SACRAMENTO -- As state leaders hunt for politically palatable solutions to the swelling budget shortfall, some Democrats are proposing unorthodox ways to generate cash.
Strip clubs, six-packs, grocery bags and iTunes downloads are all in their sights as alternatives to broad income or sales tax hikes. So are gas guzzlers and yachts -- and a tax loophole for criminals.
Despite tough odds of overcoming an oath signed by their Republican colleagues to stop any tax hikes, Democratic lawmakers seem confident that their ideas will carry the day. They predict the public won't stand for painful cuts to schools and healthcare to close a shortfall the governor now pegs as high as $20 billion, and say anti-tax forces will ultimately have to accept that more revenue is needed to bring the state into the black.
GOP lawmakers say the majority party simply has an insatiable appetite for taking money from Californians. The California Republican Party recently released an Internet video, set to the O'Jays' "For the Love of Money," in which the tax ideas float across the screen after footage of Senate leader Don Perata (D-Oakland) telling the media in March his prescription for balancing the budget: "Raise taxes. That clear enough? Raise taxes." - LA Times