Is the tax revolt over?


The most optimistic piece I've read on the results of the November election is on Calitics, where Robert Cruikshank argues that the tax revolt that started with Prop. 13 in 1978 is finally over.

And while there is still a lot of work ahead to overturn the legal and constitutional legacies of the tax revolt, it no longer has political power. That in turn means the California Republican Party, and the California conservative movement, are as dead as Monty Python's parrot.

That's a pretty sweeping statement for a fairly modest tax package supported by the same governor who called himself a born-again tax-cutter in the wake of Prop. 13. But Cruikshank makes a good point:

This victory over the tax revolt happened because of years of progressive organizing against further tax cuts and for tax increases. Progressive voices and organizations completely rejected the post-1978 Democratic logic that the tax revolt had to be appeased. Instead, we insisted that the tax revolt had to be confronted and defeated. With Prop 30 that's exactly what happened.

I know the Democrats in the Legislature are going to be nervous about more tax hikes, particularly since the two-thirds majority includes some folks from pretty conservative districts who are going to be scared of "overreaching." But it's not just about general tax hikes; we got one this year, and we may not get another. It's about all of the long list of tax loopholes that art on the books that take a two-thirds majority to undo. It's about a budget that includes addition as well as subtraction. And it's about not being afraid to say that investment in the state has economic value.

Maybe the Dems don't have to be afraid; maybe this two-thirds majority isn't an anomaly and isn't going to change. Maybe the state is getting so much more Democratic that supermajorities are the way of the future and people are sick of the GOP no-new-taxes nonsense. Maybe (as I've long said with same-sex marriage) it's part of an inevitable demographic change:

Many of those angry white suburbanites convinced that people of color and their liberal allies were going to destroy their suburban paradise have left California, either by relocation or by the intervention of the Grim Reaper. In their place has grown up a native-born population that is diverse, that isn't ideologically wedded to car-centric postwar suburbs, and that rejected the "I've got mine, screw you" mentality of Howard Jarvis.

In which case we really can start turning this state around.

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