California Voters: Do What You Want As Long As We Don't Pay

The headline from a new poll from USC and the LA Times is the strong voter support for the compromise tax-hike ballot initiative from Gov. Brown and the California Federation of Teachers.

But what's important about the poll is what it tells you about California voters: they're still big babies.

Too harsh? Like my three year old, California voters want whatever they want, but they don't want to pay for it.

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The poll shows that support is strongest for tax-hike initiatives that don't require most people to pay anything.

A June tax initiative on cigarettes is highly popular.

So is the Brown compromise measure, since most of the money in it comes from increased income tax rates on the rich.

Indeed, the original initiative from the California Federation of Teachers -- dropped in the compromise with Brown -- is even more popular than the compromise, because it included no sales tax increase (the compromise has a temporary 1/4 cent hike) and because its income tax increases were limited to millionaires (the compromise measure has increases that start at $250,000).

Molly Munger's tax-hike initiative raises the income taxes of everyone, and it's doing very poorly in the poll.

"Shared sacrifice" is not an argument you want to use with California voters. They think they're already paying enough.

And they want more.

Which tells you that, for all the failures of elected officials in California, the voters -- and the mismatch between the government services they want and the taxes they're willing to pay -- are the problem.

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