OC Democrat Asks Republicans To Drop 'No New Tax' Pledge

Democratic Assembly candidate Melissa Fox has a taxing idea.
Democratic Assembly candidate Melissa Fox has a taxing idea.
Photo by Christopher Victorio

According to Melissa Fox, a Democratic Party candidate for Orange County's 70th Assembly District, the problem with California government isn't high taxes, a bloated bureaucracy or the massive $20 billion budget deficit.

"The problem with Sacramento has been the Republicans have just said 'no' to budgets and taken a blanket pledge of no new taxes," Fox said at a UC Irvine candidate forum this week. "They focus on saying 'no' to everything."

To bypass the ability of the Republican minority in the state legislature to block government budgets, Fox proposes to scrap the requirement that tax increases must win a two-thirds vote. She says a new simple majority vote would end "the tyranny of the minority" and cause Democrats and Republicans to "work together for compromise."

"The two-thirds requirement is the wrong way to do things and it's created a huge log jam in Sacramento," said Fox, who running against another South County private lawyer, Michael Glover, to become the Democratic Party's nominee in the November election for the Irvine-region seat in the assembly. "The middle class and small businesses are bearing too much of the tax burden."

Fox's other proposed solution? Get Republicans to abandon their party's anti-tax stance.

"I ask that if it's a Republican who goes to Sacramento [after the November election], they don't take the 'no new taxes' pledge," she said at the candidate forum. "We need somebody up there who will play the game and bring money back to the district."

In reaction to her request, conservative Republican candidate Don Wagner shook his head and rolled his eyes. Later, Wagner said, "I think [the state] is still spending way too much."

Dr. Steven Choi, another GOP hopeful in attendance, also refused to accept Fox's suggestion. Instead, Choi said he would focus on job and revenue creation if he wins.

(Jerry Amante, a third Republican candidate who has collected a slew of GOP heavyweight endorsements, did not appear at the event.)

Wagner--currently a member of the South Orange County Community College District board--delighted a minority of the crowd when he encouraged California police officers to follow Arizona's new, controversial anti-illegal immigrant policy.

Fox, who is trying to grab the seat held by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chuck Devore, is decidedly progressive. She advocates the end of certain corporate tax loopholes, shift the debate over illegal immigration to employer sanctions, prioritize education spending, legal marijuana for its potential tax revenue and end the mortgage deduction for people buying second homes.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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