FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

UFW Contracts Pay Less than Minimum Wage

The United Farm Workers unionrecently admitted that their contracts do not provide a living wage. They did it in a room full of people.

I attended the conference UC Davis held April 17 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the the Agricultural Labor Relations Act. I had nearly didn’t make it, as the conference was supposedly sold out prior to the deadline. But it quickly became apparent that leaders of the United Farm Workers union manipulated the event registration. The United Farm Workers labor union claimed it was bringing busloads of workers to the event, and reserved the seats. The day of the event, six workers showed up; there were more UFW employees at the conference than actual workers.

These are the tactics used by the desperate UFW, clinging to relevance by a thread. UFW membership is hovering at 3,300 members, according to Philip Martin, UC Davis Professor of Agricultural and Resource… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Democrats Block Commonsense Legislation to Refund Illegal Taxes

If you pay an illegal tax, you deserve to get your money back. There’s no good reason the state should keep money that rightfully belongs to taxpayers.

The Democrats in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee disagree, and today they again blocked commonsense legislation to protect taxpayers. AB 867 (Wagner), which I sponsored, would have required the State of California to provide a full refund to all individuals who paid a tax later declared illegal or unconstitutional.

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

AB 867, which was supported by taxpayer advocacy groups, would have required the state to automatically issue refunds to taxpayers whose information is up to date. It also would have opened up an additional appeals period of one year after a state tax is declared illegal or unconstitutional, giving taxpayers a chance to apply for the refunds they deserve.

Assemblyman… Read More

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

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