CA's Prop 29 Promises Offer Nashville Insight on Tax Increases

If you want to know the end of a matter, it’s often instructive to examine similar matters elsewhere. The results have a way of serving as a predictor of outcomes. They have the added advantage of being based in real world happenings rather than political promises.

Here in Nashville, TN we are looking at a massive property tax increase that Mayor Karl Dean insists he must have or Nashville will have no police, firemen or teachers. The only way to save the city is to enact the largest tax increase in Nashville’s history. For insight into the likely future results for Nashville, let’s look at the poster child for tax-and-spend policy results: California.

Proponents of Proposition 29, a massive tax hike slated for California’s June ballot, are offering voters the usual “Lose-Lose” deal that government always seems to plate up. CalWatchDog’s Katy Grimes reports California tax payers are expected to reach even deeper into their pockets and continue to blindly trust that the money won’t end up going to the same bureaucratic money pits as have the funds from so many other similar measures in the past. Trust …

A former California governor famously said, “Trust, but verify!” when it came to good intentions. These California politicians seem to be saying just the opposite, “Trust, and satsify!” when it comes to their desires.

The tax-and-spend lobby wants another $1 billion annually from California taxpayers this June. As an assurance that the money won’t pad the pockets of political cronies or end up wasted like billions of other tax dollars the state takes each year, they tout a typical, toothless annual audit.

How effective have these been in the past? Former Assistant State Treasurer Peter Schaafsma demonstrates they aren’t even worth the paper they are printed on. As he wrote about the state’s experience with First 5 several years ago, “the ongoing potential for adverse audit findings has not served to deter questionable spending and politics when the underlying program lacks public accountability.”

Proposition 29 is a losing bet for Californians. If history is any example, any time the spending lobby asks voters to place their faith in something, it’s usually the prelude for a swindle. Don’t take my word for it, you can read the bill for yourself and see the flaws right and left. They’re that obvious.

And let’s not forget where we started; Tennessee. In true California fashion, Mayor Dean wants 13% more spending this year and his 5 year plan means we also get a tax increase next year. He won’t put it all in at once because that would trigger an automatic referendum and the people would get to vote on it. He proposed his budget at the last possible minute giving opponents a mere 6 weeks to craft a response to a plan he had over 6 months to build. And the people have no say. Mayor Dean wrings his hands and says “Trust me!” because without this money, Nashville is doomed. How did this happen overnight? If it’s that bad, weren’t there signs last year or the year before? Why didn’t Dean make his case over time and be truthful with the people?

Hard to believe but it appears that California taxpayers have it better than we do here in Nashville. At least their politicians tell them in advance when they plan to savage their pocketbooks. Here in Nashville, however, we don’t need to know what our money will pay for. We don’t need to be able to examine it for ourselves and maybe decide our spending priorities lie in a different place. We don’t need to be able to offer up an alternative to the Mayor’s lunacy. We don’t even get to vote on the largest tax increase in our city’s history. We just get to trust another politician that what he says is so, really is so.

Because what politicians promise always works out just the way they say it will …

If you live in California, you can reject the politicians insistence that you trust them and vote No on 29. If you live in Nashville, too bad, you don’t get to vote at all …