FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Should Green Car Drivers Feel Guilty?

If you own a hybrid or electric vehicle, you probably feel pretty good about yourself. After all, you’ve made a socially responsible decision to help the environment, reduce your carbon footprint and improve air quality.

But you might feel a bit guilty, too. After all, you are in part responsible for the poor condition of our roads. Your car uses less gas per mile, so you pay less tax per mile too. Less tax means less transportation funding. Less funding mean worse roads—right?

Ignore the fact that the State of California wastes billions of dollars on bureaucracy and bullet trains. Or that the state took in record fuel-tax related revenues last fiscal year. If you’d only bought a gas guzzler instead of a green car, maybe our roads wouldn’t be in such poor shape.

Instead of telling you this truth, society rewards you with tax credits, rebates and special perks like access to carpool lanes and privileged parking spots. One legislator is now proposing cutting sales tax on green car purchases.

Even if you had to pay full sales tax, deep down you know that by buying a green car you bought yourself a fuel tax break. Each mile you cruise down the… Read More

Jon Coupal

CHUTZPAH AWARD

If an award were given for political chutzpah, members of the California Legislature would win hands down.

An example of chutzpah – a word whose synonyms include “insolence”, “cheek” and “gall” — would be an expensive restaurant adding a 25 percent tip to the bill after providing poor and insulting service.

Don’t blame California’s beleaguered taxpayers if they feel like diners at the restaurant in the above example. Our state’s high tax rates in almost every category have resulted in Californians laboring under the second highest tax burden in all 50 states.

In return for these high taxes, roads are crumbling, schools are underperforming and services in general are well below par. Money that could go to improving government services is syphoned off to support the highest paid state and local government employees in the nation and to provide them pensions in retirement that are as much as five times higher than what similar private sector workers can expect from Social Security.

Please click here to read the entire column Read More

Jason Cabel Roe

The Reality of the 37th Senate District Special Election

There’s been a lot of talk in Orange County about the tone of the Special Election for the Senate seat vacated by Mimi Walters upon her election to Congress, with boosters of former Supervisor John Moorlach loudly complaining about the negativity. But an examination of the campaign doesn’t quite fit the narrative.

The “negative campaigning” started when John Moorlach announced his campaign, immediately launching into attacks on Assemblyman Don Wagner. His primary attack, that Wagner was a stooge for the unions, was not supported by any votes cast by Wagner, who had the endorsement of every pro-business organization at the state and local level, but because he received a couple thousand dollars from law enforcement associations. This Moorlach attack was supported by a website, paid for by Moorlach’s campaign, and devoted to attacking Wagner.

A review of the Wagner Campaign shows half of the mail pieces produced didn’t even mention Moorlach’s name. Two pieces were comparison, i.e., side-by-side comparisons of the two candidates on key issues. And three focused exclusively on Moorlach’s record. Three.

How about… Read More

Ed Ring

Pension Funds and the Ultimate Hedge, Taxpayers

“We’re trying to make these guys’ money toxic because, as we’ve seen, their money is toxic,” Jonathan Westin, the director of New York Communities for Change, told Business Insider on Thursday. “I think it’s connecting the dots that many people don’t always connect.” - “Activists think they found a way to convince Democrats to stay away from ‘toxic’ hedge fund money,” March 13, 2015

There’s nothing new about this talking point, courtesy of thelabor funded ACORN successor“New York Communities for Change.” If you don’t like an idea, don’t attack by arguingits merits. Just attack the “dark money,” or the “toxic money,” that funded whomever had the inspiration and did the work to developthe idea.

The long list of causes whose advocates may or may not have accepted “toxic money” just got longer, since the New York Communities for Change – and their inevitable spawn in other… Read More

Kammi Foote

AB 1335 – Huge Tax Increase for unsuspecting Californians

When reading through the hundreds of bills introduced into the California legislature, the word “neverendum” comes to mind: – a series of referendums on the same issue held in an attempt to achieve an unpopular result. AB 1335 (Atkins) is basically just that – a re-introduction of SB 391 (DeSaulnier), which failed to make it off of the assembly floor last year. County Recorders manage and protect the integrity of land records for the public. The basic cost to record a document ranges from $6 to $10 depending on where you live in the state. This bill would place a $75 tax on this service, increasing the basic recording fee to anywhere between $81 and $85 per document; amounting to a tax increase of up to 1,250%.

The intent of AB 1335 is to fund a state-run affordable housing program for Californians. Yet, this bill would impose an additional tax burden on those vulnerable homeowners that are already struggling to pay their mortgages. This is because families experiencing financial difficulties only have two options when it comes to the inability to pay their mortgage – refinance or default on the loan. Both the typical refinance and the process… Read More

Rep. Ed Royce

Obamacare’s Latest Side Effect: Subsidizing Foreign Diplomats’ Health Care

You probably don’t know it, but you could be subsidizing the health care costs of foreign diplomats. That is, the many thousands of foreign officials who represent their countries in Washington, New York and elsewhere. Buried in Obamacare, the U.S. Tax Code now permits foreign diplomats serving throughout the United States and at the United Nations to receive premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for Obamacare plans. Worse yet, the State Department is actually encouraging Foreign Missions and U.N. staff to take advantage of this benefit, advertising this perk

On Monday, House Ways & Means Chairman Paul Ryan and I introduced the No Healthcare Subsidies for Foreign Diplomats Act of 2015, legislation to halt this taxpayer abuse. This legislation includes calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to tell foreign diplomats that their days of health care subsidies are… Read More

Ron Nehring

Netanyahu Roars Back, Defeats Obama

President Obama’s name wasn’t on the ballot when Israelis went to the polls yesterday. But it may as well have been as the President, his top officials and political team all weighed in to defeat Israel’s Churchillian Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

They failed, and their miscalculation needlessly soured U.S.-Israeli relations while making a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians during the President’s remaining time in office even less likely.

I last met Mr. Netanyahu during a Republican Jewish Coalition mission to Israel during my tenure as California Republican Party Chairman. The man I met was the same formidable leader in person as he appeared when speaking before a Joint Session of Congress earlier this month.

President Obama, whose disdain for the Israeli leader is well known, gambled that he could turn the Netanyahu speech into a political liability as he and his surrogates… Read More

Katy Grimes

Bill Gives Special Privileges To ALRB Lawyer

The epitome of special interest legislation was recently introduced, but the special interest is state government.

“Sacramento’s Worst Boss” may be carrying legislation for Sacramento’s worst state employee. Assemblywomen Nora Campos, D-San Jose, hasauthored legislationon behalf of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board General Counsel, to grant the general counsel unheard-of authority.

AB 561would grant Sylvia Torres Guillén, the ALRB general counsel, “primary authority with respect to the calculation and litigation of makewhole awards, backpay calculations, and other monetary awards in compliance proceedings of agricultural employers before the board.”

In other words, Torres Guillén would have unlimited authority over the contract negotiations with agriculture employers and farmworkers.

Keeping an apparent wicked agenda, Torres Guillén has targeted several big farming employers with a vengeance, as well as some ALRB… Read More

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