Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Mention “tax reform” to a liberal Democrat, and the talk immediately turns to raising more revenues. Mention it to a conservative Republican, and he or she sees it as a way to cut taxes.

Real tax reform, however, is not about increasing or reducing revenues, but about making taxation fairer, simpler, more stable and more aligned with economic reality. And by that standard California is in sore need of real reform.

A few years ago, a blue-ribbon commission appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature tackled tax reform – especially the corrosive volatility of state revenues – and after much internal angst proposed an overhaul of sales and income taxes. Its report was promptly relegated to the circular file.

If anything, the need for reform has increased since.

While Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democrats are relishing the sales and income tax revenues produced by Proposition 30, it will have the counterproductive effect of making the state even more dangerously dependent on how well a handful of wealthy people are doing in their investments – increasing the volatility that the tax commission was trying to decrease.

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