FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

- Or -
Search blog archive

Ed Ring

The Looming Bipartisan Backlash Against Unionized Government

Whenever discussing politically viable policy proposals to improve the quality of life in California, the imperative is to come up with ideas that strongly appeal to moderate centrists, since that is how most Californians would describe themselves. And there are two compelling issues that offer that appeal: making California’s system of K-12 education the best in the world, and restoring financial sustainability to California’s state and local governments.

While these two objectives have broad conceptual appeal, there is a clear choice between two very different sets of policies that claim to accomplish them. The first choice, promoted by public sector unions, is to spend more money. And to do that, their solution is to raise taxes, especially on corporations and wealthy individuals. The problem with that option, of course, is that California already has the highest taxes and most inhospitable business climate in the U.S.

The alternative to throwing more money at California’s troubled system of K-12 education and financially precarious cities and counties is to enact fundamental reforms. And these reforms, despite the fact that each of them arouses… Read More

Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner

The Opportunity of a Lunchtime

OnAugust 26, Gov. Brown hosts a luncheon for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in the historic Governor’s Mansion as part of reciprocal trade visits. The governor has invited members of the Legislature to join him at this luncheon. I have received such an invitation and intend to go. The visit and lunch, though, are not without controversy.

My colleague, Assembly Member Tim Donnelly, recently announced that he intends to protest President Nieto outside the Governor’s Mansion rather than attend the lunch. The reason for the protest is the continued incarceration in Mexico of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi on charges related to guns he brought across the border. The issue is an important one that has appropriately already engaged the attention of the Legislature. For example, I have already joined in an effort to engage the federal government on the Tahmooressi case. But I do not believe a sidewalk protest by members of the legislature is an appropriate or particularly effective way to continue advancing the cause of justice in this case.

Sidewalk protests and demonstrations have a long and honorable tradition in America. Our First… Read More

Katy Grimes

Steinberg’s SB 25 Means Union Enforcement First, Judgment Later

A devastating labor union-friendly bill authored by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, which did not pass the Legislature last year, is back, with amendments.SB 25would force a farming employer into “collective bargaining,” which actually is an order written by an arbitrator who forces it on the employer and employees against their will.

If SB 25 is signed into law, the waningUnited Farm Workers labor union stands to triple in size.

It is apparent labor unions are trying to gain what they can no longer win through the secret ballot process and sincere labor negotiations, with agriculture employers. The UFW reported only 3,329… Read More

Bruce Bialosky

Covered California: Masters of Deception

I really have not been paying much attention to Obamacare in California. They were pitching how they signed up zillions of people. We have yet to find out whether those enrollees have paid their premiums, are income qualified or are in America legally. But they were proud as peacocks about their results. Then they made an announcement which knocked my socks off.

To quote their website, “The vast majority of Covered California consumers will see low increases in their health insurance premiums for 2015, and many consumers will see no increase or even a decrease. The statewide weighted average came in at 4.2 percent, with some plans offering weighted average rates that are 8.5 percent lower than current pricing.” Wow, that is impressive. How are they getting that done?

Soon after that Florida announced their planned increases for 2015. The Office of Insurance Regulation announced Floridians who buy health insurance on the individual market for 2015 will face an average increase of 13.2 percent in their monthly premiums.

That is a staggering difference. A lot of people like to refer to it as Flor-i-DAH, but that could not explain this difference. And… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Tax Legislation for Disabled Veterans Heads to Governor

I am pleased to announce SB 1113 (Knight), my sponsored proposal to protect disabled veterans, cleared the Assembly last week with unanimous, bipartisan support, and now awaits action by Governor Jerry Brown.

Under California law, veterans who receive a 100% disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be eligible for a property tax exemption on the value of their home up to $124,932 or $187,399 in 2014 and equivalent amounts adjusted for inflation in future years. The exemption starts on the date of disability and disabled veterans may claim a refund for up to four years of back taxes paid.

Unfortunately, due to VA backlogs, some veterans have had to wait more than four years to receive their disability rating certifications. As a result, they’ve missed out on thousands of dollars in property tax refunds to which they were entitled and anticipated receiving.

SB 1113 would increase the availability of refunds on taxes previously paid from four years to eight years, allowing veterans to receive the full benefit of their exemption,… Read More

Jon Coupal

AG Blocks Real Initiative Reform

Just last month, this column noted that the professional political class harbors great hostility toward the tools of direct democracy — the powers of initiative, referendum and recall. These are effective tools to control an indolent or corrupt legislature.

From the perspective of politicians, direct democracy allows the great unwashed and unsophisticated to deal with matters such as taxation, victims’ rights, insurance and, most importantly, political reform. These are issues over which politicians strongly desire to exercise a legislative monopoly.

The column was written in the context of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, a particularly pernicious proposal that would make it much harder for grassroots groups to use direct democracy by requiring a higher vote threshold at… Read More

Katy Grimes

Coddled Legislature Opposes Innovative Rideshare Car Services

Ironically, just hours after State Senator Ben Hueso, D-San Diego,voted against California’s burgeoning ride-share industry, he was arrested for driving under the influence.When State legislators get arrested for drunk driving, it is apparent that even the most coddled in government need a free market solution rather than the hassle and expense of calling a cab.

Elected State Senators and Assembly members even have Capitol Sergeants-At-Arms to drive them where they need to go. The rest of the public doesn’t have Sergeants available, and have turned to Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. But now, the codddled Legislature wants to do away with this innovative, free market solution to expensive and unreliable cabs, shuttle services and limousines.

Given that the Democratic Party is an enthusiastic supporter of… Read More

Katy Grimes

Breastfeeding Mothers Need the CA Legislature

Breastfeeding mothers have fed their infants for thousands of years, somehow, in public places. I’ve never seen a woman hassled for breastfeeding — even the women who do it immodestly.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal is authoring… Read More

Page 1 of 1,59712345...102030...Last »