A tale of two states

New Jersey and California were stuck in the Pit of Liberal Fiscal Insanity. Then New Jersey started to climb out, thanks to a Conservative governor. California? Well their governor is Jerry Brown, and California is not climbing, they are, digging!

New Jersey and California both adopted state budgets yesterday. I listened in on Chris Christie’s press conference and had to laugh as he excoriated the Democrats in our state legislature for relying on “fantasy revenue found between the couch cushions.” Christie said, “I looked, it isn’t there.”

No kidding.

Then he aggressively used his line-item veto power to slash almost a billion dollars from their spending plan before signing it. And he vetoed two supplementary bills, one resurrecting the job-killing “millionaire’s tax,” and another which fed money into various slush funds for use by urban mayors (these funds are kind of a New Jersey tradition, it’s about time somebody had the guts to kill them off).

My favorite quote?

“We are not increasing taxes on the most overtaxed people in the country.”

Meanwhile, CA Governor Moonbeam Jerry Brown didn’t get the No New Taxes memo. He’s busy turning the Golden State into Zimbabwe, U.S.A. The budget bill he signed yesterday had an immediate effect on California’s economy and jobs climate.

An immediate, decidedly negative effect: 25,000 Amazon.com affiliates in California woke up to the unemployment line this morning. Why? Internet sales taxes. Jerry Brown imposed them. And Amazon.com said “kiss my ass.”

In California the public employee unions run the government. And their appetite for tax dollars is voracious and insatiable. Jerry Brown expects his new Internet tax to raise $200 million a year. Hah! In actuality it will result in a net revenue loss:

For the benefit of anyone too stupid to understand why the California Internet tax is a bad idea: All the revenue from sales commissions to California’s 25,000 Web site operators who had participated in the Amazon Associates program was taxable as income.

Now? Zero income. And also zero sales.

Ergo, nothing to tax.

Meanwhile in New Jersey, Chris Christie tamed the unions and cut taxes. So we can breathe a sigh of relief.

Just imagine how great California could be, with some common sense leadership. Or just take a look at this story from Wisconsin

“This is a disaster,” said Mark Miller, the Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader, in February after Republican Gov. Scott Walker proposed a budget bill that would curtail the collective bargaining powers of some public employees. Miller predicted catastrophe if the bill were to become law — a charge repeated thousands of times by his fellow Democrats, union officials, and protesters in the streets.

Now the bill is law, and we have some very early evidence of how it is working. And for one beleaguered Wisconsin school district, it’s a godsend, not a disaster.

The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it’s all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.

In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now, they’ll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and also contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.

See, just use some common sense

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