FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Coupal

CROCODILE “TIERS” OVER WATER RATE RULING

Last week the California Court of Appeal issued an important ruling interpreting Proposition 218, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sponsored initiative approved by voters in 1996. Proposition 218 is entitled “The Taxpayers Right to Vote Act” for a very good reason. It reflects the policy that those who pay the bills for public expenditures – taxpayers – should have the final say over how much is taken out of their wallets and pocketbooks. It subjects virtually all local taxes and fees, especially those related to property, to voter or ratepayer control.

Proposition 218 was necessary because the legislature and the courts had created loopholes in Proposition 13, the iconic California initiative that started the modern American tax revolt in 1978. While Proposition 13 was focused on property taxes, Proposition 218 was drafted to limit the explosion in other types of government exactions burdening homeowners including so-called “benefit assessments,” fees, charges and other sorts of property related levies.

What is important to note about Proposition 218, is that it did not ban property related fees but, rather, sought to return the imposition… Read More

Announcing My Candidacy for US Senate

Today, I am pleased to announce my candidacy for the California United States Senate seat in 2016.

I am running for this important office because I can and will offer California voters a choice – not just between parties or amongst candidates – but a choice of ideas and plans as well.

For most of the last twenty years, California has had one-party rule in the U.S. Senate and the California legislature. The result has been a state that is #1 in poverty, at the bottom in education, and suffering from chronic under-employment, water shortages and budget problems. Not coincidentally, California has the highest combined tax, regulatory and debt burden in the Country.

Our problems are the fault of policy choices. For example, if, despite its desert terrain, Arizona can have enough water and the small state of North Dakota the smallest percentage of unemployed, clearly it is a matter of poor decision making for the rich state of California to have the many problems we do. In order to change our fortunes, we need to change our policies and to do that, we must change our leaders.

We must return to an era of economic growth and away from political… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California Tax Freedom Day Comes Late Again

California lags behind much of the country when it comes to high taxes and creating an atmosphere that allows businesses to create jobs, but there’s also another area where the Golden State fails to meet the national standard—National Tax Freedom Day.

For the rest of the nation Tax Freedom Day arrives on April 24. Californians, however, won’t be able to celebrate until nine days later on May 3. Only Connecticut New Jersey and New York have later dates. Calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is the day Americans have earned enough money to pay their annual tax obligations at the federal, state and local level.

According to the Tax Foundation, Americans total tax bill comes to $4.8 trillion and will collectively spend more on taxes in 2015 than they will on food, clothing and housing combined. That’s incredible.

It’s clear that California’s byzantine tax structure continues to create a difficult economic environment in which to live and work. Unfortunately, Californians must work 123 days to pay their tax bill.

We can do better.… Read More

Katy Grimes

Water Released From CA Dams Is For Kayakers and Trout

California once built dams to store water from the wet years so there would be plenty in dry years. But radical environmental laws have squandered our existing water supply, and obstructed the construction of any major dams, while the population has nearly doubled.

Gov. Jerry Brown and President Barack Obama have the authority under the existing Endangered Species Act to convene a process to suspend environmental laws during the drought. Governor Brown also has the authority to request the president to act. Despite repeated calls to do so, neither has responded to requests from Congressman Tom McClintock.

McClintock told me in an interview Wednesday that hydrologists have confirmed that California’s current drought is the worst in 1,200 years. Yet the state’s water officials are letting water out of dams – water we will desperately need this summer and fall.

Last… Read More

Ed Ring

Glazer vs. Bonilla 7th Senate District Battle Reflects New Political Split in California

California’s politics remain polarized, but not justvia the traditional division of Republicans vs. Democrats. As reported here two months ago in the post “Issue of Government Unions Divide Candidates More Than Party Affiliation,” there were two California State Senate contests that remained unresolved after the November 2014 election. One of them, pitting Republican John Moorlach against Republican Don Wagner for the 37th Senate District, was settled on March 17th. Moorlach, who has fought to restore financial sustainability to public employee pension systems, was opposed by government unions. Wagner, also a conservative, but less outspoken than Moorlach on the issue of pension reform, was endorsed by government unions. Moorlach won.

The other race, originally pitting three Democrats against each other for the 7th Senate District, has narrowed to a contest between two candidates that will be settled on May 19th, Democrat Steve Glazer vs. Democrat Susan Bonilla.

It will be interesting to see how voters in a largely Democratic district respond in a… Read More

Katy Grimes

Can California Expect Dem Apparat Thugs Like Wisconsin?

It is day 713 of the IRS scandal and no one has been fired or prosecuted. The recent reign of terror inflicted upon ordinary Americans by the Internal Revenue Service and IRS official Lois Lerner remained largely unreported until Tea Party groups around the country started comparing notes about being personally and professionally terrorized by the taxing agency.

And now we learn that tyranny is also in Wisconsin.

Democratic prosecutors in several Wisconsin cities ordered early-morning raids on political enemies’ homes, described as “multi-year secretive criminal investigations, slanderous and selective leaks to sympathetic media, and intrusive electronic snooping.” The crime was being Conservative.

Democratic Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm… Read More

Richard Rider

Were California real estate prices always so high? Not hardly! Not until the Democrats took over.

A common misconception is that California homes always been much more expensive than U.S. houses. More expensive, yes — but until relatively recently not nearly as much as people think.

Until, that is, the CA state legislature became solidly Democrat, and the progressive policies started to take hold. The legislature swung Democrat in the 1960′s. Both houses have remained solidly Democrat since 1970 (with an odd 2 year State Assembly exception in the 1990′s).

Consider prices for average median value homes:

1960 — California homes 27.0% higher than national median

2000 — California homes 76.8% higher than national median

CA would be higher in 2000 but for the Golden State trend to move to condos — purchased at a considerably higher rate than condos in other states because of the scarcity of (and resulting high price for) CA detached homes. Note: This U.S. Census chart stops at year 2000.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/values.html

To adjust for that house size disparity and to use current figures, look… Read More

Katy Grimes

Fish or Food: Govt. Credibility Gone On Drought Restrictions

While Gov. Jerry Brown has issued record-breaking drought emergency executive orders to California residents to stop watering our “little green lawns,” and take shorter showers or face a $500 fine, other government agencies are draining the state’s reservoirs and sending millions of gallons of precious water to the Pacific Ocean.

Last week, a federal fisheries agency ordered the California branch of the Bureau of Reclamation to release 15,000 acre feet of water (4,800,000 gallons) from the New Melones Dam so 23 fish could swim to the Pacific Ocean. This order came right in the middle of California’s record-breaking drought, as people and farmers are threatened with fines for using water.

The Bureau of Reclamation ordered the South San Joaquin Irrigation Water District to release the water, and then the bureau ordered the SSJID to do it again — this second time was for six… Read More

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