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Bill restores higher vehicle tax to help cities

SACRAMENTO - New state legislation would reverse deep state budget cuts to four Riverside County cities by partially restoring a higher tax on people's vehicles.
But Republican opposition earlier this year to extending a 2009 temporary increase in vehicle license fees seemed as strong as ever Thursday, including among officials representing the four cities -- Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee and Wildomar -- facing insolvency.
The bill introduced Thursday would increase the annual vehicle license fee from the current 0.65 percent to 0.8 percent, beginning Jan. 1. The extra money would go to local law enforcement programs, loans related to Orange County's 1994 bankruptcy, and cities.
The measure's author, Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana, said the bill would generate $470 million. He wants lawmakers to send the measure to Gov. Brown before the legislative year ends Sept. 9. There are no hearings scheduled.
"If ... (Republicans) want to make their communities whole, then they should at least read the bill, consider the bill, and then vote for the betterment of their communities," Solorio said. The bill requires the votes of at least two Republicans in both houses.
The $85.9 billion general fund plan approved in late June relied in part on taking cities' vehicle license-fee revenue to help pay for local law-enforcement grants. Many cities lost money in the shift, but none more so than the state's four newest ones, all of which are in Riverside County.
Republicans represent the area in the Legislature. Thursday, some officials called the legislation another attempt by Democrats to pry loose GOP votes to raise taxes.
Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore, represents Wildomar and Jurupa Valley. He ruled out voting for the legislation.
"The cities want a fix and we're hopeful that we're going to find a fix," Jeffries said. "But I'm not going to vote to raise everybody's vehicle license fees, I'm just not going to do it."
Menifee "is barely hanging on," said Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley. He left open the possibility he would support the bill.
"Right now I'm very suspect of it because it sounds like this is an end run using those cities that are in trouble to achieve their ultimate endgame and that's a tax increase," he said.
LOCAL OFFICIALS
A Sacramento lobbying firm hired by the four cities helped craft the legislation. But even some city officials said they opposed the idea.
Jurupa Valley Councilman Verne Lauritzen accused state officials of pressuring city leaders "to compromise our no-tax principles."
"The choice is you either shaft the constituents by raising their taxes or support the state raising their tax. That is not a choice. That is crass Sacramento politics," said Lauritzen, the chief of staff for Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone.
Stone has used the cut to help build his case for creating a new state of South California.
The Jurupa Valley council was scheduled to vote Thursday on sending a letter to lawmakers urging support for the Solorio bill.
"It won't be an easy decision for any of us," said Jurupa Valley Mayor Laura Roughton. "I don't want any new taxes or fees. We're backed into a corner by a Legislature that is running amok."
The League of California Cities estimates that the four Riverside County cities will lose a combined $14 million in 2011-12. Some cities, such as Jurupa Valley, will lose 40 percent of their general fund revenue.
BUDGET DEAL
Lawmakers voted in February 2009 to temporarily raise the vehicle-license fee from 0.65 percent of a vehicle's market value to 1.15 percent. About a third of the increase went to local law enforcement programs.
The license fee reverted to 0.65 percent on July 1.
Brown and fellow Democrats in the Legislature wanted to extend the license-fee increase, along with higher income and sales taxes. Republicans rejected the proposal and blamed Democrats for refusing to consider a spending cap, lower pensions and other government changes sought by GOP lawmakers
The June budget replaced the money for local public safety programs by, in part, taking $130 million in vehicle-license fee money that used to go to cities and Orange County.
The bill introduced Thursday would raise the vehicle license fee to 0.8 percent starting Jan. 1. Local law enforcement would get $300 million and $35 million would go to the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. Orange County would get $48 million to pay off its bankruptcy debt and the rest would go to cities.
"With what I see from Republicans, if a fee is specific and it goes to a good cause, such as public safety, they'll at least consider it," Solorio said.
http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_cities02.394744c.html


Added: Sep-2-2011 Occurred On: Sep-2-2011
By: laserblast92
In:
World News
Tags: Gray, Davis, Democrat, Recall, Over, Taxed, Bloated, Government
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  • Is it just me or do Democrats just want to raise taxes to solve debt issues instead of trying to reduce spending. I am not really "into" politics but this is what I am seeing.

    Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

    (6) | Report

    • @laserblast92
      Your vision seems pretty sharp to me. The mismanaged economy and politics of both parties is what drove me out of Calif. and to Idaho. We have a small ($179 million) budget surplus projected for 2012.

      Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

      (2) | Report

    • @laserblast92

      To Democrats, ALL government spending, no matter how wasteful, redundant, or pointless is sacred.

      Governments should never have to tighten their belts.

      Citizens are to be treated like ATMs, except during campaign season when you pretend that taxes are a bad thing.

      Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

      (5) | Report

  • I love how Democrats think there's just this pool of money in the private sector waiting to be taxed and put to some 'greater good' and life will actually improve if only they'd have more of our money.

    Because, we all know that government spending is GOOOOD

    Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

    (6) | Report

  • Tax, tax, tax, that's California

    Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

    (5) | Report

  • Better headline and story:

    Local Obamunists Seek Even Greater Destruction

    Not content with the wide swath of destruction Obama and the democrats have achieved at the federal level, state Obamunists plan to finish off the middle class with burdensome and excessive taxes. As if it isn't expensive enough to get to work, the Obamunists seek to extract even more of your hard earned dollars by increasing your vehicle taxes to give the money to one of their favorite voting blocks - SEIU members.

    Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

    (2) | Report

  • No wonder southeastern California counties want to secede, and start a new state.

    Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

    (0) | Report

    • Comment of user 'Eva_Destruction' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @Eva_Destruction

      The special Texas secession right is a myth. It does have the right to break up into smaller states, tho.

      http://www.snopes.com/history/american/texas.asp [last paragraph]

      IMHO, all states have the right to secede, since the Articles of Confederation allow it, and these were never nullified.

      Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

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    • @Eva_Destruction

      so true Eva ..so so true

      Posted Sep-3-2011 By 

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  • Sooner or later Cali won't have anyone with a job left to tax. I guess then they'll expect the rest of the country to pony up.

    Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

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  • Cut Spending and Balance the Budget or be replaced with someone that will ! ! ! Everone else does in one way or another - - - then Our gov't. must do the same ! ! ! The gov't and the politicians work for the people - - - not the other way around ! ! !

    Posted Sep-2-2011 By 

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