Magazine article Insight on the News

California Scheming: Golden Stars for Gray

Magazine article Insight on the News

California Scheming: Golden Stars for Gray

Article excerpt

Some politicians can't even cut your taxes without wasting your money. Take California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, for example, who so badly wants a little gold star on his forehead for cutting the state's so-called "car tax" that he's spending millions of dollars to make sure that the citizens -- some of whom also happen to be voters -- know about it.

Rather than just giving people their tax break right up front when they pay their vehicle-registration fees, the state, at the governor's insistence, first will make them pay the full amount. Then the state will send them a rebate in the mail -- at a cost of more than $22 million -- to ensure that the reality of the windfall sinks in. "Check it out, dude!" all of California then will be saying. "Today I got a check from Gray Davis and I'm totally stoked about it. Now let's go get a fish taco."

Davis apparently believes his constituents are too addle-brained to know a tax cut when they see one. "I fought aggressively to make sure it was a check, because people don't appreciate the fact that they're getting a rebate unless they see it in their hands," Davis said recently. …

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