Californians are about to endure more than a month of urgent and sincere-sounding half-truths, white lies and full-bodied deceptions.
Tuesday a radio ad campaign began, urging Californians to vote May 19 in favor of a half dozen new laws to raise their taxes, shift around taxes they already pay, divert gambling proceeds to make up for a deficit lawmakers and the governor created and, for good measure, to slap legislators on the wrist if they create such a problem again.
"Gov. Schwarzenegger's California Dream Team" political action committee kicked in $525,000 this week, and California teachers unions reportedly have committed millions more. By tracing the approximate $6 million raised, voters can get an unfiltered view of who stands to gain. For the most part that's politicians and public employees.
The campaign will claim the infirm, impoverished and undereducated are the real beneficiaries of Propositions 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F.
Those are half-truths and white lies. What advocates don't say is that if the propositions fail, the sick, poor and school children still can be served if those serving them will work for less pay and fewer benefits. But that tack is abhorrent to government, even as it's increasingly practiced in the private sector.
Unlike regular folks who learn to get by with less and even to do more with less, government's servants insist on being fed ever-greater proportions of tax dollars to do the same job.
That's why "budget cuts" in Sacramento almost always only mean less of an increase than was demanded. That's why the state budget faces another multibillion dollar deficit in the coming fiscal year.
Prop. 1A would add another $16 billion in income, sales and car taxes, while Prop. 1B guarantees unionized teachers $9.3 billion of the booty. Props. 1E and 1D would shift taxes voters previously designated for health care and childrens services to fill the deficit instead, while 1C would expand, then borrow against state lottery proceeds. And Prop. 1F promises to refuse legislators pay raises if they don't approve balanced budgets.
In fact, what these propositions would accomplish would be to keep legislators and the governor on their same road to perdition, rather than live within their means like most Californians.