California state government is projecting a budget surplus. Back in January, the Associated Press noted that "California is again swimming in money."
With the continued reopening of the economy and, hopefully, the gradual triumph over the coronavirus pandemic thanks to vaccination, state government stands to benefit from the economic rebound.
But that hasn't stopped progressive members of the California Legislature from raising once again the idea of a wealth tax.
On Monday, Asms. Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, Alex Lee, D-San Jose, Luz Rivas, D-Los Angeles and Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, called for a 1% wealth tax on those with net worth above $50 million and 1.5% wealth tax on those with a net worth above $1 billion.
"It's not a radical idea to pass a wealth tax. It's fairness," tweeted Santiago.
In context, California's state budget is already highly dependent on high-income earners. For decades, the top 1% of earners in California have paid half or more of state income taxes.
Gonzalez, Lee, Rivas and Santiago want to go even further and confiscate the wealth of those whose incomes the state is already highly dependent on.
Ostensibly, the legislators believe they, as politicians, are entitled to seize this wealth and think up better uses for that money.
To say the least, the legislators could start with proving they can make the best use of the extensive funding state government already takes in.
Practically, the proposal is likely to end up little more than a glorified press release.
Last year, even as he supported gutting Proposition 13 with a split roll property tax system, Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed opposition to tax increases targeting the wealthy.
"In a global, mobile economy, now is not the time for the kind of state tax increases on income we saw proposed at the end of this legislative session, and I will not sign such proposals into law," he said.
Likewise, the proposal is likely to be laughed out of the offices of any credibly moderate Democratic lawmaker.
Lawmakers who want to see more money in Sacramento's coffers would be making better use of their time focusing on growing the economy, not scaring investment away.