California's Democratic leaders were planning a vote today on a brazen proposal to raise gas, sales and income taxes through a series of legal maneuvers that would bypass the Legislature's minority Republicans.You will see similar fights in almost every state legislature, as the slowing economy reduces revenues, leading to budget crises.
The Democratic gambit, announced Wednesday, would raise $9.3 billion to ease the state's fiscal crisis by increasing sales taxes by three-fourths of a cent and gas taxes by 13 cents a gallon, starting in February. The plan would add a surcharge of 2.5% to
everyone's 2009 state income tax bill. . . .
Both the Assembly and Senate planned to vote on the package today. Late Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers were negotiating with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over items he wanted included in the proposal before he would support it.
Inside the Capitol, the strategy is considered revolutionary, because it would sideline the GOP. Though Republicans are a minority in both houses of the Legislature, they have repeatedly blocked tax increases and thwarted budgets they did not like, because California is one of only three states mandating a two-thirds vote for both budgets and tax increases.
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