– Speaker John Perez’s scheme to raise a billion dollars in new taxes and then redistribute that money to public college and university students in California is incorrectly called the “Middle Class Scholarship Program.” The problem with this title, you see, is that scholarship has absolutely nothing to do with it, since there is no requirement that beneficiaries meet any kind of level of performance, such as a grade point average. It would be more appropriately called a welfare program, or a grant program. But I guess those names didn’t poll quite as well.
– A lesson in California state budget physics: When Governor Brown introduces a bad budget, and the Democrats who control the legislature propose their own bad changes to a bad budget, the results is… Well… You guessed it… A bad budget. The document that is nearing final approval isn’t balanced by a long shot. While there are some big problems with it, the biggest gaping hole in it is that it “balances” assuming that California voters will approve a massive tax increase before them on the ballot this November.
– The Right Wing News has produced their fourth annual list of the 20 Hottest Conservative Women In The New Media. Congratulations to Kira Davis and Jenny Erickson from California! For those who celebrate the objectification of women, you can check out the whole list (with photos, of course) here.
– It turns out that for some time now I have had the facts wrong regarding who benefited from the move to the elective single sales factor in the 2009 budget deal versus who is getting screwed from what is now not an effort to undo the 2009 deal, but actually make it worse. It’s not really possible for me to articulate this issue in one paragraph. Look for a column from me on this next week.
– As the end draws near on the final counting of ballots from the June statewide election, it is become less and less likely that Proposition 29′s massive tax increase on tobacco will pass. The consultants for the no side will be using the victory to articulate that despite the vast resources spent to defeat the tax, every dime spent was actually worth it. They have a good case to make. On the yes side, the person or persons who decided that this measure should appear on a June ballot and not a November one — well, they are buying shots for the rest of the team.
– We sure hope FR “friend” David Kiefer of the SIEU 1000 isn’t pouting over the butt-kicking that the United States Supreme Court handed to his organization yesterday. Turns out that while California’s governor and legislature will give Kiefer and company anything they ask for, even some things are beyond their control. It gives one reason to be optimistic.
– With the probable loss of Proposition 29, Californians will have rejected the last eight tax increases before them in the ballot box. I wonder if there is a point at which the far left in California will understand that the taxes paid by Californians are amongst the highest anywhere in America, and that we’re not going to vote to tax ourselves even more.
– The “So Stupid It Can’t Be Real” government program of the month award goes (shockingly) to the City of San Francisco, for their new “WOOF!” proposal. The acronym stands for Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos. The proposal calls for, and I am not making this up, the city to give puppies to homeless people, and pay them a stipend for caring for the animals. So much for Mayor Ed Lee being Too Legit To Quit — the inmates still run the asylum in Ess Eff.
– Given the very strong likelihood that voters will reject tax increases once again in November, you have to wonder what kind of gamble the California Teachers Association is playing here. By allowing education cuts to be offered up as the “Washington Monument” in the attempt to blackmail voters into taxing themselves, there is a big risk to CTA members, who may find themselves bearing the brunt of further cuts. Of course, who are we kidding? As the most powerful public employee union in the state, no doubt there is already agreement on a “Plan B” to make schools whole after the election if the taxes fail. Threats to close the Washington Monument are always offered up, but it never actually closes, you know.
– Yesterday venerable Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton asked in his regular column whether Democrats would ever produce any kind of meaningful pension reform. Almost as if to make sure Skelton didn’t have to grow impatient, the legislature answered his question on the very same day.
– My prediction is that as we get into October and the various tax increase proposals on the ballot are losing by decent margins, that the unions will abandon the campaigns to pass them, and split their political dollars between fighting the Stop Special Interest Money Now ballot measure, and trying to flip a couple of Republican Assembly seats with the goal of simply hiking taxes through the legislature in November.
– Former GOP State Senator and appointed Secretary of State Bruce McPherson just changed his voter registration — from Republican to Decline To State (or in the parlance of life after the passage of Prop. 14 — NPP “No Party Preference”). In the not-too-recent past, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher did the same thing. Both politicians tried to make the case that their decisions were due to broader concerns about the partisan system, blah blah blah. The reality is that in both cases, the decisions by these two, McPherson and Fletcher, were made in the middle of hard-fought campaigns where the specific situation in which each found themselves, led them to a strategic decision to leave the GOP in the quest for winning an election. In the case of Fletcher, it was a “Hail Mary” to try to win election as Mayor of San Diego, and in the case of McPherson, he made his announcement just hours after it was clear that he did not avoid a runoff against a Democrat in his race to be a Supervisor in Santa Cruz County.
– Finally, today we wish California Senator Dianne Feinstein a happy 79th Birthday! As she celebrates her big day, we can all contemplate what was happening in the Golden State the year she was born, 1933. That is the year that construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge. That year Herbert Hoover is succeeded in the White House by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. What else? That year the Gestapo was formed in Germany, Prohibition was repealed, and FM radio was patented. Blow out those candles!