Saturday, August 11, 2012

Was the California Senate Censorship of Proposition 30 Intentional? You Decide!

UPDATE:  Pro Tem Steinberg has since apologized for cutting off the cameras.  Please read on to decide if there was more to the decision than he lets on.

As reported in the Sacramento Bee, the Democrat leader in the California Senate, Darrell Steinberg ordered that cameras to the public feed be turned off, just as they were about to discuss Proposition 30.  Proposition 30 is Governor Jerry Brown's tax hike initiative.  Was this such a big deal?  You decide.

  • One of the biggest funders supporting Proposition 30 is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  According to MapLight, a site that tracks campaign spending, SEIU has spent nearly $6.2 million as of 2-OCT-2012 in support of Proposition 30.  Public television station KCET has a bit more detail, showing contributions from SEIU Local 1000 and the California State Council of Service Employees Issues Committee.
  • According to his official biography, Darrell Steinberg was formerly an "attorney for the California State Employees Association for ten years."
  • SEIU Local 1000 is an affiliate of the California State Employees Association.
  • According to a March 2010 report by California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), SEIU is the second-largest spender in California politics.
  • According to his official biography, Darrell Steinberg was the author of 2004's Proposition 63, which asked a simply majority of California voters to impose a 1% surtax on those earning $1 million or more.  Many in California view Proposition 63 as an abuse of the democratic initiative process, and at least one lawsuit was filed claiming that Proposition 63 was an unconstitutional violation of state and federal equal protection clauses.  Some also see Proposition 30 as a similar violation.  To avoid such criticism, Proposition 30 has a FOUR-year sales tax increase that applies to ALL Californians.  The income tax increase only applies to the top 2-3% of California taxes but lasts for SEVEN years.
  • If Governor Brown's Proposition 30 passes, Steinberg's Proposition 63 adds another 1% on top.  Combined, Proposition 30 and Proposition 63 would give California the nation's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th highest state income tax rates in the nation.
  • SEIU is a major contributor to Darrell Steinberg, Governor Brown, and to the California Democratic Party.  SEIU holds enough political power and sway to justify a private town hall meeting with Governor Jerry Brown.
Based on this evidence, does it appear that Darrell Steinberg has a conflict of interest over any public discussion of Proposition 30?  I think so.  Do I think that Darell Steinberg cut off the cameras to avoid publicly discussing Proposition 30?  Yes, because the more that voters learn about Proposition 30, the less they like it.

It's unlikely that I will ever make enough to be affected by the Proposition 30 tax hikes.  However, I'm smart enough to realize that they're unfair and will likely further poison California's ailing business environment.  My fellow Californians, please VOTE NO on PROPOSITION 30.

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