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News Link • Legislative Mischief

California Legislature Passes Bill to Study State-owned Bank

• www.huffingtonpost.com

AB 750, California's bill to study the feasibility of establishing a state-owned bank that would receive deposits of state funds, has passed both houses of the legislature and is now on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown awaiting his signature.

It could be the governor's chance to restore the state to its former glory. As noted in Time magazine:

[I]n the 1950s and '60s, California was a liberal showcase. Governors Earl Warren and Pat Brown responded to the population growth of the postwar boom with a massive program of public infrastructure -- the nation's finest public college system, the freeway system and the state aqueduct that carries water from the well-watered north to the parched south.

But that was before Proposition 13, a California constitutional amendment enacted by voter initiative in 1978. Prop 13 limited real property taxes to 1 percent of the full cash value of the property and required a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for future increases of any state tax rates.

Prop 13 radically reduced the tax base, but it is probably too late to raise property taxes now. The tax savings simply drove property prices up, getting capitalized into additional debt service to the banks. Today, a rise in property taxes would lead to even more foreclosures and abandonments, reducing tax revenues even more.

Meanwhile, the state is struggling to meet its budget with a vastly shrunken tax base. What it needs is a new source of revenue, something that won't squeeze consumers, homeowners, or local business.

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