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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Why Ballot Based Taxation Is A Bad Idea

For those of you who are chomping at the bit to pass city only version of the failed Proposition A to hike sales taxes with the alleged purpose of increasing police protection, you might want to consider the fate of Rob Reiner's Proposition 10, as reported in today's Daily News.
Six years after passage of the 50 cent a pack cigarette tax destined to provide early childhood education, not one dime of millions raised and paid by smokers has gone to benefit one child. Chief to the mess is the meddling of our favorite County Board of Supes.

The First 5 Los Angeles commission and its preschool program -- touted as critical to giving tens of thousands of the poor, immigrant and minority 4-year-olds a jump-start toward a good education -- has foundered over poor planning, political infighting and conflicts of interest.
Though a big liberal, Reiner knew that the program could be better managed by a non-profit organization with a board of business and educational experts.
The resignations follow a brouhaha last summer when the Board of Supervisors and Reiner engaged in weeks of infighting over who would serve on the board. The supervisors sought greater control over the program while Reiner worked to limit county interference. Efforts to reach Reiner directly for comment were unsuccessful. A spokesperson said he was busy working on a new film and unavailable.
Several community leaders including Mayor Riordan's wife Nancy Daly (who co-authored the original plan with Huggysberg) have resigned from the program's board of directors over their frustration over the lack of progress and interference from the county.

So you see - these feel good taxation plans are rarely succesful. If government could just tighten its belt and pursue some pro-business policies, we would have the resources to make these type of programs happen.


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