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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Sheila Weinberg

California Taxpayers Deserve Truthful Financial Reports

This year, state officials across the country are required to come clean about state pension debt. But there’s one problem: many states are still hiding pension debt from taxpayers and California is one of them.

Truth in Accounting (TIA), a Chicago-based think tank that analyzes government financials, recently released a report on California’s finances.The Financial State of Californiareport reveals that while California state officials are being more transparent about their financial information, they are still hiding a massive amount of debt from taxpayers and ignoring a new rule. To give you an idea of the current plights of California’s financial reporting, let’s break down the numbers.

According to TIA’s calculations, California has $78.9 billion of pension debt – not $74.5 billion like California state officials report. This means $4.4 billion of… Read More

Ed Ring

The Alternative to Crony Capitalism and Phony Shortages

The modern history of the Silicon Valley arguably began in 1957, when eight young PhD graduates left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories to launch the first high-volume chip manufacturer, Fairchild Semiconductor.Fairchild and its spinoffs, including Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), were the early participants in what became the most fervid ecosystem of fiercely competitive innovators the world has ever seen. Inspired by the mantra “better, faster, cheaper,” and fueled by billions in venture capital, the Silicon Valley is now the epicenter of the information age that has transformed ourlives.

With power, however, comes corruption. The Silicon Valley’s inspirational mantra has become challenged in recent years. High-tech products that used to sell because they were better are now sold because they are mandated by law. They sell not because they are faster, but because they are engineered to operate according to asocial or environmentalist agenda. And they are most definitely not cheaper, but instead cost far more than they should. And across the product spectrum from high-tech to low-tech, Silicon Valley leadership increasingly uses their… Read More

Ed Ring

Californians Overwhelmingly Support New Local Bonds and Taxes

Two weeks ago, using information supplied by theCalifornia Taxpayers Association, we called attention to “$6.2 Billion in New Borrowing on June 7th Primary Ballot.” As noted, “Next week voters will be asked to approve 46 local bond measures totaling $6.18 billion in new debt, along with 52 local tax proposals. If history is any indication, more than 80% of them will pass.”

So how did they do?

The following table shows the results so far. With bonds, the trend is clear – they nearly all still pass. That’s partly because school bonds only require a 55% majority to pass, whereas with most tax increases, passage still requires a two-thirds vote.And while the rate of passage is lower for tax increases, the latest election shows two out of three passing.

Local Tax and Bond Ballot Propositions – June 7th 2016 Status of passage as of June 14th, 2016Read More

Katy Grimes

CA Democrats Use Orlando Massacre To Pass More Gun Control Legislation

Using the Orlando massacre as an excuse to pass more gun control bills, California lawmakers wasted no time, and spared no arrogance in passing new and old bills in legislative committees Tuesday.

Some legislators even dragged out old gun control bills to be reheard; bills which couldn’t pass in previous legislative sessions, and wouldn’t have made a bit of difference in the latest terror case.

Political opportunismwas on full display. Whether attempting to maintain politicalsupport among peers and special interest groups, or trying to increasepoliticalinfluence, Capitol lawmakers managed to disregard both ethical and politicalprinciples in doing so, as they set their sights on guns and not the deranged terrorists behind them.

Within 24 hours of the terror attack and shootings Sunday, which left 49 people dead in Orlando, Florida, President Obama, California lawmakers, and gun control advocates across the country called for beefing up the country’s laws on gunownership.

“At one hearing, Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, angrily confronted National RifleAssn. lobbyist Dan Reid, accusing his organization of being responsible… Read More

Katy Grimes

California: More Gun Control Increases Terror Problem

Immediately following the weekend terror attack on an Orlando gay bar, anti-gun ghouls, including President Barack Obama and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, used the attack to demand even more gun control – without ever acknowledging that the gunman was a radicalized Islamic terrorist.

Guns don’t kill people. Crazy people kill people. And SUV’s don’t run over people in a crosswalk. We are a dysfunctional society run by demented liberals who claim they want everyone to live together, freely – except those of us who are responsible, law-abiding citizens. The controlling laws are directed at us.

Gun control and anti-gun laws only serve to weaken citizens, while terrorists, gangs and crazy people collect illegal arms. But a liberal, tyrannical government wants its citizenry to live in fear. What better way than preventing citizens from protecting themselves than gun control?

Gun Control

Firearms-related deaths have fallen dramatically over the years, according to a 2013 U.S. Justice Department… Read More

Tom Scott

The Prop. 65 Payday Continues

Each year, the California Attorney General’s office is required to release an executive summary of Proposition 65 private settlements brought by trial lawyers in the state. This summary has been released each year since 2000, summarizing the total penalties, attorney fees, and other related funds collected, accompanied by a brief description of actions taken to remedy the alleged violations.

The key takeaway every year: certain individuals and organizations collect huge sums of money by filing shakedown Prop. 65 lawsuits across the state. Although voters approved Proposition 65 in 1986 to protect the public from potentially harmful chemicals, these private settlements illustrate that these frivolous lawsuits have instead turned the law into a lucrative pay day for plaintiffs’ attorneys in California.

Here are the numbers from 2015: there were 582 settlements, totaling payments of $26,226,761. Of this $26.2 million, non-contingent civil penalties accounted for 19% ($5,102,341), payments in lieu of penalty were 13% ($3,295,479), all while attorney fees and costs… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Internet Poker Bill No Gamble For Special Interests

Each legislative session there are bills that go through the California legislature that are of great concern to me for one reason or another. There are bills that raise taxes (even though our taxes in California are amongst the highest in the nation), that heap on more regulations (even though no one is regulated as much as we are), and that simply grow the size of government in our state (as if it isn’t big enough). There is nothing that makes me more sick to my stomach than when legislators seek to use the power of state government to pick winners and losers — and sometimes in such an obvious, brazen way that it makes you wonder, for a moment, if it is a practical joke.

While I keep an eye on Sacramento politics, being from Southern California I not everything catches my eye. But recently I read an editorial from the Sacramento Bee, Legislators,… Read More

Ray Haynes

The End of Welfare As We Know It

In Medieval times, medical professionals thought the way to cure diseases was to attach leeches to the patient, drain his or her blood. That was the “cure” for eliminating disease.

Before Jerry Brown became Governor in 1974 (when Californians were sane enough to elect Ronald Reagan Governor), California had the best education system in the country and a transportation system without peer. Housing was affordable, energy and water were plentiful, and California’s total general fund budget was around $9 billion. Today, with a general fund budget around $122 billion, which by the way is a per capita dollar average more than double what it was in 1974, after calculating inflation AND population, housing is unaffordable, electricity and water are subject to massive shortages, our schools are horrible, and our freeways are so overcrowded that, particularly in the Los Angeles and Bay areas, no one can find a time when they can avoid traffic jams. What Jerry Brown did in the 1970′s was to expand welfare and government assistance programs to “aid the poor.” Much like the medieval doctors, Brown attached leeches to state budget, bleeding out… Read More

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