FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Fleischman

LA County “End Run” on Prop. 26 With Paper Bag Tax Off To Court Of Appeals

Back in 2010 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed an ill-advised ban on plastic grocery bags in incorporated parts of the the county. It was a bad idea for sure, but don’t take my word for it. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich penned a column for the FlashReport at the time, explaining why he voted against the ban.

As part of the county ordinance banning plastic bags all-together at grocery stores, the county also mandated that stores collect a fee from shoppers every time they sold them a paper bag. The goal from the big-government social engineers is straight forward — to restrict the liberty of Americans in Los Angeles County to use they bags that they prefer to use, and instead force them into using recyclable bags (which can be very gross).

A lawsuit was filed against Los Angeles County against the ordinance because of the de facto tax on paper bags. Californian’s recently passed Proposition 26 which requires that such a tax must be approved by… Read More

Ron Nehring

Rip Van Filner: Is the Democrat in the San Diego Mayor’s race interested in anything?

Congressman Bob Filner has been in Washington too long, and it’s impacting his ability to wage a serious campaign for San Diego mayor.

Facing the serious threat of losing his House seat in another challenge from State Senator Juan Vargas (D), Filner created his own political retirement plan in the form of a race for San Diego Mayor. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time: the City of San Diego has 76,000+ more Democrats than Republicans, and he would probably be the only Democrat in the race. Piece of cake, right?

It turns out that running for mayor is different than running for re-election in your bulletproof-Democrat House district. First there’s the more competitive nature of the race itself. Additionally, running for an executive office is different than running to be a legislator: voters expect from would-be executives a vision and plans, not just statements of how one would vote on certain issues, with some ideological red meat thrown in the mix.

Filner talks a good game – he’s well practiced in all of the typical left-wing talking points on a whole host of issues. That’s par for the course for someone… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Prop 29: Another Grab for Dollars with No Accountability to Taxpayers

April 17 may be the deadline of another tax filing season, but it’s just the start of Democrats’ 2012 tax initiative season. In fact, in less than 60 days, voters must take a stand against and defeat the first round of this year’s tax hike measures: Proposition 29.

Prop. 29, like many other tax increases in recent years, seeks to target an unpopular activity, smoking, and increase taxes to combat something of universal concern, in this case cancer research.

Cut from the same cloth as previous taxpayer-funded ballot-box boondoggles like high-speed rail, the stem-cell research initiative and First 5, Prop. 29 is a $735 million annual tax increase that creates a brand new bureaucracy overseen by unelected political appointees who have unchecked authority to spend billions of taxpayer dollars.

At a time when Democrats are threatening more devastating cuts to education and public safety if voters refuse to approve Governor Brown’s tax measure in November, Prop. 29 raises nearly $1 billion in taxes a year, yet fails to do anything to solve our massive budget deficit or require that Sacramento control its wasteful spending habits.

What advocates for… Read More

Richard Rider

Social Security by Choice: The Terrific Experience of Three Texas Counties

RIDER COMMENT: This little-known story of three Texas counties that set up their OWN unique and highly successful social security plans (a brief option that has since gone away) deserves widespread publicity. Years ago I wrote about this, but frankly had forgotten about their instructive experience.

The article below from NCPA is an excellent summation of their approach — and the impressive result. To see the bottom line graph comparing the paltry SS payouts to this plan, you’ll need to go to the URL. But there are other benefits as well — for both taxpayers and the employees.

This article is a “MUST READ!”

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http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba765?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ncpapub+%28NCPA+Publications+%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Social Security by Choice: The Experience of Three Texas Counties Thursday, April 12, 2012

by Merrill Matthews

Stock market… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Failed Court Computer System a Colossal Waste of Taxpayer Dollars

We expected the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), the San Francisco based bureaucracy that manages the statewide court system, to make all kinds of pathetic excuses for wasting more than half a billion dollars of taxpayer money on the failed California Case Management System (CCMS). We also expected the same litany of excuses from the Judicial Council, an insular group chaired by the Chief Justice that repeatedly approved millions of dollars in spending for CCMS, even as courts were closing their doors to the public for lack of funds. Still, even we were surprised to see the editorial boards of several major California newspapers – among them the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee – glossing over glaring evidence of waste and mismanagement at the hands of the AOC. It’s too bad these print media titans are content to lap up and then print “editorials” that simply track AOC talking-points.

Shame on them all.

In a recent editorial, the Bee lamented the demise of CCMS as a failure to bring the judicial branch into the electronic age. The Times suggested lawyers can’t track case progress without phone… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

‘Single Taxpayer Web Portal’ Advances

Today I testified in support of legislation by Senator Tom Harman that would direct California’s three tax agencies to work toward the goal of consolidating tax self-services into a single taxpayer-friendly website.

These difficult economic times highlight the need for government to eliminate bureaucratic red-tape that entangles businesses. Many California businesses have to file and pay taxes to three separate agencies, and taxpayers are often confused as to which agency is responsible for a particular tax: BOE, EDD or FTB.

SB 1326 would streamline this process. Under the bill’s provisions, the website www.taxes.ca.gov would be enhanced to allow taxpayers to file tax returns, claim refunds, and request for relief of interest or penalties with one login.

Taxpayers would no longer need to navigate through three separate tax agencies to access forms and information, saving taxpayers time and increasing voluntary compliance.

Just as online banking has provided individuals and businesses with easier… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Senator Dutton to Author Gas Tax Cap

I’m pleased to report that Senator Bob Dutton is stepping forward to fight for California consumers who are sick of high gas prices. Lawmakers like to complain about high gas prices. Now they have a chance to do something to help.

The legislation, which I am sponsoring, will cap the state excise tax on gasoline at 35.7 cents and limit sales tax to the first $4.00 per gallon of gasoline. It would also cap diesel taxes at their current levels.

Most Californians don’t realize they’re already paying about $10 in tax each time they fill up their gas tank. Without a cap, that number could get even worse.

Should the average annual fuel price rises just one dollar—from $4 to $5 per gallon—the typical California consumer would be forced to pay 8 cents more in taxes per gallon. For most consumers this would translate into a $1 or more in additional tax for each tank of gas.

As a whole, California consumers would be burdened $1.4 billion more in gas taxes each year – on top of the nearly $7 billion in taxes they are already paying.

According to the… Read More

Jon Fleischman

An Open Letter To Assemblyman Jeff Gorell

Republican State Assemblyman Jeff Gorell recently returned from a year of active-duty with the military, stationed in Afghanistan. Yesterday was his first day back in the State Capitol since his departure in March of 2011…. I have penned this letter to the Assemblyman to welcome him home…

Dear Assemblyman Gorell:

Welcome back from your tour of duty in Afghanistan. We all know that freedom is in fact not free at all. Many people past, present and future put their lives at risk to defend this amazing country — you are one of those people, and for that you are owed a debt of gratitude from the rest of us who have not served in the Armed Forces. I also want to thank your wife and children for their sacrifice — to be without a husband, or a dad, for a year is no small thing!

I wish that I could tell you that while you were away, that the Democrats and their public employee union allies who control the politics in California have figured out how get our state government in good order — but I am afraid things are, well, exactly where they were when you… Read More

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