The Republican tax cut cult, as Arianna so aptly calls it in her new book, has achieved its zenith in California. Here, if you must have a yacht or private jet, you can have it tax-free. All you have to do is keep it out of the state for ninety days from the time of purchase and you pay no sales or use tax. But if you need a car you're taxed on it, no matter where you buy it. And last I checked, more working people need cars than yachts. As one of only three states in the union that mandates a two-thirds legislative majority to pass a budget (a key element of the right wing success in choking government), California's Republican Party can and does annually hold the budget hostage in return for subsidies for the rich.
This week, Governor Schwarzenegger will be forced to guess at the size of the budget deficit mountain. His team has suggested that it may become a new peak in the Alps, jutting up somewhere between $10 and $20 billion. I did not go to school in Austria like Arnold, but by my math that's a 100% difference, a pretty big guess even for him. And this year, unlike years past, if the legislature cannot come up with a budget by the end of the summer, our state will be broke.
Even in the face of that, the governor's Republican Party stands firm behind a loophole that costs at least $26 million a year. That's why the Courage Campaign, with funding from the California Nurses Association, created Yacht Party 2. You'll see the whole story in sixty seconds.
It's the essence of the Republican Party story in 2008: cut education, healthcare, housing, everything you can, but secure the lifestyles of those wealthiest among us. John McCain has nine houses, but no plan for Americans to keep or buy even one. While Mr. McCain has not spoken out about the yacht subsidies for the richest Californians, we have to believe he'd welcome his colleagues from California sailing right up the Potomac.
Tax free yachts. Brought to you by the California Yacht (Republican) Party. Wonder what they'll think of next?