In case you missed it, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday announced the formation of a state commission to reform state and local taxes. For the Sacramento Bee story, click here.
It would be pleasant to believe, of course, that this decision would lead, logically, to a more fair and efficient system of taxation for state and local government. Unfortunately, experience teaches that Sacramento will still be Sacramento.
Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are still likely to appoint task force members more focused on the needs of state government than on local government.
And they are still likely to appoint people weighed down by the same old political baggage. Some will want to re-design the system to grow government bigger and pay public employees more, and some will want to re-design the system to shrink government. You may recognize the two hard-line position that leave the state mired in budget impasses year after year.
It could happen, I suppose, that state politicians would appoint people without a political ax to grind. But it remains that California has been there and done that. In the past 20 years, other blue-ribbon panels have generated recommendations to reform state government, but those recommendations involved weakening the stranglehold of incumbents and the special interest groups that control them. Somewhere, probably in a basement file room, these good ideas are gathering dust.