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State Legislators to Davis on Budget: 'You First'

November 28, 2002

Gov. Gray Davis is one of the most incompetent governors we've had in scores of years and, unfortunately, we are stuck with him for another four years ("Legislators Letting Davis Lead on Budget," Nov. 24). He took a state budget awash in surplus and, with lack of foresight and proven incompetence, reduced the surplus to a $21-billion deficit. And our elected legislators are going to leave it to this same man to solve the problem? How hard will that be for him to accomplish? He'll cut costs by $5 billion and increase taxes and fees by $16 billion. Problem solved.

Did we elect our legislators to solve problems or to stand around and hope that we won't notice that they are unwilling to try to help solve the problems confronting the state? Any fool can stand around and do nothing. I hope the electorate is paying attention and will have the good sense to vote these cowards out of office.

Wayne D. Kerr

La Crescenta

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Re "State Taxes: Bite the Bullet," editorial, Nov. 23:

We do not need tax increases to balance our state budget. The current budget crisis presents an excellent opportunity to reconsider the organization and scope of our bloated and inefficient state government. For example, the entire Department of Education is an unnecessary and expensive burden on our school system. Local school districts are major enterprises that are fully capable of operating without having the burden of a state education bureaucracy over them.

The state should also sell property it does not need now, while real estate prices are high. For example, Caltrans owns hundreds of rental houses that should be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Any politician who proposes tax increases is simply a lazy coward who is unwilling to cut out wasteful spending and stand up to the bureaucrats and special interests.

F. Stephen Masek

Mission Viejo

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In urging higher taxes to bail out California's one-party government, The Times urges extending the sales tax to "lawyer fees," claiming they now are "oddly exempted." Sales tax on top of astronomical legal fees? Then why not sales tax on visits to the doctor and dentist, prescriptions and all hospital stays? Or on auto and fire insurance? On apartment rents? What is "odd" is having to pay sales tax right now, with already income-taxed dollars, to the government for the privilege of buying clothing, toothpaste, aspirin, soap, ad infinitum. We need sales tax exemptions -- for clothing, just for starters -- not ridiculous increases like sales tax on lawyers' fees. Only adherents of Karl Marx would think it normal to illogically charge sales tax for professional fees.

Charles K. Sergis

Calabasas

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In reading "Indian Casinos on a Roll" (Nov. 22), that Indian casinos in California are poised to give Nevada a run for its money, my heart bleeds for Nevada, although, unfortunately, it is only a very small dent and not really a concern for that state -- unless California finally wakes up and legalizes gambling statewide. Your article further points out that Californians account for 35% of Nevada's revenue.

Gov. Davis has warned that our 2003-04 budget shortfall will soar beyond the staggering $21.1 billion projected earlier this month, which will undoubtedly result in service cutbacks and, despite denials, higher taxes of one sort or another.

So why do our governor, legislators and influential citizens not urgently call for a referendum or other means to legalize gambling in California to partially offset our serious budget deficits, as well as alleviate our unemployment? Other states have legalized gambling, why not California?

Fred Newman

Marina del Rey

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