Re "Gov.'s staff exploring new taxes," May 2
The only proven solution to California's budget deficit is a sustained economic recovery. A sales tax on services would impede that recovery.
Increasing the price of services in California by 8% would cause consumers to use less of those services. Many California businesses would face an immediate 8% competitive disadvantage to companies in other states.
A services tax discriminates against small businesses. Although national companies would use their in-house legal and accounting services or those in other states, small businesses would be stuck with higher prices they couldn't afford.
Businesses and individuals who share in the ever-rising cost of healthcare would be further priced out of the market. Entertainment and tourism would suffer dramatically.
There is a reason that other large states have repealed their service taxes. These taxes simply do not work, and our economy cannot afford them.
The writer is chief executive of the California Chamber of Commerce.
All options to fix our budget deficit should be considered; one of those options should be raising taxes, if only temporarily. It's only fair to spread the pain out a little.
If we're willing to send pink slips to teachers and cut benefits for poor people, shouldn't those of us who are more fortunate do our part? I haven't done the math, but I'd bet that a relatively small tax increase (for everyone, including businesses) would allow us to avoid some of the draconian budget cuts. Many of us seem to have bought into the concept that we can get something for nothing.
Making an across-the-board cut is cowardly and stupid. That's what Ronald Reagan did when he was elected governor, and it makes no more sense today than it did then. Republicans who don't support a tax increase should identify specifically which programs should be eliminated. Let's see if they get reelected.
Re "Taxing buyers' patience," May 3
Wasn't it only five years ago that California Republicans attacked then-Gov. Gray Davis for, in the words of the recall petition, "gross mismanagement of California finances by overspending taxpayers' money, threatening public safety by cutting funds to local governments, failing to account for the exorbitant cost of the energy, and failing in general to deal with the state's major problems until they get to the crisis stage"?