agree with nor are there any who are perfect human beings.

    If you want to keep searching for Eden, have at it Brian.

  39. Some of the most emphatically doctrinaire tax cutters–Reagan comes to mind–wound up raising them.

  40. HQ, it’s not complicated. The Kansas example illustrates what happens when taxes are cut by politicians, but then politicians refuse to cut spending — or to improve the efficiency of government. Obviously this cannot continue. Which side wins this battle might still be in question, but the state cannot continue spending what it doesn’t have. Deficit spending is not an option — especially over several years.

    Scott Walker won in his state. Kansas my well be not as lucky.

    I’m surprised you cite that example in refutation, as it makes my point. EITHER they find ways to cut costs, or they raise taxes — it’s a matter of wills, and what the public demands. I suspect the Kansas Big Spenders (the status quo politicians too beholden to the public employee labor unions) will prevail. This time.

    But even if taxes are raised, I doubt they will be raised to the previous level. SOME spending reforms/reductions will occur, and likely would not have occurred if taxes had not been cut.

    Cutting taxes is not a magic bullet when the legislature is controlled by the labor unions and other special interest groups seeking taxpayer dollars. They may well refuse to take the tough steps towards reform, seeking to create a crisis (the state version of the federal “Washington Monument closure” gambit.

    But if the PUBLIC cuts the taxes (via the initiative process as occurred with Prop 13), the legislature (and local politicians) MUST make the adjustments, or convince the public that raising taxes back up is necessary.

    Prop 13 worked great. All the scare tactics (sending “pink notices” to all the LAUSD teachers) were just politics. Taxpayers saved tens of billions of dollars, and government continued to provide the services — as inefficiently as ever, unfortunately.

  41. Richard,

    The Kansas Legislature is beholden to public employee unions? Kansas???

  42. Richard I really like the Benesug idea. Pay government workers for ideas that save money. This is something that should be brought in an initiative format for the public to vote on directly. If the powers that be within the GOP is quietly against this then they have no business promoting themselves as the party of small government.

  43. HQ, in a “GOP” state, the unions often support the least offensive Republican. When it comes to seeking favor with government employees — especially public safety employees and educators — too many Republicans are as bad as Democrats when it comes to giving away taxpayer money. We’ve seen this GOP largess in the San Diego region for decades.

    But step back and look at the larger picture. Note the magnitude of the “crushing” state financial shortfall faced by these cowardly legislators.


    Yes, 1.9% is the shortfall in state revenues, due mostly to the substantial tax cuts.

    Yet the GOP legislators are stymied when faced with having to rein in state spending by this pittance. I could solve the problem over my morning coffee. So could you, IF you were so inclined — which, of course, you are not.

  44. Richard,

    The question is not whether you or I could find 1.9% to cut. I am sure we could. The question is whether elected officials whose re-election depends on providing services and “goodies” to their constituents are willing to make the cuts. I would opine that if you can’t make that happen in Kansas where there are less than 25% Democrats, then you have a serious problem with your theory on how we “starve the beast.”

    Of course, you can always just claim that the problem is not with your theory but with the fact that Kansas is still not conservative enough. You can join those in your party that claim the problems with our Federal government are due the fact that Bush wasn’t conservative enough, Boehner wasn’t conservative enough,and McCain and Romney weren’t conservative enough to get elected.

  45. HQ, there are no magic bullets — a tactic guaranteed to work every time, or 100% effectively. Cutting taxes may or may not work in Kansas, but such resistance to growing and inefficient government had fair success in a much less conservative state — Wisconsin (over vociferous opposition).

    But the tactic that SURELY will grow the state is for the GOP to do nothing. To not resist. To not take the offensive. To quietly comply with the Democrat agenda (via “compromise”). As you well know, the Democrats have literally an ENDLESS number of “good” reasons for ever higher taxes and more income redistribution.

    As a Democrat, that passive compliance is certainly the tactic you’d like to see the GOP take. I get that.

    BTW, cutting taxes WILL work in Kansas — just perhaps not to the magnitude hoped. I’ll bet you good money that the state legislature will not repeal ALL of the tax cuts. It’s a win-win effort. It’s only a matter of degree.

    ONE OTHER THOUGHT: Kansas, like most such “Republican” farm states, is in reality a huge welfare bastion — favoring massive farm subsidies, an agenda that cross political party lines.

  46. Richard,

    Two points:

    1. Wisconsin is not doing all that well, especially compared to next door neighbor, Minnesota (

    2. “Kansas, like most such “Republican” farm states, is in reality a huge welfare bastion — favoring massive farm subsidies, an agenda that cross political party lines.” My point exactly – everyone wants something from the government. It is difficult to fight the will of the people.

  47. HQ, how do you explain Reagan and Congress agreeing to reduce the top federal income tax bracket from 70% to 28%? Seems “the will of the people” (and the support of most economists) were for tax rate reduction — in spite of Cassandra warnings from Dan Rather and the rest of the MSM. And, after all, this was a HUGE rate drop.

    Granted the feds didn’t cut their spending (far from it), increasing the federal debt dramatically, but that’s not the fault of the tax cuts.

    Indeed, most people have forgotten that there was NO revenue drop — a drop that you would have predicted. Quite the contrary.

    Individual Income Tax Revenue Corp. Income Tax Revenue

    1981 $286 billion $61 billion
    1989 $446 billion $103 billion

  48. Your Minnesota piece is an opinion screed by a top Democrat Party official and former mayor of Minneapolis who fully understands the vital importance of public employee unions (with LOTS of members) to his party (as do you!). No links to sources. Zero credibility as a source.

    That being said, Scott Walker may have overestimated the positive effect. That doesn’t make him wrong, or a failure.

  49. Richard,

    If revenue didn’t drop, why did Reagan subsequently raise taxes in 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987?

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    Do you know what you’re missing with that statement, Craig? Reagan cut taxes twice as much as the small amounts he raised Reagan’s tax increases did not wipe out the effects of that initial tax cut- but they did eat up about half of it.

    This is important. Am I opposed to a new SANDAG sales tax as a stand alone tax? Absolutely but if it offered reductions in other taxation, equal to or greater than the new tax, I’d be for this.

    We discussed this in the MCO tax “hike” on an earlier post about the stand alone SANDAG Sky Gondola Tax.

    Let’s not get distracted with selective memory of the Reagan years. The SANDAG Sky Gondola Tax is a bad idea for a lot of reasons but it’s a NEW tax with no offsets. That’s a NEW tax–Republicans oppose new taxation

  51. Richard,

    My bottom line opinion and my main point: The majority of people say that they want lower taxes, but actions speak louder than words. The majority of the people will almost always vote for legislators who vote for government spending, albeit on their specific priorities.

    I appreciate your passion and respect your tenacity but you are tilting at windmills. The good news, as you pointed out, is that the tax rates were much higher 40 years ago.

  52. Thanks, Brian, but I wasn’t missing anything.
    I was A) Stating a fact, and, B) Asking a question. That’s all.

  53. HQ, yes taxes didn’t plummet and stay down during the Reagan reign. He dropped it quickly from 70% to 50%, and because of a political compromise the top rate gradually scaled down to 28% by 1988. Meantime some tax “loopholes” were closed and some minor tax increases implemented. For a history of the income tax, this is a good website:

    But the bottom line was that in 1988 the maximum income tax rate was 28%, a whopping 60% drop from the previous 70% top marginal income tax rate. There were only two rates — the other being 15%. It’s the closest we’ve ever gotten to a flat rate income tax.

    And yes, then the rate started back up. But even under Obama it’s still less than 40% — FAR shy of the Bernie Sanders “floor” of 70% (he prefers a 90% top bracket).

    Which brings me back to my point: To do nothing is to GUARANTEE more of the same. In this case the same high tax rates. Reagan may or may not have gotten all that he wanted, but he went for dramatic change. The victory for taxpayers was HUGE.

  54. HQ, how many politicians run on a platform of raising taxes (aside from the safe “soak the rich” mantra)? How many renege on their taxpayer commitments ONCE ELECTED? Remember “No new taxes”?

    The public DOES often vote for folks opposed to more or higher taxes. But politicians lie, or at least aren’t forthcoming with their desire to raise taxes. Or they “change their minds” once elected.

    That coupled with massive pro-tax special interest campaign support too often gives us politicians who act differently than we voters were led to expect. And once elected, the advantage of incumbency keeps challengers from removing such rogues through the electoral process.

  55. QUESTION FOR HQ (and others): Is there a Republican running for an open office anywhere in San Diego County who is publicly supporting the SANDAG sales tax increase? One? Anywhere?

    I suspect there MIGHT be one somewhere. Maybe.

    But here’s the thing: Assuming these aspiring politicians make it into office, I suspect that unfortunately some of these Republicans will then “change their minds” about the tax. They will support it with a frowny face, intoning that it’s a “necessary evil” or similar rationale. Fortunately I doubt there will be many such turncoats. The tax climate for sales taxes is not healthy these days.

    One things for sure. Contrary to what HQ says, the public does NOT want a higher sales tax. Not even a simple majority, I suspect. And certainly not a tax that impacts the “common man” (my sexist apologies).

    If it were a popular idea, more Republicans would be publicizing their support of that tax increase — touting it in their campaign literature. Not happening.

    Indeed, I doubt any aspiring DEMOCRAT will tout their support for the sales tax (not before getting elected). You won’t find that in THEIR campaign literature either — though some might conditionally support the tax when confronted directly on the matter.

  56. Post
  57. Sadly, you are right, Brian. I’m SURE you’re right.

    But my question is, are there any ASPIRING GOP office seekers who are publicly taking a position favoring this tax — people running for office without the huge advantage of incumbency?

    My point is, HQ keeps saying the public wants high (and higher) taxes — that’s why they elect who they elect. But MY thesis is that those who want higher taxes keep it to themselves (including most Democrats — with the exception of the widely supported “soak the rich” chant). Voters do NOT know who these people are, and the candidates seldom admit it.

    Few voters are thinking “Gee, I’ll vote for the candidate who will raise my taxes MOST.” Aside from HQ, I mean.

    Instead the candidates will talk about all the good things they stand for, how much they will improve people’s lives, but seldom mention the way they plan to ACHIEVE such success — raising taxes.

    What’s the ONE thing all politicians rail against? WASTE, FRAUD and ABUSE. And oddly enough, we still have our quota. It’s a meaningless mantra.

    But that being said, most of our taxes are NOT spent on those three categories in the strict sense. On the local level they are largely spent on INEFFICIENTLY providing services — using overpaid “public servants” operating under union work rules, and hiring union firms (PLA’s) to do the construction work.

  58. Richard,

    I never said the public wants higher taxes. They don’t, but they do want more government services and they won’t vote for someone who cuts those services.

    I heard a story about a Congressman who said he easily got re-elected every time by doing two things: voting against all tax increases and voting for all spending bills that brought money to his district. When asked if that made any sense, his reply was something to the effect of “Not really, unless the goal is to get re-elected.

    Even if the above story is just urban legend, it certainly makes the point.

  59. Post
  60. HQ has a point. People want something for nothing. I know I do!

    That’s why Bernie Sanders is so wildly popular — he promises free sh-t, and declares that almost all of us won’t have to pay for it. It’s the siren song of Socialism.

    Our job as fiscal conservatives is to connect the dots for the voting public. We must point out that Bigger Government NOT ONLY costs everyone more and delivers overpriced services, but also reduces our liberty and shrinks our economy.

    Indeed, everyone reading this blog can be prosecuted for being a criminal. I recommend “THREE FELONIES A DAY” by civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate.

    Because people can’t resist this con (and HQ gives a great if fictional example), we need to have a very restrictive employment contract with our elected representatives. I know — let’s call it a “constitution.” Indeed, that’s EXACTLY what our nation, state and local constitutions are about (on the local level, its often called a “charter” — employment contracts for politicians. Not gonna happen.

    Sadly, aside from the fact that our national Constitution left too much wiggle room, it’s often “reinterpreted” by courts. The state constitution is a hopeless morass that no one can explain. Locally, the charters are relatively weak in most cases, and often countermanded by Sacramento politicians.

    As I’ve said before, fighting for our limited government goals is better than NOT fighting, but I’m not optimistic. Not at all. Certainly for the foreseeable future, we will lose most of those contests.

    If not for my relish tackling the issues in this “target rich environment,” I would have left California long ago (but not the country).

    Actually that’s a lie — I would NOT have left. I don’t run my own household. Women rule! 😉

  61. But, as we all know, it’s not simply that “people want something for nothing,” Richard, they expect–even demand!–it. And why wouldn’t they? For the last fifty years they’ve grown accustomed to getting it. They’ve been taught that the “rights” of material security–shelter, food, medicine, employment, et al–are every bit as basic as liberty itself.

    As you point out, “our job as fiscal conservatives is to connect the dots for the voting public,” and to teach them the errors of their Keynesian ways. But formal lessons in Austrian/Chicago School market-based economics can’t compete on the street with the party of Santa Claus–the target audience of which is growing considerably faster than “we” laissez-fairists.

    The long-term outlook here is, I’m afraid, dim.

  62. Update:
    La Mesa gives thumbs down to the SANDAG tax scheme.
    El Cajon gives thumbs up.

  63. Thanks Craig. Vista gave a thumbs up too. Do you know which Council members voted against the SANDAG tax?

    Now we know who the tax and spend Republicans are. In Vista, Ritter and Aguilera are the tax and spend Republcans while Rigby and Franklin are the taxpayer champions.

  64. The vote in La Mesa was 5-0 against. All council members voting No. The reasons were as follows: 1. Not enough allocated to local infrastructure; 2. Length of tax (40 years) is too long; 3. La Mesa has the second highest sales tax rate in the County and if this is passed, we would be within 1/4 cent of our statutory limit on taxation, thus bind the hands of councils 25 or 30 years down the road to propose any tax increases for something necessary for La Mesa.

  65. Councilwoman Alessio, noted. Thank you and to Bill and Guy as well.
    Surprised by El Cajon. This vote by the El Cajon City Council joins the list of other poor votes. Violating free market principles with loans to a bankrupt brewery and voting to increase the age one is allowed to smoke while allowing the same individuals to travel abroad to fight for freedom.

    What conservative principles are they conserving?

  66. The kind that that’ve helped Trump win–i.e., the kind that range from cowardly to stupid to nonexistent?

  67. Craig,

    Bill Wells voted in favor? I guess it is time to dump another one who used to be a “true conservative.”

  68. Hypocrisy,

    Unlike La Mesa, I don’t know if E.C. formally voted. In any case, one’s conservative status isn’t (generally) determined by a singular vote.

  69. El Cajon did not have a formal vote. Mayor Wells brought the issue before the council to gain their input. I don’t think any of us believe one vote determines one’s conservatism or liberalism for that matter. It should be noted that Mayor Wells took a courageous 1-4 stand against the other council members on the vote/recommendation to increase the smoking age.

  70. Post

    “El Cajon did not have a formal vote. Mayor Wells brought the issue before the council to gain their input.”

    Let’s hope he votes against it or he will have branded every Council Member as a tax and spend Republican by their implied consent.

    “I don’t think any of us believe one vote determines one’s conservatism or liberalism for that matter.”

    Tell that to Marco Rubio. He’d be the Republican nominee today if he hadn’t voted on that Gang of Eight bill.

    “It should be noted that Mayor Wells took a courageous 1-4 stand against the other council members on the vote/recommendation to increase the smoking age.”

    Good but please convey to Mayor Wells that this is what the mailers might look like:

    “PRIORITIES: Bill Wells protects the rights of teenage smokers while raising taxes on everyone in El Cajon “

  71. Brian,

    I want to make sure that I understand what you are saying.

    Is it that the fact that Bill Wells did not come out against putting the SANDAG measure on the ballot now makes him not conservative enough for you to support in a future election?

    If the above is true, I now completely understand why the Republican Party continues to move further into the minority

  72. Post

    Short answer: yes.

    Long answer: Political parties are useless unless they stand for something and govern the way they campaign. If they say one thing and do the other, they ruin a political party’s chance to win elections and influence policy.

    This is Bill, when running for Assembly:

    “A fiscal conservative, Wells strongly opposes new taxes and has spoken out at Tea Party events against what he views as excessive taxation.”


    I believed him.

    What did he say last night about “new taxes”?

    ” ”

    Where’s Bill?

  73. Brian,

    The percentage of voters opposed to any and all new taxes regardless of circumstance is likely a very small minority. A Party that takes the position that they will only accept candidates who have that narrow view is doomed to be nearly irrelevant. I concede that it is a principled stand, but if you can’t support Bill Wells due to his “lack of conservative values,” you are going to quickly run out of people to support.

  74. Post
  75. Just had lunch with Councilman Hall and McNelis at Albondigas. They are putting it on the Santee agenda.

  76. Brian,

    My point was simply that your 100% litmus test, if it catches on as you hope, will simply make the Party even a smaller minority and less relevant. As for the specific question you posed, I will respond with one of my own (I know, bad form to answer a question with another question):

    What do you call a politician who never changes their mind on anything regardless of the circumstances?

  77. Post

    “My point was simply that your 100% litmus test, if it catches on as you hope, will simply make the Party even a smaller minority and less relevant.:

    Firstly, it isn’t “catching on”, it’s been the cornerstone of the Republican coalition since 1986. Over 1100 federal and state elected officials, committed to the pledge of “opposition to new taxation”, serve today.

    Secondly, Geo HW Bush made that commitment, broke the commitment, and lost the Presidency.

    Thirdly, Republicans who commit to that pledge comprise:

    1- a majority in the US House of Representatives
    2- A majority in the US Senate
    3- 30 of 50 Governor’s mansions
    4- a majority in 32 of 50 State Senates
    5- a majority in 28 of 50 State Assemblies

    The National and State Republican platforms are fine documents, documents with which I am not in full agreement…

    HOWEVER… the cornerstone of the Republican coalition, for thirty years now, is opposition to any and all attempts at NEW taxation.

    The evidence directly refutes your claim that this principled stance will make the Republican Party smaller

  78. Brian,

    Of those 1100 officials who have made the pledge, how many have broken it in one form or another?

    Second question, not relevant to my point but certainly on topic for the discussion: is voting to allow the public to vote on an issue the same as actually voting for the issue?

    Last point : Governor Ronald Reagan raised taxes and was later elected President. President Reagan also raised taxes – yes, I know that he cut them first, but by your definition the subsequent increase would still be a “new tax.”

  79. Post

    “how many have broken it in one form or another?”

    Less than ten.

    ” is voting to allow the public to vote on an issue the same as actually voting for the issue?”

    I think I covered this (in an exchange with Ms Alessio on a related post) but here we go again— Republicans oppose any and all ATTEMPTS at new taxation– so…yep.

    “yes, I know that he cut them first, but by your definition the subsequent increase would still be a “new tax.”

    You’re niggling so I’ll just give you what you want; Reagan was wrong. That may be why he encouraged the “No New Taxes Pledge” in 1986 (so he wouldn’t have to be wrong again).

  80. Statement from Councilman Chris Cate on SANDAG Tax Hike

    San Diego, CA: “I join Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer in opposition to SANDAG’s $18 billion dollar sales tax measure. This mega-tax will have a negative impact on hard-working families that are already over-taxed and struggling to makes ends meet. I do not support billions of public dollars going to bureaucracies that have fleeced taxpayers in the past, while not addressing the true issue at hand: traffic congestion.”

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