Document:California Press Release 14 May 1999 Libertarians Unveil Lavish Spending Plan for Budget Surplus

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: May 14, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200

Libertarians unveil lavish spending plan for budget surplus

SACRAMENTO -- With a projected $4 billion state budget surplus for the 1999-2000 fiscal cycle, the Libertarian Party of California has proposed a "spending" plan that would return the excess revenue to taxpayers -- $330.58 each, to be exact.

"We call it the 'Give It Back' plan," Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle announced. "Give back the entire surplus to everyone who filed an income tax return. No meaningless tax cuts, no new pork projects -- just a full refund. It's the right thing to do."

According to the most recent annual report from the Franchise Tax Board, roughly 12.1 million personal income tax returns are filed annually. Assuming a $4 billion surplus this year, the Libertarian plan would refund each taxpayer $330.58.

Hinkle says such a plan would benefit the California economy, increase the quality of life for all Californians, and end the squabbling between Democrats and Republicans over how to spend the unexpected windfall.

"The term 'surplus' is a euphemism for 'We've taken too much,'" Hinkle explained. "The state has overcharged taxpayers, who are now entitled to a refund. Since individuals know how to spend their money better than the government does, our plan would allow taxpayers to save or spend as they see fit, thus benefiting themselves and the economy at the same time."

Governor Gray Davis, who is releasing his revised budget today, is expected to propose a slew of spending for new pre-school and after-school programs. Republicans prefer modest tax cuts in the state car tax and the gasoline sales tax plus increased spending for transportation projects and local governments.

"Neither of those plans is acceptable because they assume that the government has a right to keep the surplus -- which it doesn't," Hinkle pointed out. "The state does not have an entitlement to tax money. That money belongs to the people and should be returned to the people."

Davis's budget already reflects a spending increase of $3 billion over the 1998-99 budget. "Of course we'd rather see government spending decrease, not increase, but we're not holding our breath.

"Libertarians urge elected officials to resist the temptation to spend money that doesn't belong to them. $330.58 may not mean much to politicians earning $99,000- plus per year, but it's welcome relief for taxpayers."