The conservative spin about Proposition 30 passing in California is that the “takers” voted for it because they won’t have to pay the increased taxes. Wrong.
The measure raises the state sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years. Everyone pays sales taxes if you live in California, as well as visitors coming into the state. A sales tax is a regressive tax, and hits lower-income earners harder than high-income earners. So the so-called “takers” voted for a tax that they will pay.
Prop. 30 also raises income taxes on those making $250,000 or more for seven years. The poor won’t pay that part of the tax increase because if they made $250,000, they wouldn’t be poor.
But the idea that because you’re poor, your motives for voting aren’t as pure as someone who is wealthy does not meet the ideals of our democracy. We vote for people and measures for a variety of reasons — some because of self-interest and some because of our political philosophies. Those who vote against taxes likely do it because they don’t want to pay more taxes. That’s voting in their self interest. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we should also acknowledge the reason for their votes.