Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke to the Sacramento Press Club today, and in his speech, he called on state lawmakers to strengthen Proposition 13 and reinvest in education. The mayor also called out members of the Tea Party for economic decisions that do more harm than good.
Here are some excerpts from the speech:
On Tea Party economics:
If the Transportation Bill doesn’t get done by the end of September, the federal gas tax will expire. And, you guessed it, the Tea Party is threatening to hold the gas tax hostage.
Now, here’s what it means. The gas tax is not only one of the few rational pieces of our federal energy policy, it accounts for a third of our transportation budget and its elimination will result in the direct loss of 630,000 jobs – that’s 630,000 jobs on the heels of the downgrade and the debt debacle. And all while we have a bi-partisan chorus including the United States Chamber of Commerce singing in unison, urging Congress to invest more – not less — to meet the nation’s pressing infrastructure needs.
That, my friends, is Tea Party economics at work.
On Proposition 13:
We need to strengthen Prop 13 and get it back to the original idea of protecting homeowners. Prop 13 was never intended to be a corporate tax give-away, but that is what it has become.
Let’s apply Prop 13’s protections to homeowners and homeowners alone. And let’s strengthen those protections. We could take half the money we generate to fund schools and use the other half to cut taxes for homeowners – and, you know what, we can spur the housing market in the process. Phase it in over time to soften the impact on business and call it the Homeowner and Public Education Protection Act.
On new taxes:
Let’s smooth out the rollercoaster ride and reduce the state’s reliance on income tax revenue. There is a compelling proposal from California Forward and Think Long that would cut income taxes eleven percent across the rate structure. This could be part of a grand bargain.
And for the love of California, let’s stop pounding the table! Let’s recognize on both sides what we all know to be true, that to balance the equation we need significant new revenue.
A reform of our property tax system as I’ve described could yield anywhere from $2.1 up to 8 billion dollars a year.
A service tax can generate as much as twenty eight billion dollars in new revenue. Bob Hertzberg is right on the money. It’s crazy that we are taxing donuts and not lawyers in the State of California.
Jokes from the speech:
It brings to mind the old Mother Jones line on the essential role of journalism. “To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable!” I can testify firsthand!
At the LA Times, we recently took another hit with the termination of Tim Rutten, a veteran local columnist with a deep understanding of our City’s complex history and who possesses an even keener sensitivity for what I’d call LA’s soul. I have no doubt Tim will soon be reincarnated… as a BLOGGER! (Eds: Hah! Blogging is such a joke.)
I know some love to talk about media bias. The big irony lies in this: If there’s a single bias, it’s the ever-increasing tilt favoring heat and light over actual news reporting. And unfortunately, this hothouse ecology seems uniquely adapted to brewing Tea Party members!
This year, about a third of California teenagers will lumber through the day without PE classes – meanwhile, there’s probably a politician in the parking lot holding a press conference on the growing epidemic of childhood obesity!