Monday, January 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California’s high taxes bring minimal benefits

walters column sig

By
From page A11 | February 27, 2013 |

One of the annoying anomalies about government services in California is that while we carry one of the nation’s highest state and local tax burdens – over 10 percent of personal income – we consistently rank very low in what those many billions of tax dollars provide.

That disconnect is very evident in public education, the single biggest consumer of tax dollars as well as the most popular thing that governments support.

Despite our high taxes, California consistently ranks in the lower quadrant of per-pupil spending, and much of that money has been diverted into an almost impenetrable thicket of specialized pots.

Meanwhile, the outcomes, as measured by academic tests and high school graduation rates, range from poor to mediocre.

Gov. Jerry Brown says we’d get more bang for our school bucks by eliminating most of those special pots and simplifying how money is distributed, with more going to districts with large numbers of poor or “English learner” students.

Whether that happens, and whether it would improve outcomes, are still very much unknown.

If schools are the most obvious of California’s public services, highways are a close second. There, too, there seems to be a disconnect between what taxpayers are paying and what’s happening where the rubber meets the road.

A new statistical compilation by retired University of North Carolina professor David Hartgen for the Reason Foundation finds that while California ranks very high, vis-à-vis other states, in per-mile spending on state highways, it consistently ranks at or near the bottom in official measures of pavement condition, congestion and other indices. It ranks dead last in improving seven measures of highway adequacy between 1989 and 2008.

Meanwhile, state transportation officials plan to spend $5.6 million on a party for opening a new Bay Bridge section – but what’s to celebrate? The project took 24 years and cost several times the original estimate.

We spend more on inmate health care, proportionately, than Texas spends on its entire prison system – yet California is under federal court supervision.

Finally, there’s the string of failed projects to incorporate technology into public services.

Scarcely a month passes without some new and very expensive debacle in implementing technology projects, inevitably leading to cancellation of contracts and recriminations – and sometimes lawsuits – pitting state officials against the hardware and software vendors they chose.

It’s downright embarrassing – or should be – that the world capital of technological innovation finds it so difficult to employ the devices and programs that its technical whizzes peddle to the rest of the world.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has so much been spent to achieve so little.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him at dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • RichFebruary 22, 2013 - 4:42 pm

    California's people voted for more of the same. Texas and South Carolina laugh at you as we get your jobs, income, tax revenue, business, industries and 2 parent families. In return we will give you all of our illegal aliens and welfare underclass morons and moochers. I think its a great deal --for us, but alas not for you. There was an article in Charleston's newspaper yesterday about an illegal alien seeking admission and financial aid at the local junior college. Charlestonians weighed in on the issue and the universal consensus was ''California is that-a-way, adios Amigo!"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PatriotFebruary 27, 2013 - 5:52 am

    Yeah, California will take all of the illegal aliens and others that want to obtain the best in social welfare benefits in the nation..Businesses will leave and then they will eliminate the middle class..Hollyweird can fund this all then since they are so supported by Obama..

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PSFebruary 27, 2013 - 6:05 am

    Couldn't agree more to both of you, the sad part is why don't more Californians wake up to the reality of the situation. The more we increase taxes and drive up social welfare the closer we are to socialism. What the hell did we fight WWII for, if we are allowing the stupid Obamanites, Reed's, Poliosi's, Gov Brown, state legislature to continue this tax and spend game to hide their socialist policies.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Teen finds entrepreneurial path at young age

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Time for Relay for Life kickoff event

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Suisun Senior Center offers monthly dance

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Wedding Faire offers one-stop browsing for couples

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Crab feed tradition continues this week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local government agencies post meeting times

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Fairfield schedules workshop on downtown plan

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
.

US / World

 
Millions of GMO insects could be released in Florida Keys

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US gas prices fell 13 cents per gallon, but expected to rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
2 Marines identified in deadly California helicopter crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Santa Ana winds knock out power to thousands in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Boy shot by Los Angeles deputies treated for graze wound

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama to seek wilderness designation for Alaska refuge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ukraine: Phone calls prove rebels attacked city, killed 30

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Zambia: Edgar Lungu sworn in as new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Greek radical left wins election, threatening market turmoil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Potentially historic’ storm headed for Northeast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Balloon crew launches in bid to break 2 major records

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Obama: Counterterrorism operations in Yemen not affected

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Zoo offers creepy way for lovelorn to get even with exes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

Democracy or republic?

By Earl Heal | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 26, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Do elected officials get it?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Jan. 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Jan. 26, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscope Jan. 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
My sister is jobless and homeless and I’m not sure how to help

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscope Jan. 26, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Miss Colombia crowned Miss Universe in Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

‘Birdman’ tops SAG Awards, Redmayne upsets Keaton

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Complete list of winners at 21st annual SAG Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Curry leads Warriors to 19th straight home win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Serena Williams to meet Cibulkova in Aussie Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Watt gets 2 turnovers, dances in friendly Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Tavares scores 4, Team Toews outscores Team Foligno, 17-12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Chip Ganassi Racing’s ‘star car’ wins Rolex 24 at Daytona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Patriots’ Browner gets a 2nd chance at a Super Bowl ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Family attorney: Cubs great Ernie Banks died of heart attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bill Haas pulls away to win Humana Challenge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jeff Gordon to be Fox guest analyst during XFINITY season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sherman doubts any punishment ahead for Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: Browns WR Josh Gordon fails another drug test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Coach K gets 1,000th win as No. 5 Duke tops St. John’s 77-68

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Quinn has led Seattle to record-setting defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Thomas Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Don Johnson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 7 Comments

.

Comics

Sally Forth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C. Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Word Sleuth Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7