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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

California’s Department of Business Prevention Strikes Again: Another Minimum Wage Hike

From the State of California’s Department of Business Prevention comes another random minimum wage hike to help kill off more businesses.

The final phase of the 2013 Assembly Bill 10 went into effect Jan. 1, bumping the minimum wage to $10-per-hour statewide. AB 10 is the final step of a two-stage increase. California and Massachusetts are now the states with the highest minimum wage. Only California is also home to the highest income taxes, sales taxes, and high property taxes.

Bureaucrats Interfere

Work should be valued only between those who provide it and those who pay for it.Those of us who labor in the real world, revere free market principles, and are used to dealing with reality, know the minimum wage is arbitrary and nothing more than a vote-getter for… Read More

James V. Lacy

California’s big trove of GOP Presidential nomination delegates. Will they matter?

California will be sending 172 delegates of the total of 2,470 delegates that will be credentialed at the next Republican National Convention July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio. Since the days of Ronald Reagan, California has become a reliably “blue” state in Presidential elections, which has caused its percentage share of delegates to the GOP national convention to shrink, in comparison to reliably “red” states like Texas. This is because the Republican party rewards states that reliably vote Republican with a few extra delegates. When I attended the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City as a delegate for Ronald Reagan, California had more influence on the process, but still not quite enough alone to propel Reagan to the nomination in THAT election. Nevertheless, today California’s shear size, plus its status as an essentially “winner-take-all” primary state, mean that even as a “blue” state in the Fall, its’ total delegate count is still equal to about 14% of the delegates needed to win the nomination in Cleveland. (The “magic number” is 1,236.) That is a large slug of delegates,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Another Fractured Fracking Fairytale Debunked

An horrifically inaccurate opinion article claiming fracking is making people sick in Kern County ran Saturday in the Sacramento Bee, without any fact checking, and without a counterpoint article.

In “Oil runs amok in Kern County,” author Rosanna Esparza, a community organizer in Kern County and Sierra Club member, takes issue with the Kern County Board of Supervisors’ November vote to approve a zoning change to streamline Kern oil and gas permitting. “California continues to be a leader on climate with actions such as the passage of SB 350 by the Legislature, which seeks to increase our renewable energy mix to 50 percent and double the energy efficiency of existing buildings,” Esparza wrote.

I am pro-environment and a conservationist.… Read More

Richard Rider

California tech giant expands! But . . .

Good news! One of California’s tech giants is expanding! The bad news? Awww, shucks — you’re way ahead of me.

Yup, the expansion is NOT in California. It’s in Austin, Texas. No surprise, as Oracle already had set up an operation down there in recent years. See the “Business Relocation Coach” article below and the link to the full Austin article.

One interesting aspect caught my eye. The 2013 move to Texas received some subsidies from both the state and local governments. Combined that windfall came to $1,067,000 — about $5,335 per employee. To get that subsidy, the company had to commit to not only hiring 200 employees (they ended up hiring FAR more), but to spending at least $5.4 million on real estate improvements. While doubtless the windfall was welcome by the corporation, it’s not nearly enough to make a company expand outside of California, where the HQ is. Other factors (most the result of policies put in place by our CA state and local governments) were much bigger costs that the company faced.

In announcing this latest expansion, Oracle said they were expanding their Austin work force… Read More

Barry Jantz

The 2,000-year-old blog

As is my custom the past several years on this eve…

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. ForRead More

Katy Grimes

Gerawan Farming Update: First Amendment Advocates Call ALRB a Threat to Free Speech

After years ofintense government and union harassment by theAgricultural Labor Relations Board and the United Farm Workers labor union,Gerawan Farming Inc. notified its workers that effective February 25, 2016, the company will fully close its entire table grape operation, in the County of Fresno. Pursuant to the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, known as the WARN Act, Gerawan has been forced into a position of closing an entire arm of its farming operations because of California government assisting a labor union attempt to take over a large company.And Gov. Jerry Brown has not once intervened to stop the unlawful harassment by the union or his own state agency.

The table grape operation closure does not affect any of the employees’ employment in other Gerawan farming operations, but now thousands of farm workers will lose well-paying farm jobs because of California’s corrupt state government. Gerawan always exceeds industry average wages and are the first to increase wages. Gerawan’s website shows their hourly wage for grape packline as $16.27, and upwards of $20.00 per… Read More

Ed Ring

A Pension “Pledge” for State Politicians

Earlier this week, noted pension reformer John Moore published “The Mechanics of Pension Reform,” listing specific principles of pension reform. Moore’s article focuses on state policy; he intends to focus on local pension reform policies in a later article. The list he has produced for state legislators is quite detailed; here’s is a partial summary of highlights:

1 – Change control of public employee pension boards to politically neutral private institutions. Currently, government union operatives exert nearly absolute control over California’s 81 state and local government employee pension systems.

2 – Limit the total annual pension contribution by any government entity to a fixed percentage of pension eligible salary.

3 – Differentiate between annual salary and pension eligible salary to lower overall contributions. Stop counting annual wage increases as pension eligible.

4 – Eliminate collective bargaining for government workers.

5 – Prohibit legislative bodies from granting vested contract rights to pensions.

6 – Require agency in-house… Read More

Aubrey Bettencourt

Sen. Feinstein Plays Peanuts-Rules Football with Western Water

A week after U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein threw what some are calling a hissy fit and blowing up months of negotiations by dozens of participants on crucial Western States’ water and drought legislation, Sen. Feinstein gamely put her football back on the tee Thursday and invited the Chair and Ranking Member of a key Senate Committee and other Western senators to try to kick it again. Lucy Van Pelt of Peanuts’ fame couldn’t act more smug and confident.

In an act of political cover designed to set the table for another kick, Feinstein enlisted the aid of eight other well-intentioned but mistaken senators to sign her December 16 joint letter addressed to Senate Energy and Natural Resources chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). The letter calls for a new try at western drought legislation in 2016.

Senators Michael… Read More

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