As reported in the September 15 Los Angeles Times (“California GOP legislators blocked 20 bills after demands were unmet”), “Republicans in the Senate blocked more than 20 bills-all needing GOP votes to pass, many approved by the lower house with bipartisan or near-unanimous support-to leverage a trio of unrelated demands.”

Their main demand concerned a program that allowed mostly low-income Californians to have the state do their tax returns free, a program that Intuit, the maker of the tax preparation software TurboTax, has been trying to eliminate. To support the profits of Intuit, the bills on which the Republican senators refused to vote included those to keep domestic violence shelters open, help counties prepare for the next swine flu outbreak (the defeat of which will cost local agencies tens of millions in federal funds), and ease borrowing for cities and counties (the defeat of which will cost cities and counties hundreds of millions more in their efforts to borrow, which, “said Paul McIntosh, executive director of the California State Assn. of Counties, : [will] more cuts to police and fire departments likely.”)

Not too surprisingly, “In 2006, Intuit, the company that makes TurboTax, spent $1 million trying to elect Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) as state controller. He lost that race but is now a senator who took part in Friday’s blockade.”

Strickland’s defense: “I’ve always thought it was wrong to use taxpayer dollars to compete with private enterprise.”

By this logic, since the private sector is or could become involved in these areas, the state should shut down the University of California system, and other levels of education as well; stop building and maintaining prisons; eliminate Medi-Cal; privatize the state’s highways so they can be run as toll roads; cease all policing and firefighting activities; and, in fact, turn over any of its present functions that Tony Strickland thinks someone can make a profit by doing.-Philip Koplin


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