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Let the rich pay, Camejo says

by Green Saturday, Aug. 30, 2003 at 12:23 PM

Green Party candidate Peter Camejo has unveiled a budget proposal which calls for strikingly higher income tax rates on Californians who earn more than 0,000 a year, changing Proposition 13 to allow reappraisals of many corporate properties and tax cuts for low-wage earners.

From the Sacramento Bee

Let the rich pay, Camejo says

The Green Party hopeful would boost education spending, cut sales taxes and amend Prop. 13.

By Herbert A. Sample -- Bee San Francisco Bureau

Published 2:15 a.m. PDT Friday, August 29, 2003

OAKLAND -- Green Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo on Thursday unveiled one of the recall campaign's most detailed and liberal proposals, one he contended would lift California out of its budget morass.

Camejo, who heads an investment brokerage firm he founded, called for strikingly higher income tax rates on Californians who earn more than 0,000 a year, changing Proposition 13 to allow reappraisals of many corporate properties and tax cuts for low-wage earners.

He also proposed restoring hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to K-12 and higher education spending and rescinding fee increases for state university and community college students.

In all, the tax increases would raise an additional .1 billion a year, and the new spending and tax cuts would cost .1 billion, Camejo asserted. That would leave California with a billion surplus if the changes were to be applied to the state's current spending plan, he added.

"We have a crisis," Camejo said. "At least (the wealthy) should pay what the average person pays, and that would balance the budget."

Camejo's plan mirrors in part that of another ideological progressive, independent Arianna Huffington, who described her budget proposal Wednesday. Some of its elements, particularly the increase in taxes on the wealthy and a reassessment of business property, also are similar to a plan unveiled last week by Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the only prominent Democrat vying to replace Gov. Gray Davis in the Oct. 7 recall election.

But Camejo's approach is markedly different from that of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor has not disclosed a specific strategy, though he has said taxes should be raised only in emergencies, spending should be capped by law and the state budget audited.

Schwarzenegger also has said he would repeal the billion increase in vehicle license fees, though he has not detailed how he would account for the lost revenue.

State Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Simi Valley, also has not offered a detailed plan but has centered his campaign on rescinding the license fee and cutting spending. And GOP businessman Peter Ueberroth has said he would call a special legislative session on the budget, implement a tax amnesty program that would raise billion and push for more federal dollars.

Davis early this year proposed a number of structural changes to the state's fiscal policies, but they were essentially ignored by the Legislature.

Officially, the current state budget is balanced after the governor and legislators wrangled over how to close a two-year, billion deficit. But authorities expect another shortfall of billion to appear next year.

Camejo, though, contended that the budget should never have fallen into deficit. He derided Davis' budget policies, accusing the governor of increasing spending at double-digit rates and projecting further rises while cutting taxes on the wealthy.

"The level of incompetence and fiscal irresponsibility displayed by the governor is truly remarkable," Camejo said.

Davis spokesman Peter Ragone defended the governor's budget and fired back at Camejo.

"The level of ignorance here is astounding and shows why this recall has become a circus, not a solution," Ragone said. "Every analyst of any caliber made it clear that the governor's budget proposals this year were the most fair and most balanced around."

Camejo said he would raise state income tax rates, from 9.3 percent to 14.3 percent, for people making at least 0,000 annually, which he said would generate an estimated billion. He also would raise rates by two percentage points for earners making between 0,000 and 0,000 a year, producing billion. The effect of those increases on individuals would be partially offset by the deduction of state income taxes on federal tax returns.

The state would gain .9 billion by altering 1978's Proposition 13 and reappraising some land owned by businesses. Such a move, though, may require voter approval.

Camejo also called for rescinding, over four years, the recently approved tripling of the vehicle license fee and trimming state sales tax rates, which he said hit the poor disproportionately.

On the spending side, Camejo would restore 5 million in cuts to K-12 education and after-school programs. He also would rescind 5 million in cuts to the budgets of the community college, California State University and University of California systems while canceling student fee increases.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the Writer

---------------------------

The Bee's Herbert A. Sample can be reached at (510) 382-1978 or hsample@sacbee.com.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At a glance

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo has unveiled his budget proposal. He said his plan, if applied to the state's current spending, would leave California with a billion surplus. The plan calls for:

* Higher income tax rates on the highest-earning Californians -- from 9.3 percent to 14.3 percent for people making at least 0,000 annually; and a two-percentage-point increase for earners making between 0,000 and 0,000 a year -- producing billion in total added revenue.

* Changing Proposition 13 to allow reappraisals of many corporate properties.

* Tax cuts for low-wage earners.

* Restoring hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to K-12 and higher education spending and rescinding fee increases for state university and community college students.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 19 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Of course let the rich pay... Ignatius Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 11:04 AM
And what exactly is his plan... nonanarchist Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 11:59 AM
empty threats Talkerov Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 1:14 PM
Don't believe me? nonanarchist Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 1:28 PM
socialism for the rich (8) Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 1:36 PM
Sure...like socialism... nonanarchist Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 1:38 PM
where's the money? (8) Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 2:17 PM
Any chance for a popular uprising... nonanarchist Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 2:29 PM
reign of terror (8) Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 4:35 PM
"...the acts of terror directed against the Cuban people..." nonanarchist Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 5:05 PM
Monarchist spouting nonsensee again Parmenides Sunday, Aug. 31, 2003 at 5:16 PM
Bush Assmirer Dr. Sigmund Fruit Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 9:19 AM
Parmenides nonanarchist Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 1:31 PM
what about them? R. the Bruce Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 2:58 PM
ops dang it Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 3:01 PM
not empty threats cally Monday, Sep. 01, 2003 at 5:22 PM

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