The Legislature recently passed a $794 million tax increase that jumps to $1.8 billion next biennium. I stood with my Republican colleagues and a few Democrats in opposing the tax increase. Earlier in the session, the Democrat majority gutted the voter-approved Initiative 960 that required a 2/3 vote to increase taxes. After holding tax increases at bay for more than a year, the majority party was finally able to pass the tax packagae after supplanting of the will of the people.
Unfortunately, the Legislature didn't need to go down this road. My colleagues and I warned the other party that their spending levels were unsustainable, but they refused to listen. Over the previous five years, state spending increased by 33% while the economy was growing. Even then, state spending was growing at 2.5 times the growth in revenue. We knew this was a problem and introduced more than 50 proposals to keep government spending in check. But they refused to listen and now we're all paying the price.
As we look at 2011 and beyond, the Legislature again faces a revenue shortfall that will prompt the majority party to look at more taxes. I will continue to stand with my colleagues in opposing these taxes, and advocate for reform to control the size of government so that our economy can rebound and put people back to work.