Advocates Favor Raising Taxes Instead of Cutting Health Care Programs
Health care advocates are among those who support increasing certain taxes to help California alleviate its estimated $24.3 billion budget deficit, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Advocates claim that California residents would rather face increased tax rates than see the state cut programs that provide services such as children's health care.
To close the budget gap, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has proposed reducing state spending by $16 billion and borrowing $7.4 billion from local governments and future budgets. His proposal does not include new taxes or tax increases.
In February, Schwarzenegger and state legislators approved $12.5 billion in tax increases. However, in May voters rejected five ballot measures that would have increased taxes by an additional $16 billion.
Slim Chance of Tax Hikes
Some Democratic lawmakers are weighing further tax increases to raise revenue. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said, "Everything has to be considered," adding that legislators are "looking at revenues in a variety of different areas."
However, it is unlikely that Democratic lawmakers will recruit enough Republicans to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority to approve any new tax hikes, the Bee reports.
Assembly Minority Leader Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) said, "We cannot solve this problem by adding burdens to the economy through raising taxes."Schwarzenegger also has indicated that he would veto tax increase measures (Wiegand, Sacramento Bee, 6/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.