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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Richard Rider

CA appeals court overturns “soak businesses” parcel tax

I hate being a Cassandra, always reporting bad news. Well, I’m SUPPOSED to hate being a Cassandra. I’m a little weird about it, actually.

But no matter. Today I have a bit of GOOD news for California taxpayers. In a significant 3-0 ruling by a California appeals court, a wrongly structured Alameda school district parcel tax was struck down, and the money collected has to be refunded to taxpayers.

The state law concerning parcel taxes is clear. The parcel tax has to be a uniform dollar amount, regardless of the value of the property. I suppose the theory is that such a tax benefits each taxpayer equally, so the tax has to reflect that. Exceptions are made for seniors and the disabled, but NOT for commercial property.

The tax grabbers know full well that ‘soak-the-rich” measures resonate with voters. And, after all, there are more voters than business owners. So some agencies and jurisdictions have been trying to pass parcel taxes that allow commercial taxes to be taxed on some sliding scale — bigger payments for bigger parcels. Such was the case with this tax.

“No can do” says the court.… Read More

Katy Grimes

Right-to-work is a real economic stimulus

In Michigan, game-changing right to work legislation was just passed. The change will make it legal for employers to pay workers who choose not to be union members, and would make paying union dues voluntary.

Currently, Michigan employers are required to fire unionized workers who do not pay dues.

Despite the left claiming that big bad business will stop paying living wages to workers, the opposite will happen. There will be a leveling of the unrealistic, skyrocketing union wages that unions demand, and hopefully, employers can once again be competitive.

When unions and governments demand that business owners and employers pay employees higher wages than the market will bear, ultimately it renders the business non-competitive. But when businesses are allowed to fairly compete, often times everyone wins. If… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Random Thoughts on Kevin Jeffries, Jim DeMint, Supermajorities, and “The Bargaining Table”


It took a couple of weeks after election day for conservative Kevin Jeffries to declare victory in his campaign to oust long-time County Supervisor Bob Buster from his job as a Riverside County Supervisor. Jeffries, a former Chairman of the Riverside County GOP has just finished up a six year stint in the California State Assembly. On the campaign trail, Jeffries made a lot of campaign promises. Well, he’s kept one of them — a biggie — before he’s even been sworn in. Jeffries would like to see the County Supervisors moving out of a pension system and into a 401(k) system with the Supervisors themselves responsible for funding their retirement accounts. As one who practices what he preaches, in filling out his “employment” paperwork with the county, Supervisor-Elect Jeffries in fact declined to participate in the generous taxpayer-funded pension plan. One can only imagine the puzzled look on the County HR staffer when he handed back the… Read More

Ray Haynes

It Has Begun….4 Dead in Northridge

Last year, around this time, I predicted that the approach my Democrat friends have with respect to dealing with criminals would have serious repercussions. Their “soft of crime”/rehabilitate the criminal attitude has claimed its first high profile horrific outcome, the killing of 4 people in Northridge by someone who should have been in prison at the time he committed the murders. Four innocents were killed by criminal justice policies of political leaders who think they are enlightened and compassionate.

Ka Pasasouk is a bad guy. I have read of at least two serious or violent felonies he has committed in the past, an armed robbery and an assault with a deadly weapon. Most recently he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, a nonserious felony. Despite his ugly past, in and out of prison, he was released from prison, put in the county probation system, and allowed to live amongst an innocent civilian population. He should have been in prison for the rest of his life last year. Four people died this month because those in government charged with protecting us let him walk around free.

I’m not just blaming the line workers in the… Read More

Katy Grimes

CEQA needs an overhaul, but don’t count on it

In the wee hours of the night, at the end of the last legislative session, language was added into a bill to push forward reforms to California’s 40-year old environmental policy, the California Environmental Quality Act.

The reforms were sponsored by the CEQA Working Group, a business-labor-government coalition. Intended to reduce frivolous environmental litigation and duplicative government oversight, the reforms ended up being part of a smoggy deal.

Before anyone could stop them, the Democratic leadership swooped in on the bill and changed it.

SB 317

Because of California’s stringent environmental laws and project-killing local planning requirements, nearly all public and private projects in the state are legally challenged under CEQA, even when a project meets all other environmental standards of state law.

SB 317, co-authored by Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, a gut-and-amend bill, would not have actually changed CEQA, but instead would have introduced a companion law to dictate how CEQA is enforced. The new legislation would have restricted certain types of lawsuits, and would have exempted some projects from CEQA… Read More

Richard Rider

Feds spend $368 million on San Diego courthouse for FEWER courtrooms

Here’s a story suitable for the Bizarro comic strip. The U.S. government has spent $368 million on a lavish new federal courthouse addition in San Diego, largely to increase the number of courtrooms to handle the increasing workload. Butthe geniuses in DC decided that the spending was too lavish (it was), so they deduced that the solution was to require FEWER courtrooms than BEFORE the project was built.

Moreover, the resulting operational mishmash and empty space makes the courts incredibly inefficient, with people running between buildings when the space IS available WITHIN the (now empty) buildings to improve operations.

We had 24 courtrooms BEFORE the $368 million was spent, and now the feds limit our district operations to 22 courtrooms AFTER construction is completed. Our courts are badly backed up, and this is how government solves the problem.

You can’t make this stuff up.

But that’s… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

The President’s “Offer”

The President’s “”Offer”": That is not a typo. I intended to have two sets of quotation marks around the word “offer”. That’s because it is unspeakably absurd to call what the president proposed on the fiscal cliff an offer. It was more like a liberal wish list. There was literally nothing in this proposal for Republicans to like and a liberal (pun intended) sprinkling of elements that most Republicans absolutely hate. For example, the proposal (I will no longer flatter this monstrosity with the label “offer”) raises taxes on families making over $250,000 ($200k for individuals) by more than would result from going over the “fiscal cliff”. On top of that, Obama threw in some stimulus spending, an extension of the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, and an extension of the payroll tax “holiday” – which means more and more Social Security benefits are borrowed. This package actually both increases taxes and increases the deficit because there is so much additional spending. As a false gesture towards something reasonable, the president says they will make some unspecified… Read More

Katy Grimes

Legislative fractured fairy tale

The swearing-in of new legislators is usually a party atmosphere. Lawmakers feel celebratory after long campaigns. Yesterday’s swearing-in was not a disappointment however, along with the celebratory mood, there was an air of fantasy and fairy tale.

This is the largest freshman class, with 39 newly elected lawmakers, since 1966.

Perhaps the party mood was because of the new Democratic supermajority. While Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg insists that Democrats will not go hog wild with their unobstructed power, not everyone believes that. “I just don’t think we should come hurtling out of the gates talking about a bunch of new taxes,” Steinberg told media Monday.

“It’s in their DNA,” one Capitol staffer told me, but asked to remain anonymous. “It would go completely against everything they stand for. They can’t help themselves.”

Fractured fairy tales

When it came time to nominate the Assembly Speaker, the Capitol sergeants should have handed out airsick bags.

Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Humbolt, nominated current Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles. Chesbro said Perez… Read More

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