The Democrats' West Coast bastion could see a November showdown between voters and a self-serving public sector. Don't be so sure the government side will win.
California is no one's idea of a "battleground state" in presidential voting, but there's another battle brewing here that has national implications even if it's not directly about the presidency. This is the potential showdown over tax hikes and something more — the public-sector political machine sustained by them.
Last week's victories for pension reform in two big California cities, San Jose and San Diego, might be just a harbinger of a bigger, statewide taxpayer rebellion in November. The stars seem to be aligning for just such an event.
Gov. Jerry Brown is bringing an initiative to the ballot that would raise state income taxes to the highest rates in the nation for seven years and add a quarter-cent sales tax for four. He is also forging ahead with a high-speed rail project that can only be called delusional. His job approval ratings are slipping, and voters detest the Democrat-run legislature.
Republicans aren't loved either, but the issue here isn't party. It's money — and how much of it the people of California want to give to a government they don't trust.
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