FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Fleischman

WSJ OpEd: California’s New Green Tax

From today’s Wall Street Journal…

CALIFORNIA’S NEW GREEN TAX Wall Street Journal Editorial

It may be time for California to formally apply for membership in the European Union. Its taxing, borrowing and regulatory policies are already more in line with the southern tier of Euroland than with other U.S. states, and the Golden State has taken another lurch in the Euro-direction by becoming the first jurisdiction in the nation to adopt a full-scale cap-and-trade tax to combat global warming. The new taxes and regulations will require a nearly 30% reduction in carbon emissions from power plants, manufacturers, cars and trucks by 2020.

This green tax was signed into law in 2006 by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when the state’s economy was flying high. California was going to be the green role model for other states. Now no one believes that fantasy. Ten states in the Northeast entered a regional cap and trade compact to limit greenhouse gases in 2008, but that market is now dying if not dormant and states (recently New Jersey) are dropping out.

In 2006 it also seemed… Read More

Ron Nehring

More Americans Identifying as Republicans: How to Press the Advantage

In politics, as in economics, we see leading and lagging indicators that provide us with insight on where the country is heading. Leading indicators predict future trends, while lagging indicators show us where we are today.

Now, one of the leading political indicators has turned in favor of Republicans.

Following the 2008 election which saw the election of Barack Obama and a solidly Democratic Congress, the key leading indicator of political party self-identification turned strongly against Republicans. Gallup found the portion of the voters willing to call themselves Republicans had fallen to a modern low point. Many Republicans started referring to themselves as independents.

Political party self-identification is a critical leading indicator because it helps to predict future voter behavior. Voters are more likely to cast a ballot for a candidate of a party with which they identify, rather than an opposition party.

The correlating lagging indicator is voter registration. In states with registration by party, people obviously tend to register with the… Read More

Congressman Tom McClintock

Principles of Plenty

The following is a speech I recently delivered to the California Independent Automobile Dealers Association, and wanted to share it with FlashReport readers…

We are in the third year of policies predicated on the assumption that if Government just injects enough money into the economy, it can jump start consumer spending and therefore, economic growth.

For three years, this administration has squandered more than a trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth in pursuit of this assumption.

In so doing, it has incurred a debt greater than that acquired by this nation from the first day of the George Washington administration to the last day of the George H.W. Bush administration.

It has cost our nation its triple-A credit rating and it now threatens to bankrupt our country.

And not only have its policies not worked, but they have needlessly prolonged and deepened our economic suffering.

These policies have not worked because they CANNOT work. Government cannot inject a single dollar into the economy until it has first taken that dollar out of the very same… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Matt Rexroad (a.k.a.) “Beanie Boy” Models For Perry Swag

If you are a supporter of Rick Perry for President, looking to buy some cool swag, there’s a website for you to buy everything from shirts and stickers to buttons or even a coveted embroidered beanie hat. How exactly would you look in the beanie hat? The site comes complete with a beanie-sporting fashion model — who is none other than our own blogger and California politico (and potential candidate for Congress) Matt Rexroad.

If you are organizing a Rick Perry for President party at your home (or even at the local Chuck E. Cheese), we hear that Matt is willing to bring all of the swag and put on a fashion show. Though if you are overcome with the desire to stick dollar bills in Matt’s belt, as he dances around to official Rick Perry rally music, he no doubt will remind you that… Read More

Ron Nehring

Union-Controlled San Diego Unified Edges Closer to Insolvency

Officials at California’s second largest school district, San Diego Unified, are now openly discussing the possibility of insolvency.

Predictably, district officials are blaming state education cuts for the district’s massive financial problems, including the prospect of a $118 million deficit this year. To put that amount in perspective, when I served on the Grossmont Union High School District Board of Trustees, our entire annual budget for a district of 24,000 students was $140 million.

So, are state education cuts alone to blame for San Diego Unified’s woes? Not so fast.

Two years ago, well before the current round of education cuts went into effect, district officials were already seeing the financial warning signs of trouble ahead.

Did the district take every possible step to bring costs down when the insolvency warning light started blinking on the dashboard? It doesn’t appear that way.

Earlier this week I discussed on this site how despite the warning signs, the union-dominated board voted to… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Faux Pension Reform – Taking The Wind Out Of The Sails Of Substantive Reform

Earlier today a FlashReport reader emailed me, surprised that the public employee union bosses would agree to any kind of pension reforms, not matter how insignificant. He pointed out that any reforms are routinely killed by the legislature — and he pointed to legislation by Senator Tony Strickland this year, killed by Democrats, that would have caused a public employee’s pension benefits to be taken away if they were convicted of a felony in the conduct of the very job from which the benefits were derived. Good points.

My response to him was that the reason why the union bosses will be willing to support some minor reforms (addressing some spiking, some airtime purchasing, etc.) was to try and take the wind out of the sails of real pension reform. With the same surety (polling) that union bosses know that the public will not support broad-based tax increases, they also know… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Of Unions And Pension Reform

MEANINGFUL PENSION REFORM NOT LIKELY FROM UNDER THE DOME

The Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert Blog reports that tomorrow Governor Brown is going to announce some sort of public employee pension reform plan. The presumption is that Brown is going to formalize what he referred to last March as his “no loggerheads” faux pension reform — the folly of which I wrote about at the time. This is where you throw out some common sense ideas to curb some egregious abuses of the system, maybe combined with some changes for new hires. The problem, of course, is that there is only one real yardstick to measure a public employee pension reform proposal…

Last year a study out of Stanford University pegged the state’s unfunded pension liability at a 500 billion… Read More

Ron Nehring

San Diego Unified Adopted PLA Despite Insolvency Warning Signs

The San Diego Unified School District is in big trouble financially, and the district now faces the prospect of a state takeover amid a deteriorating financial situation for one of the largest school districts in the state.

While recent changes in state education funding are being blamed for the districts poor financial condition, reports have emerged that there have been discussions within the district for at least two years concerning the potential for insolvency.

The time frame for these discussions is noteworthy because it turns out that at roughly the same time there were internal warnings about the possibility of the district becoming insolvent, the union-backed board majority voted to impose a Project Labor Agreement on $2.1 billion in new construction approved under Proposition S, passed in 2008.

As a former school board trustee, I’ve seen first-hand how powerful interests line up to pass school bonds. Unfortunately, many districts rack up big maintenance backlogs as a result of political pressure to dump all available resources into… Read More

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