FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Ed Ring

California’s 2014 Local Tax Proposals – The Costly Alternative to Pension Reform

On November 4th, along everything else on the ballot, California’s voters will be asked to approve local tax measures. A list compiled by theCalifornia Taxpayers Association, “2014 Local Elections,” shows that across California’s cities and counties, local tax increases proposed include the following:

- Tax increases requiring only a majority vote: 5 business taxes, 11 hotel taxes, 9 marijuana taxes, 2 “property transfer” taxes, 1 vehicle tax, 1 property “anti-speculation” tax in San Francisco, at least 10 “utility users taxes,” 38 proposals to either increase sales taxes or extend sales tax increases that were set to expire, and a soda tax.

- Tax increases requiring a 2/3rd vote: 1 “miscellaneous” tax, 11 sales taxes, and 39 proposals to either increase parcel taxes or extend parcel tax increases that were set to expire, and 1 soda tax.

We don’t know why the soda tax in Alameda only requires a majority vote, while the soda tax in San Francisco requires a 2/3rds majority.… Read More

Jon Coupal

HOW ABOUT AN EXAM FOR OFFICE SEEKERS?

Given the horrible decisions recently being made by elected officials, why don’t we subject candidates for public office to a simple exam with the grades to be posted in the ballot pamphlet? Here are few questions that might be asked.

For those running for trustee in one of our over 1,000 school districts: “Given a choice of spending $14,000 on 200 new student textbooks or $14,000 on a top-of-the-line espresso machine, which would you choose?”

For those running for a seat in the California Legislature: “Does a state agencies’ practice of transferring employees in and out of positions for the purpose of inflating the departments’ budgets reflect good public policy?”

And for those running for a Los Angeles City Council seat: “Do you support the use of taxpayer… Read More

Katy Grimes

Berkeley Busybodies Side With UFW Rather Than Farmworkers

The liberal busybodies on the Berkeley City Council are weighing-in again on an issue that has nothing to do with their city: Gerawan Farming in Fresno is in their crosshairs again.

While the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board has steadfastly refused to count thousands of ballots collected by Gerawan farmworkers, cast nine months ago to decertify the United Farm Workerslabor union, Berkeley is inserting itself in the labor dispute – on the side of the big labor union, rather than with the little, farmworkers, fighting for the right to work without a union.

It is ironic that the ALRB, created in the 1970’s to provide farm workers a voice, refuses to let workers have a voice to vote to decertify the UFW, because the outcome may not fit their agenda.

In July, the… Read More

Richard Rider

Residential water cost: San Diego 65% Higher than San Antonio

I’ve been harping on the high cost of electricity in California, a concern to us all — especially compared to other states — and ESPECIALLY compared to our hated rival Texas. But that’s not the ONLY utility comparison that should concern us.

By chance I came across a residential water rate calculator for San Antonio –themost drought-stricken town in a national field of 225 cities. I recently wrote a piece about their remarkable water improvement projects vs. parched Los Angeles, so this all ties together!

I took my current July-August (1914) San Diego city water bill and ran my usage (237 gal/day for a 3 person detachedabode — 46.9% lower than last year’s usage) and other variables through the San Antonio residential water bill calculator.

https://www.saws.org/Service/rates/ratecalc/

The results (including ALL fees and costs):

San Diego 2 month cost – $197.91

San Antonio 2 month cost – $119.94

BOTTOM LINE:For the same amount of water, San Diego costs residents 65.0% more than SanRead More

Kevin Dayton

Swearengin Faced With Meaningful Veto Opportunity: Will It Happen Before the Election?

News media has portrayed Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin – a Republican – as a candidate with potential to defeat Democrat Board of Equalization member Betty Yee in the November 4, 2014 election for California State Controller. But as she seeks support from California voters in the political center, Swearengin faces criticism from some conservatives.

FlashReport’s John Hrabe has criticized Swearengin’s apparent tendency to conduct public business without the knowledge of the public. Among several examples he cites is her role behind-the-scenes in pushing for a union… Read More

Bruce Bialosky

Board of Equalization: Part of the Problem, But Steel’s Office the Solution

The government of California does not realize they are the proximate cause of business leaving California. They think they can pound on businesses ad infinitum because we have great beaches and great weather. All they are concerned about is getting their money which actually feeds their unionized employees excessive compensation. Here is another tale of their attempted destruction.

My client, a young man, got caught being on the hook for a couple of entities for which he was wholly responsible. Despite that he accepted responsibility for the liability and tried to set up a payment method. The Board of Equalization (BOE) agreed to a reduced (but still substantial) amount under a program that would allow him to make expedited payments. Unfortunately, due to the slow economy, his business income stuttered and he was unable to meet the payment schedule. We were back to the full liability and establishing a smaller payment plan over the length of the debt.

I received a call from a staff person at the BOE West Covina office. This is in the district of Jerome Horton, BOE Chairman. Which district you are in very well may determine the treatment you receive from the BOE… Read More

Katy Grimes

CA Ammunition Ban Will Cause Shortages, Price Spikes

SACRAMENTO — The National Shooting Sports Foundation Wednesday released a report Wednesday demonstrating the negative effects California’s ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition in hunting will have on hunters, the state’s economy, and wildlife conservation.

Implementation of AB 711, byAssemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-South Gate,the legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in late 2013, will at least triple the price of ammunition, driving more than one-third of the state’s hunters to hunt less or stop hunting completely. With the loss of more than 50,000 hunters in the state, California’s economy will see a loss of millions of dollars in salaries and in tax revenue.

In addition, as… Read More

Katy Grimes

Food or Fish: Political Honesty Needed in CA Water Wars, Part ll

The long time political dispute between California farmers and state and federal water regulators predates the latest drought and will continue long after, unless some political honesty takes place. This is Part ll of “Food or Fish: Political Honesty Needed in CA Water War.” Part l is here.

California farms and businesses are starved of water. Lawmakers and federal environmental regulators have authorized more than 81 billion gallons of water to flow out to the ocean, instead of being used for human consumption, the Pacific Legal Foundation recently explained following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ adverse decision in March.

This is environmental… Read More

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