FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Runner Sponsors Legislation to Refund Illegal Taxes

This year, I am sponsoring legislation to extend common sense protections to taxpayers. Assembly Bill 867, authored by Assemblyman Donald Wagner, would require the state to provide a full refund to all individuals who paid a tax later declared unconstitutional or illegal.

AB 867 is identical to AB 2510 (Wagner) and SB 1327 (Knight), legislation I sponsored in 2014. Legislative committees blocked both bills from advancing last year.

It is criminal that the State of California can keep money it illegally collects from its citizens. Anyone who in good faith pays what ends up being an illegal tax should get their money back. It’s as simple as that.

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all their administrative appeals remedies, even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal or… Read More

Duf Sundheim

Why I’m Seriously Considering U.S. Senate in 2016

Given the high level of interest in the 2016 US Senate race, I thought I would take the opportunity immediately before the CRP convention this weekend to answer whether I am seriously considering running.

The answer is yes, I am seriously considering running for the U.S. Senate in 2016. I believe I can do the job. If I see a path to winning the election, I will run.

While I do not fit the typical mold of the person running for this office, in talking to voters throughout the state the last two months, it is clear to me that is an asset. The current system is not working for the hard working women and men of this state. They do not believe the current leaders (a) listen to them or (b) know how to get things done. It is one of the key reasons voter participation is at an all-time low. (Only 31% of registered voters voted in LA County in 2014.)

I have a proven record of… Read More

Katy Grimes

Jerry Brown’s Green Jobs Scheme Killing CA’s Middle Class

Recent revelations resulted in the resignation of Democratic Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber over collusion between his office, California and Washington State governors’ offices, and environmental groups to force climate coordination and collaboration across the U.S.

Emails from 2013 and 2014 reveal Kitzhaber agreed to a deal with the governors of California and Washington, to implement low-carbon fuel standards and develop a scheme to foist green-energy agendas on multiple states.

Coincidentally, Gov. Jerry Brown, D-California, has made climate change one of his top priorities. During his January inaugural address Brown said he plans to require that 50 percent of all energy use come from renewable sources, and automobile gas consumption be reduced by 50 percent.

Yet last month,… Read More

Ed Ring

Issue of Government Unions Divide Candidates More Than Party Affiliation

“Agent Keen, in this world there are no sides, only players.” - Raymond Reddington, played by actor James Spader, NBC’s “Blacklist,” February 12, 2015

To exemplify the intensifying battle of players regardless of sides, look no further than California’s two competitive State Senate special elections set for this March. In Orange County’s Senate District 37, Republican John Moorlach is running against Republican Don Wagner. In Contra Costa County’s Senate District 7, three Democrats are competing for the open seat, Steve Glazer, Susan Bonilla, and Joan Buchanan.

What differentiates these candidates? It certainly isn’t their party affiliation.

In Contra Costa County the reason these candidates differ is very clear. Steve Glazer has taken positions that are hated by the unions, and the other candidates have not. In particular, Glazer was critical of the 2013 BART strike, and he has been outspoken for years on the need for pension reform. The city of Orinda, where Glazer has served as a councilmember and currently serves as mayor, offers a defined contribution plan to city workers. This… Read More

Richard Rider

California ranked worst state for “dying middle class”

Here’s a recent survey of states, ranking them as to how bad it has been for the middle class though this recession. Sadly, California is ranked worst.

And not by a small amount. We are 17% worse than the 2nd worst state (Vermont). http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/01/22/states-where-the-middle-class-is-dying/5/

Every year since 1992, California has had a net annual OUTFLOW of “domestic migration” (migration between states). EVERY year.

Cumulatively since 1992 we’ve lost an astonishing net 3.8 million people to other states. I say again — NET!

That’s hard for us geezers to grasp, as we almost ALL came TO California from other states. The reversal of migration flow has been stunning.

Only nuclear holocaust or oppressive government could have accomplished that reversal. And I don’t remember any mushroom clouds.… Read More

Ed Ring

The Glass Jaw of Pension Funds is Asset Bubbles

“Calpers argued that the California constitution’s guarantee of contracts shielded pensions from cuts in bankruptcy. The fund also asserted sovereign immunity and police powers as an ‘arm of the state,’ including a lien on municipal assets.” - Wall Street Journal Editorial, “Calpers Gets Schooled,” February 8, 2015

If you want powerful evidence ofcrony capitalismat its worst, look no further. In the Stockton bankruptcy trial, the pension fund serving that city’s employees threatened to seize municipal assets to pay pension fund contributions. They’ve made similar threats to other cities that protest against the escalating contribution rates. And they’ve made the cost to exit pension plans confiscatory. It is hard to imagine a bigger or more blatant example of collusion between business interests and government employees at the expense of ordinary private citizens.

In the Stockton bankruptcy case, judgeChristopher Klein’s ruling left… Read More

Katy Grimes

CA Plastic Bag Ban Halted As Initiative to Repeal Qualifies for 2016 Ballot

After eight years of failed legislative attempts to ban plastic grocery bags, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in September to ban and tax plastic and paper grocery bags. The new statewide plastic bag ban is scheduled to go into effect July 15, 2015… but not so fast…

Immediately after the bill signing, the American Progressive Bag Allianceannouncedit would gather signatures for a November 2016 ballot initiative to repeal the bill to block implementation of the statewide ban.They got their wish – thebag initiative just qualified for the 2016 ballot, with at least 555,236valid voter signatures on the referendum petition. Implementation of the law will be frozen until the November 2016 vote.

SBRead More

Richard Rider

Actors’ Union Seeking to End Most Stage Performances in Los Angeles

Actors Equity wants to mandate minimum wages for stage actors — which will close most small theatres and nonprofit stage offerings in the Los Angeles area. Such shoestring operations currently pay their actors $7 to $15 per performance, and zippo for rehearsals.

Most actors are leftists. I say they should have a $15 minimum wage for all their time spent at the theatre (no volunteering). Or $30!! Teach them economics with a 2″ x 4.” I see a real upside in ending their useless acting “careers” and returning them to a more productive sector of the economy. Many ARE bright and can perform useful work (they make great waiters, of course). And make the unemployed actors painfully aware that they voted for the minimum wage that put them out of work when they went to the polls! http://unionwatch.org/union-group-mobilizes-against-pay-hike/ Union Group Mobilizes “Against” Pay Hike byRead More

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