FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Richard Rider

California ranked worst state for “dying middle class”

Here’s a recent survey of states, ranking them as to how bad it has been for the middle class though this recession. Sadly, California is ranked worst.

And not by a small amount. We are 17% worse than the 2nd worst state (Vermont). http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/01/22/states-where-the-middle-class-is-dying/5/

Every year since 1992, California has had a net annual OUTFLOW of “domestic migration” (migration between states). EVERY year.

Cumulatively since 1992 we’ve lost an astonishing net 3.8 million people to other states. I say again — NET!

That’s hard for us geezers to grasp, as we almost ALL came TO California from other states. The reversal of migration flow has been stunning.

Only nuclear holocaust or oppressive government could have accomplished that reversal. And I don’t remember any mushroom clouds.… Read More

Ed Ring

The Glass Jaw of Pension Funds is Asset Bubbles

“Calpers argued that the California constitution’s guarantee of contracts shielded pensions from cuts in bankruptcy. The fund also asserted sovereign immunity and police powers as an ‘arm of the state,’ including a lien on municipal assets.” - Wall Street Journal Editorial, “Calpers Gets Schooled,” February 8, 2015

If you want powerful evidence ofcrony capitalismat its worst, look no further. In the Stockton bankruptcy trial, the pension fund serving that city’s employees threatened to seize municipal assets to pay pension fund contributions. They’ve made similar threats to other cities that protest against the escalating contribution rates. And they’ve made the cost to exit pension plans confiscatory. It is hard to imagine a bigger or more blatant example of collusion between business interests and government employees at the expense of ordinary private citizens.

In the Stockton bankruptcy case, judgeChristopher Klein’s ruling left… Read More

Katy Grimes

CA Plastic Bag Ban Halted As Initiative to Repeal Qualifies for 2016 Ballot

After eight years of failed legislative attempts to ban plastic grocery bags, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in September to ban and tax plastic and paper grocery bags. The new statewide plastic bag ban is scheduled to go into effect July 15, 2015… but not so fast…

Immediately after the bill signing, the American Progressive Bag Allianceannouncedit would gather signatures for a November 2016 ballot initiative to repeal the bill to block implementation of the statewide ban.They got their wish – thebag initiative just qualified for the 2016 ballot, with at least 555,236valid voter signatures on the referendum petition. Implementation of the law will be frozen until the November 2016 vote.

SBRead More

Richard Rider

Actors’ Union Seeking to End Most Stage Performances in Los Angeles

Actors Equity wants to mandate minimum wages for stage actors — which will close most small theatres and nonprofit stage offerings in the Los Angeles area. Such shoestring operations currently pay their actors $7 to $15 per performance, and zippo for rehearsals.

Most actors are leftists. I say they should have a $15 minimum wage for all their time spent at the theatre (no volunteering). Or $30!! Teach them economics with a 2″ x 4.” I see a real upside in ending their useless acting “careers” and returning them to a more productive sector of the economy. Many ARE bright and can perform useful work (they make great waiters, of course). And make the unemployed actors painfully aware that they voted for the minimum wage that put them out of work when they went to the polls! http://unionwatch.org/union-group-mobilizes-against-pay-hike/ Union Group Mobilizes “Against” Pay Hike byRead More

Richard Rider

Want “better” public employees? End public employment!

One thing that would help with public employees is to drastically reduce their number. Do that by contracting out every possible government service. Yeah, police probably have to be public employees, but most of the other jobs can be outsourced to private companies. And often are around the country.

Many advantages:

1. It can be done for less cost. The evidence is overwhelming.

2. Contracting out would gut the public employee labor union monopoly, which usually is the most powerful force in electing their city and county bosses!

3. Contracting out makes it easier to dismiss both individual misfits and entire “departments” for performing below standards.

4. Contracting out would largely eliminate the bane of taxpayers — unfunded pension, workers’ comp, disability and retiree healthcare liabilities.

It’s a win-win-win-win approach — unless you are a “public servant.”

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=23240Read More

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

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