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Statistics and taxes

September 15, 2008

Re "Overtaxed? Check numbers," Column, Sept. 11

George Skelton's column on taxation in California accurately quoted me as having said California must "avoid tax increases because we already are among the highest-tax states in the country."

Most of the rest of his column laid forth arguments as to why Californians may be merely severely overtaxed and not catastrophically overtaxed -- small comfort to the California families struggling to make ends meet in a time of economic slowdown and skyrocketing energy prices. They can't reach into Sacramento's pockets to make up for their financial shortfalls, yet Sacramento feels free to reach into theirs.

It is a common falsehood, which I read as implied in Skelton's column, that we Republicans are opposed to taxes per se and would dismantle all operations of government. To the contrary! Our desire is to see government restrict itself to the fulfillment of its purpose as set forth in the Declaration of Independence: to secure certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Chuck DeVore

California State

Assemblyman, 70th District


It was interesting to read the statistics Skelton quotes in his attempt to show California is not a high-tax, big-spending state.

He claims that our sixth-ranked state tax burden would appear lower if we factored in our higher incomes, while neglecting to assume a higher cost of living. Then he implies that a higher cost of living is why our state employees need to be near the top of national pay scales.

My favorite stat is the one Skelton uses to dismiss (or, perhaps, cement?) Sacramento's big-spending reputation. He writes that, in the last five years, general fund spending has gone up by 33%, yet inflation and population growth would only justify a 24% increase.

Combine these numbers with a $15-billion budget deficit, and I believe you have a fair definition of a high-tax, big-spending state.

Garv Thorp

Manhattan Beach

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