SACRAMENTO, CA – In a move that would have given even King George III pause, California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan yesterday to extract funds from residents of Nevada and Colorado to help reconcile California's growing budget shortfall.
"I've always been a fan of creative problem solving," Newsom said during a live-streamed news conference on May 19th, 2023. "In that spirit, we've decided to implement what we're calling the 'Interstate Generosity Initiative.' In layman's terms, we'll be asking Nevadans and Coloradans to pitch in a little."
Under the governor's audacious plan, residents of these neighboring states would be required to pay a so-called 'Golden State Beneficence Tax' (GSBT) into California's coffers. Newsom's office was quick to point out that the new tax would not replace the traditional income taxes paid by residents to their own state governments.
The move sparked immediate and fierce criticism from several corners. Sharron Pringle, a retired schoolteacher and long-time resident of Henderson, Nevada, said she thought it was a joke when she first heard the news. "Next he'll be taxing us for the sunshine we get that's originally from California," she quipped.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, Republican State House Representative Jonathan Frakas expressed his concern in more formal terms. "While we do indeed feel for our Californian neighbors and their budget woes, it is constitutionally dubious to impose taxation without representation," Frakas stated. "As Benjamin Franklin famously quipped, ‘what the fuck?’ "
Yet, not everyone is skeptical of the plan. Lawrence Cult, a UCLA legal scholar, insists that Newsom's initiative, while unorthodox, could be perfectly legitimate. "The Supreme Court has long upheld the concept of 'creative financing,'" he said. "While most states stick to conventional tax models, there's no precedent saying they can't think outside the box. In theory, Californian sunshine and liberal ideas do leak over state borders, and those receiving these ‘benefits’ could be said to owe something."
In response to the outcry, Newsom's office has begun a campaign to convince Nevadans and Coloradans that their contributions would be used for worthy causes, such as earthquake preparedness, protecting coastal ecosystems, and subsidizing tofu lattes for cash-strapped film students in Hollywood.
The announcement also had analysts wondering if the governor was desperate, delusional, or simply engaging in a bold, high-stakes gamble to help his state out of its budget crisis. Regardless, all eyes are now on California, a state known for its innovation, although usually not of this sort.
Whether this interstate generosity, or forced tribute as some might call it, will succeed is yet to be seen. But one thing is certain: should Governor Newsom’s controversial plan go ahead, it would be an unprecedented move in American history and likely lead to a protracted legal battle in the Supreme Court. Until then, Nevadans and Coloradans can only watch and wonder as they might soon be required to finance the state they didn’t choose to reside in, in a turn of events as bizarre as a Hollywood script.