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September 11, 2009

CA Parsky Comm. Shocker - Exxon Director Proposes Offshore Drilling!

-- by Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson, Speak Out California

The Commission on the 21st Century Economy, known as the "Parsky Commission" and COTCE is supposed to be figuring out how to reform the state's tax structure. Back when the commission was announced Brian at Calitics wrote that he was hopeful that the Republican domination of the commission would lead to some solutions that were both sensible and that Republicans could vote for.  In Gerald Parsky, Bush acolyte, to head tax commission he wrote,

For some background, Parsky is the former chair of George W. Bush's California campaigns in 2000 and 2004.

[. . .] As a Republican with a strong background supporting Bush and McCain, Parsky will presumably have a better shot at convincing some of the Republican legislators of the importance of some of these reforms. He's raised millions of dollars for Republican candidates, so if money counts, and it does, he should have the ear of the GOP legislators. In many ways we need a prominent Republican voice on this commission, the Republicans need cover from a big-time money guy who has a track record on the GOP private sector trickle-down mumbo jumbo.


But no, instead the commission has floated one proposal after another designed to shift taxes from the wealthy and corporations to the rest of us.  There is the flat tax, for example, which lowers taxes at the top and pays for it by raising taxes on the rest of us.  There is the idea to get rid of taxes on corporations. Etc., Etc. The sensible idea of a pollution tax has been sidelined.

In Trying to Hide More Tax Breaks for the Wealthy, Hannah-Beth Jackson writes,

In that spirit, what is the first thing Parsky recommends? As the first order of business, he proposes a flat tax which will blow another $14 Billion hole in the state's already reeling general fund. But given his decision that one of the criteria of this commission is "revenue neutrality," ... somebody or something must pick up the slack. So in the tradition of the Bush tax cuts, where virtually all the benefits went to the wealthiest 1% of
Americans, Mr. Parsky would have the rest of us paying more.

Then, yesterday, out of the blue, a different idea was introduced: expand offshore oil drilling. This idea came from (surprise of surprises) Michael Boskin, who is on the Board of Exxon!

Calbuzz has been following this. From Slimy Parsky Oil Play and a Yorba Linda Lecher

The recommendation came as a shock, not only because the offshore issue was only casually discussed during the commission's months of hearings, but also because it deepened the atmosphere of secrecy and sleight-of-hand in which Parsky assembled the agenda for the panel's
final, crucial meeting. ...

The proposal for more offshore drilling seems to have worked its way onto the commission's plate at least in part at the request of conservative Hoover Institution economist Michael Boskin, who also sits on the board of Exxon Mobil.

So here we go again. Another last-minute, shock-doctrine attack, this time on the environment, this time enriching oil companies.  note that the idea does not include asking the oil companies topay for the oil they take from us and sell back to us.  Calbuzz,

The recommendation, sure to draw the ire of environmentalists and coastal legislators, pointedly does not suggest imposing a new severance tax on oil companies. California is the only oil-producing state that does not have such a tax, which is being pushed in the legislature by several members of the Assembly, including Assemblymen Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, and Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont.

BTW: There's no frigging way the agenda and agenda packet was ready early enough for the public to have legal notice. Not that Parsky seems to give a rat's butt.


Brian at Calitics in yesterday's Parsky adds Oil Drilling to His Recommendation, writes,
How oil drilling got into a so-called tax commission shouldn't be a
surprise when there was a faux transparency. The website laid out a slew of emails and written conversations, but apparently Parsky and his cronies were working on something else entirely.

This is not the process that gets to determine whether we will set up oil rigs off of the entirety of our coast line. That is an entirely seperate conversation, and frankly Mr. Parsky, I don't care one iota what you think about that.  Not that I really much cared about what you thought about our revenue system either at this point, but this was not your assigned task and frankly none of your business.

It's nice to see that ExxonMobil has its dirty hooves in just about political conversation where it can possibly make a buck. But if ever anybody thought that the Parsky Plan had any credibility as any sort of unbiased scheme, well, that can just about be written off right about now.


Even though this is health care week we need people to make some noise about this. Hannah-Beth writes,
The way Mr. Parsky is running the show, his welfare for the wealthy and questionable corporate giveaways are all he wants to consider. He thinks he is running out the clock with his wealthy cronies way ahead, but we can let him know that feathering the beds of the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the neediest of us is so not going to happen.

To help let them know this isn't where we want the state to go, please send your comments to the public comment section of the COTCE website at comment@cotce.ca.gov and ask that your comments be posted.

Tell them NO to reducing the personal income tax on the wealthy and NO to their hide-the-ball efforts to push through a proposal without the necessary public debate. These issues are too important to the future of our state to be handled so secretively and so obviously in favor of the rich at the expense of the rest of the people of California.

Also, send a quick email to our legislative leaders Darryl Steinberg at Senator.Steinberg@senate.ca.gov  and Karen Bass at speaker.bass@assembly.ca.gov  will help put pressure on the Commission to back off these outrageous approaches to our state's difficult tax situation and force greater transparency in what they're doing.

Click through to Speak Out California

Posted by Dave Johnson at September 11, 2009 3:02 PM


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