State Democratic Party convention delegates over the weekend refused to endorse three propositions on the May 19 ballot that would dramatically increase income, sales and car taxes and redistribute money from two other existing taxes. Republican Party delegates recently rejected the same slate of measures, though for different reasons.
Both parties' conventions effectively rejected the centerpiece of the pretend reforms cobbled together by their own party leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man effectively without a party.
The battle against these horrendous tax measures — and three other related initiatives — isn't won yet. Mr. Schwarzenegger and colleagues have raised about six times as much money as opponents for ads to promote Propositions 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F. But rank-and-file activists in both political parties now have rejected three of the worst initiatives, which also trail in polls.
Democratic delegates opposed 1A largely because of its claim to cap spending, which runs counter to their party's tax-and-spend proclivities. Ironically, Republicans rejected 1A partly because they suspect the spending cap could be circumvented by spend-happy legislators. Neither party seems to trust its leadership's judgment.
Voters long have experienced similar remorse. That explains why they join both parties' delegates, as polls indicate, in opposing Prop. 1D and 1E, which, respectively, would divert existing taxes for children services and mental health programs to spend instead in the general fund, where lawmakers can direct the money wherever they choose.
But then, it's an odd political year. Prop. 1A would increase Californians' taxes by extending for two more years the $12.9 billion two-year tax increases legislators approved in February. But Prop. 1A would trigger a guarantee in Prop. 1B (provided it also passes) that public school teachers get $9.3 billion of the new booty. Teachers unions love the idea, and endorse 1A, while public employee unions, who wouldn't be so blessed, oppose it.
The solution is for government to stop trying to give everyone what they want. That's not government's job, and as is becoming painfully obvious with ongoing deficits in the billions of dollars, it's not what government is capable of doing even when it tries.