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    Gavin Newsom gaslights Californians as he jockeys for the White House
    • July 5, 2024

    In politics, gaslighting means brazenly denying what people can see with their own eyes, and then refusing to admit the lie even when caught at it. Gov. Newsom, in his State of the State address, demonstrated that he has elevated gaslighting to an art form.

    There were so many misrepresentations in his pre-recorded video speech that they were challenging to count.

    The gaslighting started right out of the box in the opening sentence, quoting California Gov. Culbert Olson from 1939 as the world was about to be plunged into the Second World War. Olson warned that California’s great task was to confront “the destruction of democracy.” Newsom warned, “the economic prosperity, health, safety and freedom that we enjoy are under assault.”

    Who are you going to believe, him or your lying eyes?

    Newsom said little or nothing about California’s electricity rates, insurance crisis or the gas tax going up again on July 1st. Instead, he railed that “Republicans in Congress have chosen cynicism, partisan politics and the dangerous path of chaos instead of doing their job.”

    Apparently, he thinks “their job” is to ignore the wishes of the people who elected them and follow California off the cliff to the highest poverty rate in America when the cost of living is considered.

    Newsom’s gaslighting about “democracy” is rich considering that he just led the effort to convince the California Supreme Court to remove the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, a qualified initiative, from the November ballot. The court was persuaded by the governor and the state’s legislative leaders to deprive California voters of the right to vote on an initiative put on the ballot by the signatures of over 1.4 million voters.

    Nothing says “protecting democracy” quite like canceling an election.

    Newsom’s next big whopper was “California is not a high-tax state. You pay a higher percentage in taxes if you’re poor in Texas than you do if you’re wealthy in California.”

    If you spit out your coffee at Newsom’s cheerful assertion that “California is not a high-tax state,” you’re probably not alone. No other state comes close to California’s 13.3% top marginal income tax rate (14.4% when an extra payroll tax is included). Add to that the highest state sales tax rate in America at 7.25% even before all the local additional levies. In many cities, the combined sales tax rate is well above 10% with more tax-hike proposals in the works.

    And, of course, we have the highest gas tax, not to mention the highest gas prices in the nation due to hidden taxes from regulatory burdens. And even with Proposition 13 limiting increases in property taxes, we rank 19th out of 50 states in per capita property tax collections. California is, by any definition, a very high-tax state.

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    So how does Gov. Newsom respond to the truth in front of his eyes? How does he gaslight Californians with the claim that the poor in Texas pay higher taxes than the wealthy in California?

    Newsom’s figures come from a study of state taxes by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. ITEP’s 7th edition of “Who Pays?” factors in “the portion of residential real estate taxes passed through to tenants.”

    In other words, people in other states who don’t have Prop. 13 pay higher property taxes, directly or indirectly. Does Newsom credit Prop. 13? Of course not. He fights to take taxpayer protection measures off the ballot.

    Whether addressing California’s tax burden, crime, homelessness, unemployment or the business climate, Newsom tells us to ignore our lying eyes. He’s right at home speaking on behalf of President Joe Biden, who assures us that the border is secure, and inflation is under control.

    The last bit of gaslighting from Newsom is a bit more nuanced. While supposedly meeting his responsibilities as governor of California, he gave a speech criticizing “red states” and the people they elect. He has one foot out the door, flying to Atlanta to attend the presidential debate as Biden’s “surrogate.” He appears to be posturing to be the lead replacement in case, for whatever reason, Biden steps down.

    We’ll see. Smearing half the country as enemies of democracy is an unproven strategy in a national election.

    Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

    ​ Orange County Register 

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