The Governator on taxes in 2003

Unfortunately, this YouTube video has its embed code disabled, so you’ll have to click the link to recall when Arnold Schwarzenegger was still a Republican.  He appeared at Galpin Ford in November 2003 to announce that he had repealed the car tax increase as his first action as Governator.  The state legislature had jacked up the tax by more than double its previous level, and Schwarzenegger had promised to eliminate the increase when he ran in the recall election.

Why?  Let’s let Arnold explain it:

I despised that increase in the car tax.  I think it was not fair because of the mistakes of the politicians are making up in Sacramento.  When they start spending, spending, and spending, and all of a sudden they run out of money, and then what do they do?  They go after you; they want to punish you.  They say ‘we have to increase the car tax’ — increase the car tax by 200%.  It’s unfair to do that.  …

The car dealers, like this dealership here, car dealerships all over this state have lost sales.  Their sales dropped by 33%.  Some car dealerships even talked about their sales dropping by 50%.  Now is that good for the economy when they have to lay off people?  When they have to close down dealerships and all that?  It’s not good for the economy.

What we want to do is the opposite.  We want to stimulate the economy.  We want to make California again the competitive, powerful, job-creating machine it once was.

Why bring this up now, more than five years later?  The car-tax increase has returned, along with a lot of new taxes and borrowing, in Schwarzenegger’s compromise budget bill.  It contains over $12 billion in new taxes, over $11 billion in new borrowing, with $15 billion in cuts to the budget that, depending on how one calculates the annual spending in California, exceeds either $105 billion (the Governor’s number) or $145 billion (analyst estimates) already.

Doesn’t that sound like out-of-control politicians spending, spending, and spending — and then punishing Californians for their excesses?  Nothing has changed except the dates.  Arnold had it right in 2003, but five years marinating in the nanny-state capital has apparently caused political amnesia.

Maybe someone can replay his remarks at Galpin Ford and remind him what the real problem in California is, and what tax hikes actually do.