FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Fleischman

Brown’s Ballot Measure Committee Has No Expenses?

I am really not sure, at all, when Jerry Brown has time to be Governor of California. I know that it was to that job to which he was elected, but it seems to me that Brown must be spending all of his free time as a volunteer handing every aspect of his drive to place massive tax increases on the November ballot. In the Form 460 Campaign Finance Filing for the Governor’s tax increase ballot measure committee, Californians to Protect Schools, Universities, and Public Safety, a ballot measure committee supported by Governor Jerry Brown, the busy-bee Governor reported bringing in contributions totaling $1,198,311.56. That’s a pretty serious haul, and no doubt it involved considerable time and effort by Brown and his volunteer army…

You see, a review of the committee’s campaign financials that were filed yesterday list precisely no expenditures nor do they list any accrued but unpaid expenses. This means that all of these funds have been raised without the help of any professional fundraising consultants, whatsoever. And God bless… Read More

Richard Rider

Jerry Brown claims CA HSR can be built far cheaper — AND will be “free”

In a recent interview, Governor Jerry Brown claimed that CA High Speed Rail will cost “a lot less” than the current $100 billion figure that “people are saying” it’s going to cost. And he found a gold mine of free money that’s going to pay for it. The man needs some serious drug testing.

Jerry, $100 billion is not “what people are saying” HSR is going to cost. It’s what the PEER REVIEW EXPERTS and the LEGISLATIVE ANALYST’S OFFICE (among others) say it’s going to cost — at a minimum. Actually, to be fair, with the usual cost overruns, they suggest it will cost about $117 billion. And it’s unlikely that will even include San Diego at all.

And Jerry, you think that AB32 “cap and trade” fees (a separate disaster) are to be considered mad money — free funds that can be frivolously spent on HSR with no concerns about the state’s far more pressing needs — including that public education thingy.

Frankly I hope the governor “stays on track,” barreling down the line to his HSR train wreck. This nonsense will serve as the poster child for us opponents of further raising California taxes. It all but assures our eighth straight… Read More

Jon Fleischman

It’s Time For Redevelopment Agencies To Flatline

On February 1, California’s 425 local Redevelopment Agencies will be gone — terminated by action of the legislature and Governor, along with an awesome ruling by the State Supreme Court. Much has appeared on the FlashReport, penned by yours truly and by many guest columnists, on why the elimination of these agencies is a tremendous public policy victory for the people of California. If there is going to be one last “Hail Mary” play by the California Redevelopment Association or the League of Cities — look for it in the next 72 hours.

Capitol Democrats have their own reasons for not wanting to extend the life of these RDA’s – primarily ending the diversion of tax dollars into the RDA’s. Republicans should be opposing any efforts to throw a lifeline to RDA’s this week for three important reasons…

The first is that as conservatives, we should be opposing the monkeying around with the free market that is done as local politicians use taxpayer dollars to play “Sim City” — picking winners and losers as if they were feudal lords from the middle ages. This had led, among other things, to a … Read More

Bill Leonard

Can Facebook Save Jerry Brown?

The short answer to the title question is No. Although from the way the press flaks for him you might believe the opposite. Now that I hear others repeating the press cover story that the upcoming Facebook IPO is going to balance the state’s budget I have to speak out. Facebook is a worldwide corporation that happens to be based in California. It is engaged in a constant battle with the other Internet behemoths such that it either must grow or die. One possible way of growing is to take the corporation public raising the financial resources to effectively compete. Thanks to past Wall Street scandals the process for going public with stock sales , known as the Initial Public Offering (IPO), is expensive and time consuming. The rumors are growing that Facebook will publish the preliminary filings in the next few weeks starting a minimum four month process before the IPO can occur. However, aside from the California corporate taxes that Facebook already pays, there is no taxable transaction in an IPO. The initial sale of stock from the corporation to the public does not generate any income and therefore no tax is due. There is no possible windfall for… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Bernie Madoff’s Quarterly Report

This week, California’s two largest government employee pension funds released their 2011 earnings reports revealing poor performances that may lead to huge taxpayer bailouts. If Bernie Madoff had issued honest quarterly reports like these, his investors would have seen his fraud and closed down his Ponzi scheme before it cost them billions.

A recent Stanford University study shows California taxpayers may have to pay up to $300 billion to cover shortfalls in the statewide pension funds during the next 30 years — CalPERS, CalSTRS and UC. The $300 billion projection assumes government pension funds will earn an average 6.2 percent return, a more realistic estimate than the 7.75-8% average return the funds use to obscure their huge debts. Of course the actual earnings could be far less during the next three decades, raising the final cost much, much higher.

It is incredible that we are betting our civic and economic futures on the stock market, but that is the condition of offering government employees risky defined benefit plans. With so many of our financial eggs in one basket we must carefully watch that basket. When CalPERS reported earning… Read More

Mark Standriff

New Chapter, New Campaign, New Life

It’s true.

I am no longer the Communications Director for the California Republican Party, having stepped down earlier this month to start playing in the Political Consultant’s sandbox. It’s a career that is only slightly more stable than my two previous jobs, radio show host and acting.

The first call I received after the announcement was released was from Jon Fleischman, who immediately offered some prime real estate as an official FlashReport blogger. I said “Yes” before he finished the word “blogg—”.

I look forward to writing about all kinds of political news in this space (Lord knows in California alone, there’s plenty to write about) and I’m especially looking forward to offering my perspective on Jerry’s shiny pony tax hike plan as it moves toward November like the political equivalent of the Bataan Death March.

And I’ve been overwhelmed by the kind words and encouragement that friends and peers have sent, and humbled at compliments from the press corps. I’m sure you’re all deranged, or that you owe me dinner.

Meanwhile, I need to keep my CFO happy. So…time to… Read More

Jon Coupal

HJTA Website Has Added New Website Features

At the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, we are always working to make HJTA.org your best source for taxpayer information and tools to fight back against the politicians who want more of your money.

Please go to HJTA.org now and check out these new features:

Letter templates for contacting your legislators Rally posters and desktop wallpapers Proposition 13 banners for your website Videos & photos of taxpayer events And, of course, you will find the latest California Commentary, Taxpayer Action Tools, news of concern to taxpayers, and answers to questions about Proposition 13 and property taxes.

So visit HJTA.org now — and be sure to bookmark the page!… Read More

Ron Nehring

The Iron Lady: Important Lessons for Leaders in this Excellent Film

One of the most extraordinary political leaders of our lifetime is Margaret Thatcher, and the new film The Iron Lady provides a wonderful opportunity for her to inspire a new generation of conservative leaders around the world.

The typical college student today was born after the Reagan presidency, and was too young to remember the leadership Mrs. Thatcher provided Great Britain during a truly critical time in that nation’s history.

As a former College Republican leader myself, I’ve seen firsthand how tomorrow’s political leaders are drawn from the ranks of today’s campus political groups. And often the transformation from young leader to government or party official happens very quickly. In my own life, I was only out of college for eight years when I became the leader of the Republican Party of San Diego County, one of the largest counties in America.

Margaret Thatcher embodies a long list of traits that are critical in a leader, and The Iron Lady conveys many of those traits masterfully.

As someone who grew up during the Reagan/Thatcher era,… Read More

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