FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Coupal

RUMSFELD’S PROBLEM IS OUR PROBLEM

In filing his tax returns, Donald Rumsfeld included a letter to the IRS stating, “As in prior years, it is important for you to know that I have absolutely no idea whether our tax returns and our tax payments are accurate.” Now critics of the former secretary of defense and member of Congress may not be sympathetic, but they overlook the fact that Rumsfeld’s problem is shared by almost every American taxpayer.

The U.S. Tax Code is currently 73,954 pages long and a few more pages are probably being added as this is written. Every year, members of the Washington, D.C. political class pay lip service to the goal of tax reform, but usually all Congress does is tinker around the edges in an effort to please special interest supporters and to increase revenue, or “raise taxes” in the… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Did Senator Anderson’s Stance In Support of Expelling Rod Wright Cost Him A Key Vice-Chairmanship?

Apparently there is a price to pay for being willing to stand tall on the Senate Floor for the rule of law. FR readers will recall that recently Anderson was the only vote in the legislature’s upper chamber against “suspending” Senators Leland Yee, Ron Calderon, and Rod Wright. Anderson had the temerity to point out that Wright had already been found guilty by a jury of eight felony counts, and that Wright shouldn’t be suspended, but rather should be removed from the Senate. Subsequent to Anderson’s floor remarks (which, if you haven’t seen them, I suggest you do so hereor watch the speech below), incoming Senate President Kevin DeLeon rose up and made a complete ass out of himself, attacking by inference Senator Anderson’s motives and integrity.

Well it has now been revealed — thanks to Union Tribune San Diego columnist Steve Greenhut in his Sunday column — that Senator Anderson was given a rather unceremonious… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

If the Government Takes Your Money Illegally, Shouldn’t You Get it Back?

Did you know, if the State of California takes your money in the form of an illegal tax or fee, you might not be able to get it back?

I was outraged when I first learned if a taxpayer pays a tax or fee that is later found to be unconstitutional or illegal in court, the government does not necessarily have to refund their money.

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all of their “administrative appeals remedies,” even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal or unconstitutional.

In order for taxpayers to exhaust their “administrative appeals remedies” they must file a timely refund claim with the proper agency. The time period to file a refund claim is different for each tax and fee program, ranging anywhere from 30 days to several years.

That’s right; your state government will keep any and all money it illegally took from you, unless you have already jumped through several confusing administrative hoops – even hoops that you were never aware of.

That’s why this legislative session, I am proud to sponsor legislation to change this situation by extending important, common sense… Read More

Jon Fleischman

CA Teachers Association Weighs For Inland Empire GOP Candidates Glen Miller and Gary Jeandron

There is no single public employee union in our state that is more partisan, more liberal, and spends more money working to elect Democrats to office than the California Teachers Association.

So imagine my surprise, and distress, to see two Republican candidates for the State Legislature receive their endorsement, and a major contribution, respectively, from the CTA. I don’t know if it is coincidental that both candidates hail from the Palm Springs area.

In the 28th State Senate District, there is a three-way scramble underway between Republicans former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, County SupervisrorJeff Stone, and Glen Miller. This is a “new” safe GOP seat. Frankly, from this conservative bloggers perspective, each of the candidates has flaws – and up to this point I had declined to write about the race at all.

But when I received a press release earlier this week from Glen Miller’s campaign, bragging up receiving an endorsement from the CTA – my eyes popped out of their head. I thought perhaps it was a spoof – after all Miller is a candidate who calls himself a conservative, and who says on his website, “I will not go… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Frustration

Frustration: There is no question that a major factor in my decision to not seek re-election this year is my frustration with the conditions in Washington, which increasingly make it exceedingly difficult to accomplish anything of note.

I am not the first person to make this observation. Some have attributed this condition to the fact that few legislators live in Washington any longer since the advent of frequent air travel and, therefore, personal relationships are harder to form. Others have suggested that redistricting in Congress, which makes more “safe” seats in each party, reduces the impetus for compromise. Such structural factors probably have some impact. But, I don’t think they are the primary causes. The primary causes in my estimation are more temporary. That is the good news. However, they are also pretty deep-rooted. That is the not-so-good-news.

I believe there are two primary, though temporary problems. The first will likely not surprise you. It is President Obama. I’m not going to beat this point into the ground because Obama’s approval rating of around 40% indicates that most Americans understand… Read More

Ed Ring

San Jose’s Public Safety Pensions – Reduce Now or Slash Later

“Once people get the facts, they do not support slashing people’s pensions.” - Dave Low, chairman, Californians for Retirement Security (Washington Post, February 25, 2014)

Really?

Making sure “people get the facts” is difficult when most “facts” the public sees are promulgated to the media by pension fund PR departments eager to preserve the torrent of taxpayers money flowing into their favored investment firms, along with PR firms representingtaxpayer-funded public sector unions whose primary reason to exist is to increase the wages and benefits of their members.

According to the most recent data available from the California State Controller – over $600 billion of taxpayer’s money is privately invested by public employee pension funds (Public Retirement Systems Annual Report, FYE 6-30-2011, released 5-22-2013, page xv, Figure 2), and… Read More

Doug Lasken

Tax Day – How we were sucker punched

Standing in the long line at the post office this morning, I had that feeling I get every April 15 like I’ve been severely had. This time the feeling was particularly strong. Partly to blame was the added humiliation of needing to pay for certified mail because of the IRS’s diminishing ability to keep track of its mail (and its imperious habit of blaming the mailer). And of course it didn’t help that every time I turn on the news I learn about some new way the piggy bank we call the U.S. government is opening its riches to graft and greed of all kinds, with foxes guarding the henhouse.

But most importantly this year I’m upset by the knowledge I gained about the history of American taxes, particularly the federal income tax, from a concise and powerful essay by Harvard historian Jill Lepore , “Tax Time: Why we pay,” in the Nov. 26, 2012 New Yorker Magazine. Lepore makes it clear, in a way you never hear from our prominent anti-tax voices, that the income tax was foisted on America through a con job as deceitful as any on the street.

Lepore is non-partisan, in the real sense (not in the “crossing the aisle” sense). Her skill is in stating facts that… Read More

Katy Grimes

ALRB legal abuse — where’s legislative oversight?

The general counsel of the Agriculture Labor Relations Board went to court last week to impose a union contract on Gerawan Farming employees, without proper input from the farm workers, and without counting the ballots of a recent United Farm Workers union decertification election, held in November 2013.

The ALRB’s latest state-sponsored union bullying effort comes mere weeks after longtime Gerawan Farming employee, Silvia Lopez, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against ALRB board members and top staff, for their refusal to count the ballots from the November election.

Many in the farming community claim the ALRB and UFW have joined forces to boost the union by targeting one of the biggest non-union farming operations in the state. Should they succeed in unionizing Gerawan Farming employees, adding the 5,000 farmworkers would double union membership, and certainly boost the ALRB’s status.

This latest abusive overreach by the ALRB and its general counsel shows growing desperation in the trending anti-union sentiment in the private sector, and the vast agriculture industry of… Read More

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