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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Gas Tax Revenues Set New Record

It’s bad enough that California’s gas tax is among the highest in the nation. It’s even worse that the gas tax goes up whenever gas prices rise.

Today I released data showing that high gas prices have resulted in a record windfall for government at the expense of California consumers.

California motorists paid a record $8.3 billion in state and local fuel taxes during the 2011-12 fiscal year.

From July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, the California State Board of Equalization collected $6.9 billion in motor vehicle fuel taxes, up from $6.7 billion the prior year. Excise tax revenues accounted for $5.2 billion, while sales tax revenues accounted for $1.7 billion.

Over the same time period, the state collected $1.4 billion in diesel fuel taxes, up from $1.2 billion the prior year. Excise tax revenues accounted for $343 million, while sales tax revenues accounted for $1.1 billion.

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Katy Grimes

Reform for California only a vote away

Anyone who still has the hope of reforming California knows that it must begin with the political system. Far too many politicians in California are so heavily influenced by big money that constituents seem to be nothing more than an afterthought and a group to pander to for political advertisements.

For many years politicians have sought political contributions from corporations and unions, then voted the way those special interests ordered.

And, unfortunately, too many politically ambitious Republicans have gone along with the big-government party plan instead of thwarting the political dominance from unions and big corporations.

The only way to begin real reform in the Golden State is to neuter the money influences. Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” ballot initiative, could begin the reform process.

Big bucksRead More

Barry Jantz

The “Great” Rostra/FlashReport San Diego General Election Contest

It’s that time again, peeps! Show us your political prognosticating prowess. The contest all the poli-hacks have been awaiting. At least that’s what some tell me, even if they don’t admit it to anyone else.

As a reminder, Christine Moore won the primary contest, in the most competitive finish yet. She hasn’t yet collected on the meal, but we haven’t yet connected at the same Albondigas lunch — my fault. Yet, I am good for it. Trust me.

A reminder of the “rules,” if that’s what you call some of these…

Read the questions closely. No tricks, just read the questions. Send your guesses to ONLY.The highly-paid Rostra staffers are assisting on this, so don’t send to my email.As well, do NOT post … Read More

Jon Fleischman

AD72: Allen (R) vs. Edgar (R) – Now Rated A “Toss Up” Race

The 72nd Assembly District is located in the westernmost part of Orange County, and includes cities such as Westminster, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos and the northern portion of Huntington Beach. The heavy Republican registration in this primarily blue-collar district would have elected a new GOP Assemblymember to replace the term-limited Jim Silva anyway, but this is one of those districts where because of Proposition 14, there are actually two Republicans battling it out for the brass ring.

In the June election, there were four viable Republican candidates — nuclear engineer Long Pham, Huntington Beach City Councilman Matthew Harper, businessman Travis Allen and Los Alamitos Mayor and businessman Troy Edgar. To be honest, all of the momentum going into that June race was with Troy Edgar. Edgar had been running for the local Congressional seat but abruptly pivoted out of a pending show-down there against Long Beach Councilman Gary… Read More

Richard Rider

Finally! CA NOT in worst 4 states in fiscal study (pension obligations)! Yea! Uhhhhh, however…

Recently I’ve been reporting more studies that rank CA the 2nd, 3rd or 4th worst in various fiscal comparisons with other states. I imagine you are as sick of this dreary drumbeat as I am.

Good news! Finally I found a study where California isnotranked in the top four – as in worst four.

. . .

Ya know, it’s not fair — youse guys know what’s coming next, don’t ya. Bunch of smart asses.


To my point. A new wonky academic study has been released, comparing the per household state and local government pension obligations. It’s a grind to work through the 60+ pages of the study — even I didn’t read it all, or understand the actuarial math.

Let’s get to the bottom line. As you weisenheimerscleverly deduced, while CA is not in the worst four — wearenumber five.

And here’s the figure to consider — if we make no reforms, then the average CA household will ANNUALLY owe $2,122.40.… Read More

Katy Grimes

New small biz survey supposedly supports tax increases

A new survey of 500 small businesses claims that a majority of small business owners want high income earners to be taxed more. This is difficult to believe, and amazing timing with the election less than two weeks away.

I participated in an early morning conference call on Thursday with Small Business Majority. They just published the survey titled, “Scientific Opinion Poll Finds Majority of Small Businesses Support Letting Tax Cuts for High Income Earners Expire.”

But during the conference call, when I heard the CEO claim that the majority of entrepreneurs “see a productive role for government in helping small businesses achieve success,” I nearly flipped.

John Arensmeyer, the founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, also claimed nearly six in 10 small business owners “agree that government can play an effective role in helping small businesses thrive.”

The Small Business Majority is a liberal Democratic group based in San Francisco. They… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Asm. Kristin Olsen Rejects The Pledge She Broke, The Pledge That Helped Her Into Office

Yesterday, in a column published in the Sacramento Bee, Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen announced, two weeks before the general election, that she was no longer willing to stand by the written pledge that she made in her first election to the Assembly, to the constituents of her district, “to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes.” She specifically said that she would not renew her pledge as she seeks re-election to her newly drawn district.

In her missive, Assemblywoman Olsen panned the pledge she made to her constituents, saying that, “entrenched special interests interpret what is or is not a violation of the pledge to serve their own agendas — and sometimes their interpretations defy logic.”

Not mentioned in her column is who exactly are these self-serving “entrenched special interests” — with interpretations that, “defy logic.”

No doubt Assemblywoman Olsen’s decision to pen her editorial comes as a product of her own decision, in the final hours of this… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

New Study Shows Californians Overtaxed

By every measure Californians are overtaxed. The latest proof comes from a Tax Foundation report showing that the average Californian’s tax burden worsened in 2010.

At a time when Californians could least afford it, our state and local tax burden was among the highest in the nation.

The Tax Foundation’s Annual State-Local Tax Burden Ranking estimates the average total tax burden for residents of each state. This method takes the point of view of the individual taxpayer, counting all taxes he or she pays, no matter to which state they are paid.

According to the report, Californians paid 11.2% of their income in state and local taxes in 2010—the fourth highest tax burden of any state. Only residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut paid more.

In 2010 the average California resident earned $43,919 but paid $4,934 in state and local taxes—$3,953 to state and local government in California and $981 to governments in other states.

Next year’s report may show some progress given the July 1, 2011 expiration… Read More

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