In a high-tax state like California, it’s unfortunate there are few elected officials who are still willing to stand up for taxpayers.
Our community is lucky that Supervisor Lynn Compton is courageous enough to be one of them. That’s why this rising star on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors was recently named the 2018 Hero of the Taxpayer by the Central Coast Taxpayers Association and has been endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Compton was elected in 2014 after running on a platform of defending Proposition 13, which means she is sticking up for one of our state’s few remaining protections from unmitigated tax increases. Her work, along with that of her fellow conservative colleagues who make up a majority on the Board of Supervisors, helps make our community a better place to live by putting the right policies in place to attract quality jobs here and keep taxes affordable for families.
After all, it’s much easier for elected officials to take more of someone else’s money than it is to make hard decisions about spending priorities and be responsible with public dollars. In Sacramento this mentality runs rampant.
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In fact, there is an all-too-familiar cynical pattern of intentionally starving key governments services of funding to justify new taxes. We just saw this tired act play out when Democrats raised gas and car registration taxes last year, despite the state’s General Fund growing to record levels. In 2017 alone — despite a fast-growing economy a large budget surplus — progressives in the Sacramento increased taxes by nearly$6 billion annually.
Locally, leaders like Compton are choosing a better path of governing.
Compton’s experience as a small business owner gives her key perspective as an elected official, far beyond what we see from career politicians who know nothing outside of working in government. She grew up in Indiana where she first developed an interest in the agriculture industry and later moved out to the Central Coast. She and her family started a successful agricultural supply company here in San Luis Obispo County that now serves farmers and ranchers throughout the state.
It’s from her perspective as a business woman that she recognizes the importance of keeping taxes affordable and mitigating California’s legendary anti-business climate. Compton has fought to block attempts to chip away at the vote threshold for raising taxes. Proposition 13 requires most local tax measures to obtain a two-thirds majority to pass, yet just about every year there is an attempt in Sacramento to lower this.
At Board of Supervisors meetings, Compton has articulated why a two-thirds majority for raising taxes is so important. Without this higher barrier, it’s much easier to stick ordinary citizens and small businesses with a higher tax bill. Special interests are highly motivated to spend large amounts of money in elections to ensure tax measures pass because they benefit disproportionately from higher revenue, while the broader public is left shouldering the burden.
We saw this dynamic play out with Measure J, San Luis Obispo County’s transportation tax, which was opposed by Compton and was only defeated because of the two-thirds majority requirement. Without the higher threshold, local residents would have been hit twice with new taxes for transportation by paying a higher local sales taxes and the state’s recently increased gas tax.
Having worked with Compton for a number of years and having witnessed her courage and conviction for standing up for taxpayers despite constant harassment from local progressives, I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of this years Hero of the Taxpayer Award.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more honest, hardworking and dedicated public servant who is committed to making government work for the people. While California has reputation for high taxes that continue to make living here unaffordable for ordinary people, Compton is bucking the trend and is a reason to be optimistic about our community’s future.
Conservative columnist Andrea Seastrand is a former representative for the 22nd Congressional District, a longtime grass-roots activist and current president of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association. Her column runs in The Tribune every other Sunday.