COMMENTARY Calif. budget crisis who should pay the bill?

WHITTIER, Calif. — California’s state budget is still being debated with continued threats of cuts and services to the most needed in our state.

Here in California we all continue to be on pins and needles not knowing what the end result will be and who will be left without a job and or services. People with disabilities, children and the elderly continue to be threatened with cuts and some cuts have begun to occur. My own brother's Saturday transportation service has been eliminated and I will have to find an alternative way to get him to his Saturday activities — this may seem like a luxury to most, but it is of vital importance to him and his state of mind to keep active on a daily basis. It allows him to keep active and live with me and avoid going to a nursing home, which in the long run will cost the state more money.

State Assemblymember Tony Mendoza has released the results of a survey he took among his constituents, of which I am one, related to the state budget crisis. He thanks us all for sharing our thoughts and providing feedback on how to solve the crisis.

'As a part of my open discussion on budget solutions and operations,” he writes, “I want to share with you results of my recent district survey.'

Below are some of his findings:

“Of particular interest was the response on methods to raise new revenues. A tax on pornography was the clear leader of the responses, followed by an increase to the tobacco tax.

“It is clear to me that education remains an area we need to continue to protect from cuts, while 45.9% are clearly concerned about jobs and the economy. A plurality of responses would like to see cuts to the prison system and at the same time, would like to have prisoners with no legal status deported to their country.

“The survey also netted a three-way tie wanting to sell surplus state property, raise taxes on those earning over $500,000 annually and legalize and tax marijuana as a means to increase revenues.”

“This information is essential to the debates I participate in and helps to bring the concerns of the 56th Assembly District to the table,” writes state Assemblyman Mendoza.

Although I don’t disagree with taxing pornography or a tobacco tax, I believe that the wealthy are still not sharing in this load as evidenced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s and his fellow Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes on them. California is the only oil-producing state that doesn’t tax oil extracted within its borders.