California’s Forgotten

Modesto, Calif., (May 30, 2017) – Who speaks for the “Forgotten?” The woman who is constantly told to fork over more of her money for road repairs? For government employee health and pension programs? For electric cars or solar roof projects? The “Forgotten” who works to maintain a safe and healthy household for their children, but is constantly losing the battle to make ends meet?

New laws, regulations, and the endless stream of initiatives continue to drive up how much California residents need to pay to the state, their county, and even their local politicians.

No one seems to care about standing up and defending the individuals hurt the most by these cost increases. Especially none of the so called representatives even after their pandering and begging for votes on SB1 (one of the highest gas tax increases in history).

A few weeks ago, the California State Legislature passed a sweeping 20 cent gasoline tax increase, a 4% increase on diesel sales tax, and a new car registration fee with a maximum fee being $175 more per car, per year. This tax is called a regressive tax, where individuals with modest means are hit the hardest, because a higher percentage of their income pays more for this tax than that of the rich.

Now, as an example, add that new gas and diesel tax and car registration fee to the “Forgotten” in Compton.

In Compton, the median household income is $43,157 and the city ranks in the bottom 20% of cities in Los Angeles County in this category.

November 2016: The County of Los Angeles passed Measure M (0.5% sales tax increase), wherein 17% of revenue generated countywide will go back to cities to repair local infrastructure, pot holes, and street maintenance (called “local return”).

March 2017: The County of Los Angeles passed Measure H (Homeless issue), which put an extra 0.25% increase on sales tax throughout the county.

June 2017: The City of Compton passed a local measure to increase the sales tax by 1%, which was primarily touted as a fund to “pay for repaving city streets and establishing a street maintenance fund.”(A lawsuit has been filed contesting the election result)

The Counties of San Bernardino, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma and Solano are all in the same boat of exaggerated above average tax circumstances for their forgotten classes of working families.

On top of all those new taxes and fees, a set of our own local politicians are currently debating a program in Sacramento that would once again raise gas prices an additional 63-73 cents per gallon of gasoline by 2021.

This type of paycheck hurt is being felt by millions of residents with above average tax rates, and below average median household income. In short, Sacramento is taxing the poor.

Closer to home, it is hard to understand why those Assembly members who represent the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, El Monte, Inglewood, Lynwood, South El Monte, and South Gate participate in active discrimination with every vote they cast as they constantly push for higher fees, more gasoline taxes and constantly squeezing the pocketbooks of working families and the low-wage workers they are pretend to represent and protect.

If they have sold out, who is left to stand up and defend the “Forgotten?” Who will speak up for those on fixed incomes, single mothers, college students, the retired and elderly, and working families with modest incomes who battle daily to make ends meet?

When looking at this sorry state of affairs, I can’t help but think of the words of William Graham Sumner in his 1876 essay:

“The Forgotten Man” He works, he votes, generally he prays—but he always pays…

by Anja Raudabaugh, CEO WUD

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