Time's Joe Klein: Prop 13, Conservatism Caused 'California Bust'

<p><img src="http://media.eyeblast.org/newsbusters/static/2009/09/joeklein.jpg" align="right" border="0" height="180" hspace="3" vspace="3" width="240" />While he conceded that liberal labor unions, particularly &quot;reactionary&quot; teachers unions have had a role in California's fiscal mess, Time columnist and blogger Joe Klein placed the lion's share of the Golden State's woes on conservatives who have pushed for lower taxes. </p><p>Upset that conservative writer George Will had chalked up &quot;all that is wrong in California at liberalism's doorstep,&quot; Klein used a <a href="http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2010/01/10/california-bust/" target="_blank">January 10 Swampland blog post</a> to slam the columnist for failing to assign any blame on the 1978 property tax-limiting Proposition 13 and the resulting &quot;public pathology that we've inherited from the Reagan Era&quot; whereby &quot;the public wants a modified welfare state, excellent schools, a clean environment, low college tuitions...but it's not willing to pay for them.&quot;</p><p>But the problem with Klein's argument is that reliably blue-state Californians -- or rather <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28625138/" target="_blank">the ones who haven't moved out in disgust</a> -- are all too willing to shoulder a high tax burden, as <a href="http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/15.html" target="_blank">data from the Tax Foundation shows</a>:</p><!--break--><ul><li>California's state/local tax burden is above the national average </li><li>California's 2010 business tax climate ranks 48th </li><li>California's top individual income tax rate is the fourth highest in the country</li><li>California's corporate income tax rate is the highest in the West</li><li>California's sales tax rate is the highest in the nation</li></ul><p>But what about Klein's point on state and local property tax? The Tax Foundation notes that &quot;[d]espite Proposition 13, California ranks in the middle of the pack when the states are ranked on combined state/local property tax collections&quot; with the Golden State ranking &quot;28th highest nationally&quot; in terms of per capita state/local property taxes ($1,030.60). </p><p>Far from being a &quot;Reagan Era&quot; pipe dream of low taxes and regulation, California is a textbook example of how tax-and-spend liberal policies are doomed to fail.  </p>

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters