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Hey, Arnold! A tax by any other name ...

... is still a friggin' tax!!

From the L.A. Times:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will propose hiking the cost of insurance for millions of California homes and businesses in the budget he unveils Thursday, with the money to be used for firefighting efforts.

The proposal, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, calls for new charges to be tacked onto the insurance bill for every residential and commercial property in the state. Administration officials call the charges fees and defend them as consistent with the governor's pledge, repeated in his State of the State address Tuesday, to not raise taxes. The plan, which the insurance industry has agreed to support, would cost California property owners and renters $12.50 for every $1,000 in insurance premiums, for a projected $125 million.

"I don't know how you avoid calling it a tax," Lew Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee, said of the assessment. "The ability of government officials to figure out new ways to tax us is limitless, no matter what their nomenclature."

The levy [emphasis mine] is the latest to be championed by the governor. Last fall, Schwarzenegger signed a bill that raised California drivers' registration payments by as much as $11 to pay for research on alternative fuels. And his healthcare plan relies on new taxes on tobacco users, hospitals and employers.

Administration officials acknowledged that some of the money raised could be used to balance the budget. They declined to be precise about how much.

The charge would be added to an existing 2.35% premium tax on property insurance policies. That tax, which is not earmarked for any particular program, generated $216 million for the state budget in 2006, according to the Department of Insurance.


Marc Cohn - Marc Cohn - Dig Down Deep
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