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Unread 02.14.08, 07:18 AM
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Nez open to raising revenue

Nez open to raising revenue
The speaker says he could support 'fair compromise' of tax increases, spending cuts.

By Jim Sanders - jsanders@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nez said Tuesday that he could support raising revenue including selective taxes on the wealthy to help bridge the state's projected $14.5 billion shortfall.

Nez said that a "fair compromise" would be to solve half of the money crisis with revenue increases and the other half with spending cuts.

The Los Angeles Democrat, speaking at a lunch meeting of the Sacramento Press Club, said he could support the 50-50 approach used by Gov. Pete Wilson when faced with a similar budget crisis in the early 1990s.

"I think that's a fair compromise," Nez said. "I think it's a conservative compromise, but a fair compromise nonetheless."
Republicans adamantly have opposed raising any type of taxes, contending the state has a spending problem not a revenue problem.

Nez also disclosed Tuesday that he will have to undergo laser surgery this year to remove a nodule in his vocal cord.
"If this thing bursts, I'm going to have permanent damage to my vocal cord, so I've got to be very careful not to extend or overuse my voice," he said.

Once the nodule is removed, Nez said he will not be able to speak for three weeks while recovering. The outgoing Assembly leader said he plans to undergo the surgery either after adoption of a state budget or after the legislative session, which ends Aug. 31.

Nez's budget comments Tuesday came at a time when lawmakers are scrambling to craft a plan to mend holes in this year's budget. Legislative committees are expected to unveil a strategy this week. Nez conceded that no agreement has been reached with Republicans.

If necessary to pay the state's bills, he said, Democrats would consider adopting a mid-year plan with a simple majority vote, thus sidestepping the GOP.

"I think the ideological differences that we may or may not have in the (Capitol) come second to the immediate responsibility that we have to resolve California's cash-flow issue," he said.
Next fiscal year is when the bulk of the state's deficit is projected.
Asked how to generate new revenue, Nez mentioned the possibility of taxing oil companies for drilling, closing a tax loophole on yacht purchases, increasing taxes on million-dollar vacation homes, and possibly creating a split tax roll that generates more revenue from businesses.

Nez also resurrected the notion of leasing or selling the state lottery to a private investor. He said he opposes an across-the-board tax hike.

"Facing a recession as we are, the last thing you want to do is go to working-class people and middle-class people and raise their taxes," he said.
Northern California local news and information from The Sacramento Bee - sacbee.com
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Last edited by Steve Boren; 02.14.08 at 07:26 AM. Reason: 'fair compromise' says Nez
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Unread 02.14.08, 07:22 AM
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They spent all our money and want more. Where have I heard that before? I wonder, oh yes SOSDD. I think we need a State enema.
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