George Will is wrong, #427:
In a slam at California, Will writes
about the state's current fiscal woes:
Liberal orthodoxy has made the state dependent on a volatile source of revenue -- high income tax rates on the wealthy. In 2006, the top 1 percent of earners paid 48 percent of the income taxes. California's income and sales taxes are among the nation's highest ...
It was the conservative-advocated Proposition 13 of 1978 that severely reduced taxes on property (which is a wealth tax, much less subject to economic rhythms). That's what has put California in the situation where its taxation is pro-cyclical, meaning that when times are bad, the state suffers just as much if not more so.
The sharp reduction in property taxes was not something "liberal orthodoxy" ever supported. George Will is wrong.
UPDATE: From the comment thread
Will is flat out lying, and he knows it. He says "Liberal orthodoxy has made the state dependent on a volatile source of revenue -- high income tax rates on the wealthy." California's real problem is Proposition 13, which has for three decades produced artificially low property tax rates. Proposition 13 -- championed by conservatives -- is why the state is dependent on more volatile income taxes. Will doesn't even mention Prop 13, which makes this whole column, like every other column he has written on the subject, utter garbage.
5/3/2009 1:11:21 AM
What do high property tax rates do to poor people in gentrifying neighborhoods?
In California, poor people aren't affected by what goes on in a gentrifying neighborhood, as Prop. 13 only allows for a 2%/year increase in taxes, regardless of what happens to other properties nearby.
The only time the property tax would go up significantly is if the property is sold, at which time it be calculated on the basis of the new sales price.