Can we stop the political posturing for one day and act like adults?
Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday vetoed six tax breaks including one that would have waived state taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products.
Almost immediately, the author of the bill to drop the tampon tax — Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Garden — took to Twitter to claim Brown was “mansplaining”. In simple English that means she accused the governor of being condescending and patronizing to women.
Forget the fact the veto had nothing to do with Brown wanting to patronize women. His vetoes of six tax breaks were done because they were passed by the legislature independent of the budget. Brown’s argument is the six breaks that ranged from extending personal income tax relief for forgiving debt from mortgage relief or short sales to reducing ethanol required in a fuel blend to qualify it for a discounted gas tax constituted a $300 million annual hit to the state’s general fund.
To quote Brown, “As I said last year, tax breaks are the same as new spending — they both cost the general fund money. As such, they must be considered during budget deliberations so that all spending proposals are weighed against each other at the same time. This is even more important when the state’s budget remains precariously balanced.”
That’s being condescending and sexist?
If you ask me, it sounds like Brown is the only adult in the room.
Garcia wouldn’t let it rest. She then sent out an email that read, “It is time to end this out of date practice and support gender equality in the State of California’s tax code. Today Governor Brown sent a clear message to all women in California. He told us periods are a luxury for women . . . Men purchase Viagra and don’t get taxed.”
Wow, where do you begin? Accusing Brown of supporting gender inequality on any level is absurd.
As for the tax code taxing things needed for day-to-day health and body functions, why isn’t Garcia also manning the ramparts to repeal the tax on toilet paper? Perhaps her inaction on the matter means she believes going to the bathroom is a luxury for taxpayers.
As for the Viagra notation, she has a point but it begs the question why someone on welfare in California can legally get Viagra paid by taxpayers? One would think procreation or recreation, as it were, would be a luxury if you can’t even afford to feed your family.
Of all the tax breaks Brown vetoed, the one that should be put in place is the one exempting tampons and feminine hygiene products. The problems is Brown is right. Not because he’s a man but because one of the main responsibilities of the governor and the legislature is to practice fiscal responsibility.
The tampon tax break needs to be brought up again but in context of the overall state spending plan. And if there is an argument among her fellow Democrats given they have complete control of the state’s budgeting process that they can’t afford to give up the sales tax collected on feminine hygiene products, perhaps Garcia can convince her colleagues to double the tax on Viagra in exchange for dropping the tampon tax.
As for who is guilty of perpetuating gender quality in the California tax code, Garcia isn’t exactly innocent. Garcia’s has been an Assemblywoman since 2012 which means that as an officer of the state that has perpetuated the tampon tax for the past four years.
Did Garcia just notice the unfairness that is built into the California tax system that supports the $171 billion state budget that she voted to adopt?
While the tampon tax should be history providing it is done in a fiscally prudent manner, why did it take Garcia et al so long to recognize it as being unfair?
The simple truth is it is the political cause du jour. That doesn’t imply getting rid of the tax isn’t right. What it does mean, however, it comes with the using sound bite debate given those pushing it don’t want a reasoned debate or even-handed implementation. They simply want what they want, period. And if they don’t get that especially when a voice of reason is used such as waiting until the state budget process takes place and weighing expenditures against tax cuts to try and implement it, they resort to name calling and Tweeting snarky messages designed not to educate or enlighten but to infuriate.
California needs to get rid of the tax in a fiscally responsible manner.
If that is mansplaining, so be it.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.