Overtaxed, Overburdened California
This is in response to Jason Kurosu’s article, “Hope Offered – But Will it Be Found – In Jobs Package” on Sept. 1.

Jason wrote, “But where Gov. Brown really needs support is from Republican elected officials. Partisan politics have been a strong factor. …”

Governor Jerry Brown and the Democrats, ignoring the extreme high cost of driving in California, ignored a nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California poll that found 61% of likely voters were opposed to increasing the car tax. Democrats do not listen to voters.

I was stopped by a man a couple of weeks ago at a party who I had never met.

“Excuse me, I need to ask you a question,” he asked. “Do you think that 55% is enough?”

My face showed confusion, so he went on to explain that by doing business in the state of California, the government was taking 55% of his income and they were looking to take more.

“What is the incentive for me to continue to work here? To hire? I’m trying to do the right thing, but …”

I had no answer for him, this job creator. He will probably leave the state.

The Declaration of Independence states the unalienable rights of man, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This man’s happiness had been drained, along with his pocketbook, [by] the state and federal governments. Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution is specific regarding the powers of Congress and taxation. Read this and you may see that Congress has overstepped.

In the California Constitution, it is mind numbing how much there is about taxing citizens. Within Article 13, there are 35 sections alone! It is no wonder that people are packing up and fleeing this beautiful state.

I had the honor of hearing Texas governor Rick Perry earlier this year at a dinner. He gleefully shared his California “fishing trip” stories about the big fish he had lured to the great state of Texas. Perry knows that California has the best weather of any state in the union, but Texas has a much better job creation climate and many companies can’t resist.

Here are some facts about California and taxes:

• Highest personal income tax – California is number one in the nation!

• Highest state sales tax rate and here in the La Crescenta/La Cañada area, it is 8.75%!

• Highest gasoline tax and number one in the nation!

• California ranks number nine in the nation for corporate tax at 8.84%.

These high taxes affect all voters, all Californians – regardless of their political view. I think even King George III would be shocked at what elected officials are getting away with today!

Debi Devens
Debi Devens is a La Crescenta resident and organizer of the Beverly Hills Tea Party

Beeline Route Will be Missed
[I] really look forward to reading the CV Weekly every Thursday. Regarding the article on the Glendale Beeline [“Rates, Beeline, Dial-A-Ride to See Changes,” Sept. 1] [and the information], “Senior fare will increase 33%” check your math – from 15 cents to 35 cents is a 133% increase, not 33% as stated.

The rise of the standard fare from $.25 to $.75 is a 300% increase.

[Also a comment regarding that] the reduction in service for Route 3 – Northern Glendale (Montrose, La Crescenta and La Cañada) will “hardly be noticed.” I use the Beeline several times a week. Those of us unemployed or on fixed incomes (including students) will notice cuts in service. Even though the new rates are still a bargain versus taking the car to Glendale, the rate hikes and cut in service to we “Northerners” will be noticed.

Jerry Van Orden
La Crescenta

Decline to Sign!
The paid signature gatherers are everywhere it seems. Even here in our beloved community of Montrose and even in our own store. They ask if you want to sign the petition to stop the tax on Internet purchases. Well, please don’t be fooled by this incorrect statement.

Here are the facts:

Amazon, Overstock.com and other out-of-state online merchants do not collect sales tax on the purchases you make. They are putting you, the consumer, in a bad position. You are still liable for sales tax on the purchases you make via these merchants. However, there is a line on your tax form that asks you to disclose the amount you have purchased from these merchants.  Most people do not even know about the use tax line, and even if they did, the vast majority does not report anything.

Our business collects sales tax on your behalf and forwards it to the state tax authorities. It pays for needed police and firefighters, teachers, infrastructure, health and human service organizations, and other crucial government services.

Our 45-year old business has withstood many challenges, recessions, competition, moves and the advent of digital books. We have continued to provide this community with rich, engaging and meaningful in store and in school book events, author signings, book and writing clubs, storytimes and have helped thousands of children get hooked on reading. We have hired dozens of local people, including many high school and college students, and have hired a local CPA, bookkeeper, insurance agents, window designer, graphic designers, web host and many other local professionals. Over the years, we have donated tens of thousands of dollars to your organizations – schools, churches, PEOs, hospitals, community-based philanthropic organizations, AYSO, etc. We have given our heart and souls to update our business with new books, knowledgeable staff and have brought needed upgrading of our computer system, and now the new website with 24/7 online ordering of almost any book, including eBooks.

However, our business cannot survive the continued unfair advantage that Amazon and other online merchants have who refuse to collect sales tax. That advantage is almost 10%! They are putting our business, and many others, at a competitive disadvantage unless you decline to sign.

No one likes to pay tax, but thinking people realize that services cost money. Your sales tax that we collect on your behalf does that, but what Amazon wants will only hurt you and our state. Signature gatherers may refer to the More Jobs Not Taxes Committee, but Amazon is the sole funder to date, to the tune of more than $3 million according to a story in the Bay Citizen. In taking this self-serving action, Amazon joins the ranks of Pacific Gas & Electric, Mercury Insurance and the oil industry – all spending millions on ballot measures that directly affect their bottom line. Amazon’s refusal to collect tax costs the state a minimum of $200 million annually.

If you believe as I do, then I would urge you to forward this message to your friends, family and colleagues. Our business, other Montrose businesses and other independent retailers across California ask you to decline to sign!

Maureen Palacios, Owner
Once Upon a Time Bookstore