California lowers taxes, raises fees

To help navigate through tough fiscal times, California has relied on fee increases on everything from parks to universities, shifting more of the cost burden away from taxpayers and onto program users.

Democrats blame higher user fees on GOP opposition to taxes, which allowed tax rates on sales, income and vehicles to drop this year. They say Republicans are achieving their goal of a smaller government.

"The only other opportunity for revenue is following a different philosophy, which is the user pays through user fees," said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. "We no longer care about the common good."

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