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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Ed Ring

$6.2 Billion in New Borrowing on June 7th Primary Ballot

They areovershadowed by one of the most tumultuous Presidential primary campaigns in decades, but California’s June 7th primary ballot has local tax and bond proposals in numbers that, in aggregate, ought to be generating vigorous public debate. 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% ofthem will pass.

Tax activists and politicians who brand themselves as “tax fighters” often point to alarming levels of state government debt, along with state taxes that are among the highest in the nation – but when they do, they are calling attention to a surprisingly small fraction of the big picture. Because most of California’s taxes and borrowing are assessed and spent at the local level. A California Policy Center study from 2013 entitled “How Big Are California’s State and Local Governments Combined?,” using 2011 data, calculated direct state government spending at $54.0 billion. The… Read More

Katy Grimes

Govt. Created Energy Blackouts Coming to a City Near You

Most countries around the world think that it’s a good thing to have cheap energy.But in California, we have plenty of cheap energy available, just not the political will to access it.

California depends on natural gas-driven turbines and hydroelectric generators to provide just 38 percent of its oil needs. The state imports 12 percent of its oil from Alaska, and another 50 percent from foreign nations, relying heavily on Canada.

So why are California’s utilities warning of potential rolling blackouts again?

It’s political. And it’s corrupt.

Highest Electricity Rates = Less Power in CA

California’s natural gas shale formation is one of the largest in the world. And, California has been a pioneer in renewable energy, albeit still unreliable and unproven. Yet warnings are already coming that Californians may have rolling blackouts this summer. While… Read More

Jon Coupal

TAXPORTATION PART 2: Response to Will Kempton

Last week’s column presented the case for strong opposition to any new transportation taxes in California. But on Thursday, the Executive Director of Transportation California, Will Kempton, published a response in Fox and Hounds, a California political blog run by Joel Fox, which repeated the need for higher taxes.

Will Kempton is a respected transportation expert who agrees with the central premise of my original column. That is, that California’s transportation crisis can no longer be ignored. California has a transportation and road repair maintenance backlog that some estimate will total $58 billion over the next ten years. It is also true that, thanks to alternative vehicles and more fuel efficient cars (and never mind the infamous “gas tax swap”) that fuel tax revenues have become more volatile year-over-year.

So, now that we’ve agreed on the need, how do we deal with it? Mr. Kempton argues that we have no choice but to raise taxes. Not only do we disagree, but it is abundantly clear that practically all of this backlog can be funded using existing General Fund resources. Consider:

Nearly $1 billion a year of truck weight fees are … Read More

Veterans Affairs Secretary McDonald should resign

A week before Memorial Day when our nation honors its veterans for making huge sacrifices to defend freedom and democracy around the world, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald suggested that soldiers waiting for healthcare at VA Hospitals are just like Disneyland guests waiting to go on a ride at an amusement park.

The failures of the VA have been well documented, and our veterans have had to suffer long waits for medical services that have too often resulted in the preventable deaths of too many soldiers. The Obama Administration and Secretary McDonald have claimed to try to fix the problems, but there has not been any meaningful reforms put into place.

Worse, the statement made by Veterans Affairs Secretary illustrates a fundamental failure of the Administration to understand the massive problems with how our wounded warriors are treated at local VA Hospitals. Our soldiers in need of medical help are not going to the VA to enjoy a roller coaster or take a boat ride through It’s a Small World.

In his two years as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, it appears McDonald has fallen into the same bureaucratic quagmire that has swallowed his… Read More

Asm. Travis Allen

California Democrats’ Blank Check Budget

Yesterday, Sacramento Democrats all voted in support of a budget that has an unknown cost, but is estimated to easily exceed the Governor’s record-level Budget spending that he proposed just two weeks ago. The Assembly’s current budget proposal is essentially a blank check committed to using record levels of taxes collected for a laundry list of bloated bureaucracies and wasteful projects.

This new budget proposal hides unilateral government plans to increase fees on every car owner and taxes on every cell phone user in California. Wasteful projects like the high speed rail are rewarded with $145 million of additional largesse. Furthermore, mismanaged bureaucracies such as CalTrans receive increased funding with zero oversight while California drivers experience worst in the nation traffic conditions.

On top of the $10 yearly vehicle registration fee hike and nearly 400% cell phone tax increase, some of the other highlights from the Democrats’ “Blank Check” Budget include a $145.2 million appropriation for high-speed rail, $2.1 Billion for an “optional” Obamacare expansion, and an additional $3.2 Billion for the recently raised Minimum Wage.… Read More

Katy Grimes

California Autocrats Accelerate State Gun Grab

The California Senate just passed 11 anti-gun, and quite possibly anti-constitution bills, which will likely be tied up in court for a very long time. The bills were rushed through by Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, infamous for his bill to paint all BB guns bright colors so they wouldn’t be mistaken for real guns.

This is what oppression looks like. And, it’s just plain stupid.

Even more dubious, the bills were gutted and amended“zombie bills” left behind by Assemblyman Henry Perea, a fellow Democrat, when he abruptly left the Legislature in… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Exposed: The Fraudulent CA Small Business Association

I keep getting campaign mail where candidates are touting their support from the California Small Business Association. Sounds like a good endorsement, right? WRONG.

I’m pretty involved in politics here in the Golden State – and I have to scratch my head. Because this group – well, it’s a fraud. I am aware that they host a big lunch in Sacramento each year (coincidentally that is today) but otherwise they do nothing that I am aware of to actually help small business. On the contrary, as you will read below, they actually throw their organization’s endorsement, with its misleading title, around on various political candidates, many of whom are left wing progressives who author and vote for more and more taxes and regulations that are adverse to small businesses in California.

A legislator should have to… Read More

Ed Ring

Government Unions and the Financialization of America

Financialization – “a pattern of accumulation in which profit making occurs increasingly through financial channels rather than through trade and commodity production.” - Greta Krippner, University of Michigan (sourceWikipedia)

If you want one word to describe the biggest threat to the American economy, “financialization” would be the prime candidate. This is a threat that has no ideology. The left tends to blame economic challenges on the excessive power of oligarchs. The libertarian right tends to blame economic challengeson excessive regulations emanating from oversized government. But financialization empowered the oligarchs. And financialization is the toxic remedy that has, for a time, enabled oversized government.

Krippner’s analysis of financialization goes beyond its obvious manifestations – the most obvious being the loophole that allows hedge fund managers to avoid payingordinary income tax on the billions in bonuses they earn when they get lucky placing bets with other people’s money. An excellent in-depth article… Read More

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