2004-05-12 / Editorials

Too many taxes?

Too many taxes?

The great thing about income taxes . . .

Actually, let’s rephrase that. The least onerous thing about income taxes is that they are progressive taxes and are based on one’s ability to pay. George W. Bush’s tax cut notwithstanding, the more money a person makes, the more taxes they pay, in theory.

Parcel taxes and sales taxes, on the other hand, are regressive taxes. A low-income person pays the same tax for goods and services as a high-income person.

What’s all this about?

Ventura County residents soon could be paying as much as 8 cents on the dollar for sales taxes, up from the current 7.25 percent, if a pair of proposed increases are placed on the November ballot.

The transit tax we support; the open space tax we’re not so sure about.

Asking consumers to pay an additional quarter-cent to buy and preserve open space might not sound like much on the surface, but think about what the tax represents.

As Judy Mikels, who is the lone supervisor opposing the tax, asked, why should the county get further into the business of buying and managing property? Taking private property off the tax rolls and turning it into public property makes poor fiscal sense.

Cities such as Moorpark have done a good job protecting open space through zoning laws and other mechanisms. Imposing a countywide sales tax increase to snap up additional private property sounds like creeping socialism. What’s more, big cities such as Moorpark, T.O. and Simi Valley would contribute the bulk of the tax, but much of the open space purchases would be in the west county.

Because it’s unlikely that voters will support both tax increases on the same ballot, the proposed half-cent tax for road and transit improvements makes much more sense in our opinion.

Facing a rollback in state and federal funds, county residents must take it upon themselves to help pay for the widening of such roads as the 101, the 118 and the 23.

The irony of opposing the open space tax and supporting the transit tax is that by not protecting open space, we’re making sure the road situation only becomes worse.

There are no easy solutions, but given our druthers we’d rather the county tighten its belt than the consumer pay more taxes.

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