FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Coupal

HJTA Initiative Would Make Housing More Affordable

As part of an ongoing effort to help those who struggle to keep a roof​ over their heads, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed an​ initiative that would increase the homeowners exemption and the​ renters tax credit.This is the first step in qualifying the initiative, the​ California Homeowners and Renters Tax Relief Act of 2016, for the​ ballot.The Office of the Attorney General has about 60 days to provide​ a​ title and summary so that signature gathering can begin.

Only about one-third of Californians can afford to realize the American​ dream of owning their own home. The homeowners’ property tax​ exemption of $7,000 (worth a $70 deduction on your property taxes)​ has not been increased since 1972 when the median priced home sold​ for $28,660​. Currently, an average home is selling for nearly ten (10)​ times that amount, and yet the homeowners’ exemption remains​ unchanged. Increasing the homeowners’ property tax exemption from $7,000 to​ $32,000 will save every homeowner in California an additional $250 per​ year.​ This will help to mitigate the heavy financial burden placed on​ homeowners from… Read More

Assemblyman Jim Patterson

Assembly Hearing to Shed Light on True Commitment to Farmworker Rights

Central Valley farm workers will leave their jobs in the fields and make the journey to Sacramento tomorrow morning to support a proposed new law that would finally give them the same rights afforded to almost every other union member in America and it’s my sincere hope that they are victorious.

As the law stands today California farm workers are essentially powerless when it comes to determining their own labor contracts. They can’t be in the room when their contracts are being hammered out by the union and the Ag Labor Board, they don’t have the right to approve or decline the contract that was created without their knowledge or input. Also, if the union they chose to represent them abandons them, they have no recourse.

Thousands of farm workers from the Central Valley have been… Read More

Katy Grimes

Farm Employees Want ‘Right-To-Work’ In Union Dominated California

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently signed a right-to-work bill into law. This is significant because a”right-to-work” law is a statute that prohibits union security agreements, or agreements between labor unions and employers, that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees’ membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment.

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown has ignored thousands of farm workers who don’t want to be unionized. Apparently there is no “right-to-work” in California under this governor.

The significant labor reforms enacted by Walker have struck many important blows against organized labor, effectively ending collective bargaining for Wisconsin public workers. In the four years since these reforms were enacted, the state’s most influential labor unions have been forced to… Read More

Jon Coupal

CALIFORNIA MOTORISTS “DON’T GET NO RESPECT”

At nearly 66 cents per gallon, California motorists pay the second highest gasoline tax in the nation. When the hidden “carbon tax” on producers — which raises the price of a gallon of gas about 15 cents — is counted, our state is far and away number one.

To add insult to injury, we are told that we are not paying enough. Sacramento has been hatching plans to squeeze even more from motorists including a proposal to charge every driver a $52 annual transportation fee, and a monitoring program so that car owners can be charged for miles driven.

Now there is no question that road and bridge maintenance is lagging in the Golden State. Most counties have an average pavement rating of “at risk” or “poor” according to a finding by the California Transportation Commission. In addition to the safety hazards caused by poor road maintenance, there is a direct cost to the average California driver of hundreds of dollars for vehicle maintenance and tire wear.

Before assuming that that the Sacramento politicians are justified in seeking to dig deeper into drivers’ wallets, it is important to point out that billions in transportation tax… Read More

Richard Rider

UPDATE: Houston STILL has more housing starts than ALL of CA

I’ve posted on this topic before. But the numbers have been updated, with the vaunted post-recession “housing building boom” in California fizzling out. It’s a sobering graphic.

http://www.aei.org/publication/monday-afternoon-linkage-4/

Chart of the Day. More permits for single-family homes have been issued in Houston than in the entire state of California both: a) this year through March (9,184 in Houston vs. 9,081 in California) and b) from 2011 through March 2015 (133,462 vs. 132,915).

Related: Theone-way rental rate for a 26-foot U-Haul truckfrom Los Angeles,Read More

Richard Rider

Why investors and business people often hate the free market

Recently I spoke to Pacific Beach Realtors about the benefits of Prop 13. Well received, of course. I’m seeking more such speaking engagements.

But for me the most interesting aspect was a private discussion I had with a knowledgeable lobbyist for the CA apartment industry. The rep made the solid observation that their clients — real estate trusts — LOVE to invest in California apartments (and other commercial property) because they can count on the state and local governments to do everything they can to keep out future competition. The resulting scarcity drives up rents, and increases the resale value of such properties.

It’s a point I’ve been making for decades: The free market is good for CONSUMERS, but not necessarily welcome by INVESTORS. For instance, the free market in Houston is great for home buyers and renters, but lousy for real estate investors. Any increase in demand is shortly matched by an increase in supply.

All investors and business people seek to provide goods and services that have limited competitors. In a free market that works well, but when government gets involved, it can turn into crony… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Brown Jumps-the-Shark on Climate Change Policy

California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an Executive Order Wednesday for a new target for greenhouse gas emissions cuts. Brown said it was critical to address what he called “an ever-growing threat” posed by global warming to California’s economy and well-being. Brown’s order goes even further than Pres. Obama’s radical proposals, but aligns with the European Union and United Nations proposals. Jerry Brown hasjumped-the-sharkon climate change (Origin of this phrase comes from a Happy Days episode where the Fonz jumped a shark on waterskis. Thus was labeled the lowest point of the show).

Senate Republican Minority Leader Bob Huff correctly replied to Brown’s latest edict:

“The state already has the nation’s most stringent goals. Before moving the goal post, we should be careful about the impact of increased energy costs. These higher costs will hurt the low income and working poor the hardest and will create an even greater divide between the haves and have nots. At what point does being on the leading edge of climate change and… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Bill Allowing Tax Agency to Honor Divorce Agreements Advances

Legislation that I’m sponsoring with Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma advanced in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee today. SB 526 (Fuller) would give the Franchise Tax Board authority to honor legal divorce agreements regarding payment of taxes when determining if one spouse can be relieved of a joint tax liability.

If two parties reach a court-approved agreement that they believe has fairly divided assets and debts, then a tax agency should respect that agreement. Telling taxpayers that they must go back to court in order to enforce a divorce agreement is inefficient government. This must be changed.

Most of the income tax appeals to reach the Board of Equalization that include a divorce settlement agreement involve women who believe they were protected from tax liability, but discover their only recourse to enforce the agreement is to go back to court or pay the tax.

SB 526 will assist in easing the financial burden of divorced women who should have no legal obligation to pay the tax, as stipulated by their divorce agreement.

Here’s what Senate Republican Leader-Elect Jean Fuller had to say:

“Divorce can be difficult… Read More

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