Re "Gov. Warns of 'Armageddon Cuts,' " Jan. 21: What a neat trick -- by dumping budget decisions in the laps of voters, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has absolved himself of any responsibility for fixing California's deficit. Should voters reject Propositions 57 and 58, the doomsday scenario he paints would be our fault, not his. Such a passive-aggressive tack seems strange from a man so attentive to his image of "take charge" hypermasculinity. Then again, Republicans have long trafficked in hysteria -- fear of communism, crime, homosexuality, etc. -- to justify their platforms.
Of course, there need be nothing inevitable about "Armageddon cuts" should the propositions fail. The governor's rhetorical sleight of hand clouds the fact that he has other tools at his disposal, selective tax increases the most obvious. If Schwarzenegger wants to show us his backbone, he should do what he was elected to do -- work with the Legislature toward a solution to our fiscal problems, with all options on the table, rather than plying the electorate with scare tactics to get what he wants.
Re "Surcharge Not Too Taxing for Wealthy," Jan. 21: Once again, Steve Lopez has given us a great column filled with insight and solutions. The proposal from Paul O'Lague and John Bachar to tax the wealthiest in California is the answer. Why don't Schwarzenegger and the legislators look at other alternatives in solving our fiscal crisis instead of pushing Propositions 57 and 58? We need creative thinking and new solutions, right Arnold? Then, for God's sake, just do it!
Has anyone figured out how many millions -- or even a billion dollars? -- California residents have been adding to the federal coffers since the additional car tax has been repealed? Not only are Californians not helping to pay off state debts, but we are sending extra hard-earned money to Washington. What other kinds of revenue-gathering gimmicks will be initiated in place of the higher car tax? They will most certainly not be tax deductible.
California voters had better turn their attention from national politics to the state balloting in just a few weeks, which features Proposition 56, a disastrous fraud on taxpayers with the deliberately false title, Budget Accountability Act. This is the latest sneak attack by our irresponsible left-wing Legislature to destroy the Proposition 13 safety net. It gives this gang of looters the power to tax at will, reducing their voting requirement for tax increases to only 55%, which they easily have.
To add insult to highway robbery, the "accountability" they offer is having to remain in session until the annual budget is passed. Wow, what a hardship, with the fancy per diem and outrageous expense money they pay themselves! This group learned nothing from the recall. Why isn't Gov. Schwarzenegger shouting down Proposition 56? Never mind the rotten business climate; he'll have no taxpayers -- businesses, homeowners or renters -- left in this state when Proposition 13 is dismantled.
Charles K. Sergis