I am scratching my head a bit this morning, as I caught up with the news that two GOP Assemblymen from the Central Valley, Tom Berryhill and Danny Gilmore, have endorsed Proposition 1A. Other than the three infamous Republican Assemblymembers (Adams, Niello and Villines) who voted to tie $16 billion in taxes to the passage of 1A, Berryhill and Gilmore are the only two GOP Assemblymembers to endorse 1A.
The reason why I am scratching my head is to try and understand why they would endorse this measure. We know that it’s passage triggers $16 billion in income, sales and car taxes, as well as cuts in the tax credits for families with children. We know that the “revenue smoothing” language in 1A is so vague that our state’s leading experts on spending restraints oppose 1A and specifically have criticized the so-called spending cap — the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the National Tax Limitation Committee, the Pacific Research Institite, the People’s Advocate, the Claremont Institute — to name some.
This to say nothing about the “great ruse” – the considerable efforts by the proponents of 1A to keep voters ignorant of the massive tax increases associated with it.
Berryhill and Gilmore both are in “target seats” — they will both have competitive elections next fall, against Democrats, in districts that are not “safe” in the least. So it makes you wonder what was going through their minds, politically, when they endorsed a massive tax increase measure? In fact, the conventional wisdom is that legislators in seats like these should be “protected” from voting for or taking public positions in support of unpopular measures such as 1A.
Proposition 1A is losing according to polls — and I hear it’s doing even worse in the Central Valley than elsewhere. The reality is that the endorsement of Berryhill and Gilmore will not materially change the outcome of 1A in the election.
The real question is what impact supporting higher income, sales and car taxes will have on these two Republicans next year? Will they end up with primary challengers? Who knows? You can be sure that they will be attacked by their Democrat opponents, ironically, for supporting higher taxes!
It’s no secret that many in the big-business community are behind 1A, and putting pressure ($$$) on to get Republicans to support it, or to get them to moderate their opposition. 1A is part of a deal that was very adventageous for them. To the extent that these interests played a role in getting these “targets” to back 1A, I think they did their own cause a disservice.
My prediction is that by mid-May, 1A will be history — a bad idea that will be rejected by the voters. But for Berryhill and Gilmore, they will be dealing with their support for 1A well into next year.
I consider Tom and Danny friends, so I will offer my “friendly” advice. For both policy and political reasons they should put the proverbial “jeanie back in the bottle” and “un-endorse” the tax increase — in fact, they should oppose it!