Prop Zero
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Brown Should Have Proposed Tax Hikes That Republicans Can Support

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jacob N. Clary
    Surtax on adult entertainment could yield $700 million.

    Gov. Jerry Brown believes he can pick off the Republican votes he needs to place a measure on the June ballot that would extend for yet another five years $9 billion in “temporary” income, sales and car tax hikes that were enacted in 2009 and slated to expire this upcoming July.

    “I will go into the lion’s den,” said Brown, unveiling his 2011-12 budget, “and see if I can convince them to live with a little less red meat than they are accustomed [to].”

    Well, good luck with that governor.

    Republican lawmakers are not about to extend tax hikes they vigorously opposed just two years ago. But they just might be amendable to certain outside-the-box tax increases that have not been previously considered by the state Legislature and that are not included in the governor’s proposed budget.

    Those new outside-the-box taxes might include:

    A foreclosure tax. Banks resold roughly 160,000 foreclosed homes in 2010, generating $40.8 billion. A temporary 5 percent surtax on those so-called real estate-owned (REO) re-sales would yield $2 billion.

    A lawsuit tax. Nearly 1.4 million lawsuits are filed in California every year, according to California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. A $250 “temporary” surtax on lawsuit filings, and 5% surtax on court-ordered financial judgments and out-of-court financial settlements would generate nearly $500 million in tax revenue. The fee could be waived for needful individuals claiming financial hardship.

    A sex tax. California’s adult film industry, concentrated in the San Fernando Valley, generates $13 billion a year. The state’s gentlemen’s clubs and adult book stores generate another $1 billion or so. A 5% temporary surtax on all sex-related businesses here in the Golden State would yield roughly $700 million a year in new taxes.

    A gambling tax. The California lottery generates roughly $3 billion a year in sales. A 5 percent surtax (50 cents on a $5 ticket) would generate $300 million in revenue. California’s horse racing industry boasts a pari-mutuel handle of nearly $4 billion. A temporary 5 percent surtax would generate $200 million. Gambling-related tax revenue would grow $500 million.

    A marijuana tax. California’s estimated 500 legal marijuana dispensaries take in roughly $2 billion a year, according to a recent report by CNBC. A 5 percent temporary surtax would add $100 million in new taxes to state coffers.

    These five new “temporary” taxes would generate nearly $5 billion a year. They would be far more palatable to the Republican minority in Sacramento and would have populist appeal to the California electorate.

    Those new outside-the-box taxes might include:

    A foreclosure tax. Banks resold roughly 160,000 foreclosed homes in 2010, generating $40.8 billion. A temporary 5 percent surtax on those so-called real estate-owned (REO) re-sales would yield $2 billion.

    A lawsuit tax. Nearly 1.4 million lawsuits are filed in California every year, according to California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. A $250 “temporary” surtax on lawsuit filings, and 5% surtax on court-ordered financial judgments and out-of-court financial settlements would generate nearly $500 million in tax revenue. The fee could be waived for needful individuals claiming financial hardship.

    A sex tax. California’s adult film industry, concentrated in the San Fernando Valley, generates $13 billion a year. The state’s gentlemen’s clubs and adult book stores generate another $1 billion or so. A 5% temporary surtax on all sex-related businesses here in the Golden State would yield roughly $700 million a year in new taxes.

    A gambling tax. The California lottery generates roughly $3 billion a year in sales. A 5 percent surtax (50 cents on a $5 ticket) would generate $300 million in revenue. California’s horse racing industry boasts a pari-mutuel handle of nearly $4 billion. A temporary 5 percent surtax would generate $200 million. Gambling-related tax revenue would grow $500 million.

    A marijuana tax. California’s estimated 500 legal marijuana dispensaries take in roughly $2 billion a year, according to a recent report by CNBC. A 5 percent temporary surtax would add $100 million in new taxes to state coffers.

    These five new “temporary” taxes would generate nearly $5 billion a year. They would be far more palatable to the Republican minority in Sacramento and would have populist appeal to the California electorate.