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Governor’s Reply to Editorials

In response to my recent letter (March 15), you published three lengthy editorials which unmasked your definition of vision: higher taxes and more spending (March 15-17). There is virtually no limit to the big-spending, high-tax programs you want to impose on the workers and businesses of our state. These editorials alone call for spending an additional $2.6 billion in the coming year and you don’t make any effort to price them for the out years.

Even so, you conveniently neglected to account for many other spending increases you have called for in the recent past. Last year alone, The Times ran at least 70 editorials on the state budget and state programs. Only once did you call for a reduction in spending, and that was for $50,000.

In all the other editorials, you advocated increased spending, higher taxes, or both--yet the costs of many of the proposals were not factored into the spending totals mentioned in your response. Did you forget, or should we now consider those editorials “inoperative”?

Your call to slash our prudent reserve by more than a half is not very wise. To follow your advice would be to put California’s fiscal solvency and our triple-A bond rating in serious jeopardy.

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I find your advocacy of closing tax loopholes understandable and self-serving. You want to apply taxes to lawyers’ services, but you failed to mention the sales tax exemption on the sales of newspapers and advertising revenues received by newspapers.

Since you have called for tax increases, can we expect that you will begin by publicly advocating that the sales tax be applied to newspaper sales and advertising revenues? The Times Mirror Co. can seek the introduction of legislation to accomplish that in the state Legislature. If you cannot do this, I think your readers deserve an explanation justifying the continuation of these exemptions at the same time you advocate taxing lawyers’ services.

In your editorials you bemoan the fact that Californians have received what you have calculated to be $115 billion in tax breaks during the past 10 years. If the people had followed your advice, they would have paid out $115 billion more in taxes. I’d like to suggest that you run for governor on that platform and bring your record of bigger spending and higher taxes to the voters. Then let the voters decide.

I haven’t received your voluntary additional tax payment.

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(Editor’s note: The governor’s March 15 letter noted that Times Mirror Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times, made $332 million in 1988 and stated, “We will gladly accept your voluntary higher tax payments.”)

After publishing 87 column inches of reply editorials, versus my letter of 10 inches, you have now published an 8-page slick reprint and mailed it to selective persons. You have apparently decided not to “put up or shut up.”

P.S. I’m still waiting for your check. Is it in the mail?

GOV. GEORGE DEUKMEJIAN

Sacramento


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