Against Brown's tax proposal

Gov. Jerry Brown wants $68 billion -- or is it $100 billion? -- for a bullet train linking Northern and Southern California.

Recently, Brown announced support for a plan to spend $14 billion on special tunnels that will move water from Northern California to Southern California.

California already has the highest sales-tax rate in the nation. The governor's tax plan will raise this rate by one-quarter percentage point.

California has the highest top personal income tax bracket in the nation: 9.3 percent. That rate begins at an income level of $48,000. Brown's tax plan wants to make that top bracket even higher: 13.3 percent.

California's current gasoline prices are outrageous: $4.25 a gallon or more. California's August unemployment rate was 10.6 percent. Nationally the rate is 8.1 percent.

In his tax plan on the November ballot, Brown is asking for too much money. Instead, Brown should be cutting taxes. Lower taxes will lead to more jobs and investment in California.

Vote against Brown's misguided tax plan.

Richard S. Colman

Orinda

Public schools need tax dollars

I am planning to vote for Gov. Brown's tax proposal, Proposition 30.

It will raise much-needed tax dollars not only for public schools, but other programs such as public colleges and universities and public safety programs.

It also would put into the state constitution a provision to dedicate money from the vehicle license fee (about $6 billion yearly) to local governments to cover the cost of many state programs.

Endorsements have been received from the California Teachers Association and labor unions representing education and public safety.

We must pass Proposition 30 to avoid disastrous trigger cuts of nearly $6 billion, which would hike tuition fees at the California university systems and shorten the public school year from one to four weeks.

We already trail other industrial nations in that category, thus setting us far behind in academic achievement.

Barbara Cowan

Antioch

An emphatic no to tax proposal

I will vote an emphatic no to Gov. Brown's tax proposal.

Brown wants to further tax those who already carry most of our tax burden, and again raise the sales tax.

Our sales tax is already the highest in the nation; personal income tax is second highest in the nation; corporate income tax is the highest in the West; gasoline tax is second highest in the nation; and property tax is 14th in our country (even with Proposition 13).

And the Democrats want to raise the vehicle registration fee again, which is already among the highest in the nation.

Brown and the Democratic state legislators should address the core issues causing our staggering deficits, such as the billions of dollars on entitlement programs for undocumented immigrants, and the numerous duplicitous and bureaucratic state agencies.

First spend our tax dollars in a responsible fashion, then ask for tax increases.

Jack Swagerty

Castro Valley

Our taxes are vital to education

Of course I am going to vote for Proposition 30, the education proposition.

California's student performance and its expenditures on education are among the lowest in the nation, while the proportion of school district budgets spent on categories of educational resources, such as teachers and administration, are in line with those of other states.

Investing in education is not only something we do for our children, we do it to ensure a thriving society in the future.

Karen Cohen

Walnut Creek

Will not support tax proposal

I will not support Gov. Brown's tax proposal.

He has squandered his trust with this voter in the manner in which he shoved the high-speed rail bond measure through the Legislature. Brown said that "with so much federal money available and so many Central Valley workers in need of jobs, going forward seemed like the right choice."

The fact the project, as now envisioned, resembles nothing like what voters narrowly approved in 2008, evidently doesn't matter to Brown. At the very least, he should have given the voters a chance to vote on this entirely new program.

Brown did not, and the hubris exhibited as he pushed his legacy public works plan through the Legislature was breathtaking.

Brown is willing to saddle this downtrodden state with $10 billion in additional debt to gain $3.3 billion in federal funding for a flimsy project that still has well over $50 billion in remaining expense with no identified source of investment revenue.

And Brown wants me to trust him with additional tax money? Sorry. Never again.

Mark Zuercher

Orinda

Will not vote for proposal

I won't vote for Gov. Brown's tax proposal -- not while he and his party's legislators push costly high-speed rail plans, such as "blended rail," in the Bay Area.

They would use high-speed rail funds to electrify Caltrain on tracks that high-speed trains cannot safely use, what with track-side Caltrain platforms and 43 at-grade road crossings. Accidents and train delays would soar.

Far safer and cheaper: Upgrade Amtrak rail from Santa Clara via Mulford to West Oakland. Where BART crosses overhead (by Interstate 880 at Seventh Street), plan an intermodal transfer station. BART runs every few minutes to the West Bay (including four downtown San Francisco stations), and often to all of East Bay BART-land.

There would be no cost for Caltrain electrification, for tunneling in San Francisco, or for future high-speed rail train tubes under San Francisco Bay toward Oakland and Sacramento.

Let's plan five-county BART, with BART around the bay. Convert Caltrain to BART and a Muni airport line. Extend BART to the Golden Gate and Carquinez bridges, Brentwood, and over the Altamont. Let the people vote, as they did 50 years ago for BART.

Robert S. Allen

Livermore

Allen was a BART director from 1974 to 1988.

Legislators have been acting irresponsibly

I was prepared to support Gov. Brown's tax proposal as necessary and the best option available. My only requirement was that Sacramento show us it could act responsibly with our money by making real pension reform, which is our largest long-term drain on state funds.

I can no longer support this plan because the pension reform was only a minor tweak that moves the problem down the road to be addressed again.

That the state cannot keep track of the money that it has, namely $54 million of state parks money that was "lost," only adds another reason not to trust them with the money.

Gary Knox

Richmond

Fix pensions to raise money

For several years, my position has been that if the state really needs more money, the first thing it should do is reduce expenses by fixing the excessive government employee pension system.

Instead, Gov. Brown and the Legislature are now trying to convince us to vote for more taxes, while they pass a bill that solves less than 20 percent of the pension problem.

Sorry Gov. Brown, but if I want to raise my sales taxes I'll do it to improve Moraga roads rather than to fund excessive pensions.

Pete Williams

Moraga

Tell legislators no more taxes

I will not support Gov. Brown's proposal to increase taxes.

Our legislators should be looking for ways to lower our burden. There is no such thing as public money. Every dime they spend comes out of our pockets.

Whether they take from you to give to someone else, to buy votes; or they want legacy projects, such as waterways and bullet trains -- it's our money.

By the way, there are no rocket trains: They make lots of stops. Driving is faster and a plane is better yet.

The state takes taxes out of our checks; we pay property taxes and sales taxes. Say, "no more."

Bill Jones

Pleasant Hill

Proposition 30 is tax blackmail

California K-8 students rank 49th in math and science. All U.S. students rank 19th and 24th among the industrialized countries. California spends $1,240 per student less than the $10,615 U.S. average for K-12.

More money would help, but our state is broke because our "leaders" are unwilling to set priorities consistent with our needs. All California's taxes are among the nation's highest. We need accountability, not taxes.

It's standard practice for California's Democratic leaders to threaten our highest priority needs. Special-interest groups who own those leaders drive tax increases. Thus, Gov. Brown holds education and other high priorities hostage to his Proposition 30 tax increase.

Also, his need for "legacies" results in costly big project proposals, e.g., fast trains and big water pipes to Southern California.

The solution: Vote no on Proposition 30. This would eliminate the "tax blackmail" and create a California state "financial cliff" requiring a complete relook at spending priorities.

This will cause short-term pain, but the long-term benefit will be worth it.

L. Lynn Cleland

Danville

State is spending too much money

I will not vote for Proposition 30.

California's problem is excess spending, not insufficient revenue. The increased taxes will not be used to help pay down the deficit, but will just increase spending.

A major spending problem is the ever-increasing cost of California state pensions, and the recent pension-reform legislation was a sham. Earned pensions are vested, but future years must be revised.

CalPERS must pay the state contributions based upon realistic earnings, and the employee contributions must be increased. Gov. Brown is owned by the unions and will not make a serious effort to address the costs.

Instead of trying to balance the budget, Brown proposes ridiculous new spending schemes such as high-speed rail. That is nothing but a statewide BART system, with high-paying jobs for unionized state employees and will require a continuing state operating subsidy.

Richard Soderholm

Concord