FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Response to Gas Tax Vote

Today the Board of Equalization voted 5-0 to reduce the state’s gasoline excise tax rate by 6 cents, from 36 cents to 30 cents, effective July 1 of this year.

This gas tax cut, although less than originally proposed, is still good news for overtaxed Californians, who currently pay both higher gas prices and higher taxes than residents of other states.

Today’s vote stems from a confusing and complicated formula known as the ‘gas tax swap.’ The Legislature enacted the formula a few years ago in order to redirect more than a billion dollars of transportation funding elsewhere. Under the gas tax swap law, the Board must annually adjust the gas tax rate to guard against over collection of tax.

State revenues from fuel taxes reached a record $8.7 billion last fiscal year. Today’s vote will help correct the over collection of tax that is resulting from lower gas prices.

But even after this tax cut takes effect July 1, Californians will continue to pay more gas taxes and fees than residents in nearly every other state. In fact, the Board’s cut won’t even fully offset the cost of a new ‘hidden gas tax’ that took effect January 1 to help fund… Read More

Katy Grimes

Brown Administration Tied To Scandal That Took Down Oregon Governor

Corruption and scandal resulting in the recent resignation of Democratic Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, appears to be just the tip of a very big iceberg. The ho-hum media coverage of the story made it sound like just another unscrupulous governor and first lady. But the Kitzhaber scandal has evolved into much more — multiple governors and high-level staff involved in shady green energy deals, with national entanglements.

Washington D.C. attorney Chris Horner discovered ingrained collusion with top level staff in Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office who enlisted other top level staff in California and Washington State governors’ offices to “spread climate coordination and collaboration to a larger group of governors across the U.S.”

The Art of the Deal

Emails from 2013 and 2014 reveal Kitzhaber agreed to a deal with the governors of California and Washington, to implement low-carbon fuel standards and develop a scheme to foist green-energy agendas on multiple states.

Oregon’s “first lady” Cylvia Hayes played a key… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California Needs a Simpler Gas Tax, Not a Higher One

My latest op-ed as seen in The Sacramento Bee.

With prices at the pump heading back up, news of a possible cut to the state’s gas tax will surely cheer California drivers.

On Tuesday, the State Board of Equalization will consider a proposal to cut the state’s gas tax by 7.5 cents a gallon. The proposal stems from a complicated formula enacted by the Legislature in 2010.

While California drivers will surely welcome news of a possible cut, there are some who would rather see gas taxes go up. They think you should be sending more dollars, not fewer, to Sacramento.

But let’s be honest, government already has more than enough of your dollars. Californians pay about 64 cents per gallon in taxes and fees – the second-highest rate in the nation. In reality, we have the nation’s highest gas tax once you include the new hidden gas tax imposed by regulators to help fund the state’s anti-global-warming efforts.

Californians must even pay taxes on their taxes. That’s double taxation – and it’s wrong.

California’s gas tax is so confusing… Read More

Jon Coupal

People Believe That Government Wastes Money Because It Does

According to a 2014 Gallup poll, Americans believe that their state government wastes 42 cents of every tax dollar. However, here in California, the political elite dismiss citizens’ widespread concerns about waste and, instead, complain that the taxes they collect from beleaguered taxpayers are not enough. This complaint is hard to understand given that California has the highest income tax rate in America as well as the highest state sales tax rate. Oh, and did I mention that we also have the highest gas tax in the United States?

Notwithstanding this heavy tax burden, our political elites in Sacramento have recently put forward numerous proposals to raise taxes even higher, including new taxes on services, property, gas, oil and tobacco. Apparently, it has never occurred to them that perhaps they should address the endemic waste, fraud and abuse that permeates all levels of government in California.

To set the record straight, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation has released a new report titled Follow the Money 2014, documenting numerous specific examples of government waste that cumulatively add up to billions of dollars.

To read the entire… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacto Mayor Kevin Johnson ❤ loves Higher Minimum Wage

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s signature showed up on a letter to state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, expressing support for raising the statewide minimum wage to $13 by July 1, 2017.

And then it didn’t. An announcement from the mayor’s staff said that “staff miscommunication” was to blame for Johnson’s signature on the letter.

What happened? Is Johnson for or against a minimum wage increase? Did he sign the letter or not?

Perhaps because Johnson is president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which supports raising the federal minimum wage, his staff got their letters mixed up. (Big 10 mayors letter.pdf)

Either way, the discussion should be about negative impacts on employment and income growth caused by minimum wage increases.

Signature ‘Miscommunication?’

The Sacramento Bee… Read More

Jon Coupal

SEE YOU LATER, SOONERS

In the 1930s tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Oklahoma, fled the Dust Bowl for California with hopes of a better life. Today it is ironic that California’s Farmers (Farmer Brothers coffee company, that is) has announced that it is fleeing our state for a less expensive destination that includes Oklahoma on the short list.

Any humor, however, will no doubt be lost on the 350 employees who are about to lose their jobs paying $40,000 to $80,000.

Farmer Brothers, a fixture in California for over 100 years, is just another of a long list of firms that, fed up with California’s high taxes and anti-business environment, have left for less costly states. Other recent refugees include Chevron, Nestle, Sony, Charles Schwab, Occidental Petroleum, Toyota, Campbell Soup, Nissan and Comcast, all of which have moved all or a significant portion of their work force out of state.

These departures are treated with a great collective yawn from Sacramento. When asked, flacks for the governor and other senior elected officials, try to convince the public that these losses are not due to state policies and that the jobs and tax revenue lost are not… Read More

Katy Grimes

Lies My Govt. Told Me About the CA Drought

While California’s drought conditions are actually historically normal, California’s current drought is being billed by government and media as the driest period in the state’s recorded rainfall history. Scientists who study the Western United States’ long-term climate patterns say California has been dry for significantly longer periods — more than 200 years.

However, it only takes reading the weekly California drought water-wise tips in statewide newspapers and local government websites to know the information the environmentalists are foisting on us is hogwash. While California is in the middle of an historic drought, radical environmentalists are not letting a good crisis go to waste.

“If your kitchen faucet was installed before 1994, its flow rate is likely between 2.75 and 7 gallons per minute,” the Sacramento Bee… Read More

Richard Rider

Much of of 2014 job improvement due to cutting unemployment benefits

Stunning discovery: When government stops paying people not to work, many then find jobs. Who knew?

Turns out that a definitive study shows that a MAJOR factor in the nation’s 2014 jobs recovery is the dramatic cutback in unemployment benefits. Here’s a short, readable article summarizing this insight, with links to the more detailed WALL ST JOURNAL article and the study itself.

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2015/02/16/job-growth-in-2014/ 
Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Job Growth in 2014

President Barack Obama takes full credit for the job growth in 2014. Democrats on the Internet relentlessly push these growth rates with typically goofy superlatives like “highest ever” or “highest growth rate in decades.”

So, what did Obama and the Democrats do in 2013 and 2014 that led to the growth we saw last year?

Well, Obama refused to renegotiate with Republicans on any unemployment or budget reforms.

As 2013 ended, we heard Democrats complaining that stingy Republicans were… Read More

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