Steven Greenhut | In California, ’Moderate Democrat’ Is an Oxymoron

California taxpayers have nothing to fear from the new Democratic supermajorities in the state Assembly and Senate. That’s the assurance we keep hearing from the political class and interest groups in the Golden State, where Republican legislators are now reduced to irrelevancy and Democrats control two-thirds majorities to pass anything they want.

“Fortunately, there is a backstop to flagrant tax increases and immediate spending and it’s not Republicans — it is the moderate Democrats,” according to an analysis by the IndependentInsurance Agents & Brokers of California.

According to this wishful thinking, the Democratic caucus is more divided than ever, and a growing band of moderates will fill the swing-vote role that Republicans used to play, especially when the left-leaning leadership needs a two-thirds majority to pass direct tax increases and constitutional changes.

The deadline for filing new bills for the next state legislative session is a week away, so we will soon see how restrained the Democrats will be. Yet a look at the background of these moderate lawmakers shouldn’t ease high-earners’ concern about rising tax bills in California.

For instance, Henry Perea, a Fresno Democrat who leads the Assembly Moderate Caucus, has written a bill to increase or extend $2.3 billion in automotive-related fees. This is one of the Democratic majority’s first big maneuvers for the year, with committee hearings expedited.


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