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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Congressman Tom McClintock

WRDA – A Critical Moment for Tahoe and the West

The conference report on the Water Resources Development Act is the product of many, many hours of good-faith negotiations between the House and Senate and between Republicans and Democrats. Like any compromise, I don’t like everything in it; but the net effect is an important step forward in protecting against the devastation of future droughts in California and catastrophic wildfire that threatens Lake Tahoe.

It provides for $335 million for desperately needed surface water storage. It opens a new era of hatcheries to provide for burgeoning populations of endangered fish species. It adds flexibility to management of New Melones Reservoir and water transfers to assure water can be more efficiently moved to where it is most needed. It adds strong protection to Northern California area of origin water rights. It expedites review and approval of new projects. It updates flood control management criteria to make better use of our existing reservoirs.

I particularly want to highlight the provisions related to Lake Tahoe. For many years, we’ve spent enormous resources to adjust drainage in the basin to improve water clarity at the lake.… Read More

Jon Coupal


Human beings prefer freedom to collectivism and tyranny. Only those in complete denial disregard the negative consequences of policies that suppress liberty. Consider North Korea versus South Korea. And recall that in Berlin during the Cold War era, people weren’t shot trying to go from West to East – not that anyone tried anyway. Finally, in the course of the last 55 years of the Castro regime, very few people jumped on rickety boats in Miami seeking a better life in Havana.

For those who follow what is happening in the United States – both in politics and with the economy – we can be grateful that even in the most oppressive economic environment – think your typical liberal city such as San Francisco or Portland – people remain remarkably free compared to citizens in many other parts of the world.

One of the freedoms that we Americans enjoy is the freedom to travel. A citizen’s ability to travel from state to state has been deemed by the United States Supreme Court to be a fundamental right that can only be restricted in the narrowest of circumstances. Part of this right is more than just going to another state or country and then returning. It… Read More

Richard Rider

Once AGAIN our CA household pension debt soars. Make it stop!

Four days ago I posted here the dramatic increase in the California per household debt imposed by underfunded state and local pension guarantees. Using the “market pension” earnings expected/required, this debt went from $77,700 per CA household in 2014 to $92,748 in 2015, making us easily the second worst state in the nation.

Sadly, we just today got a more recent update — an estimate as of end of the last month (November, 2016). It’s gotten even worse. Incredibly, by a lot! See the chart below.

We’ve gone from $92,748 CA household debt at the end of 2015 to $106,848 as of last month. Egad!

The only good news is that since 1 December the stock market has rallied nicely (confounding progressives and their doomsday predictions). But since the end of the month the S&P 500 is currently up only 1.14% — not enough to offset the burgeoning pension debt obligation of California… Read More

Richard Rider

California’s lack of an oil severance tax. Good or bad? Important or not?

When I joust with progressives about California taxes (especially vs. Texas), one favorite talking point that they raise is the lack of a California oil severance tax — a state tax on petroleum as it comes out of the ground.

They are inferring that the lack of a CA oil severance tax somehow justifies all the OTHER high CA state and local taxes. Of course, a little closer scrutiny shows this assertion is 99% bogus. Higher than 99%, actually. Mathematically higher!

Here’s the executive summary(data and sources below):

In 2015 Texas collected $4.179 billion in severance taxes from their oil and natural gas wells. If we levied the same severance taxes in California on our producing wells, in 2015, we would have raised $498million— because we produce a lot less oil and gas than Texas.

Contrast that amount with the expected individual income tax revenue projected in the 2016-17 California state budget — $83.841BILLION! And then there’sRead More

Ed Ring

Californians Approve $5.0 Billion in New Taxes

For the last few years, using data provided by the watchdog organizationCalTax, we have summarized the results of local bond and tax proposals appearing on the California ballot. Nearly all of them are approved by voters, and this past November was no exception.

With only a coupleof measures still too close to call (TCTC), as can be seen, 94% of the 193 proposed local bonds passed, and 71% of the proposed local taxes passed.Two years ago, 81% of the local bond proposals passed, and 68% of the local tax proposals passed. No encouraging trend there.

Outcome of Local Bond and Tax Proposals – November 2016

A simple extrapolation will provide the following estimate: Californians just increased their local tax burden by roughly $4.0 billion, in the form of $1.9… Read More

Katy Grimes

California Democrat Vows to ‘Fight in the Streets’ Over Illegal Immigration

California’s new Democrat supermajority used Monday’s usually congenial legislative swearing-in ceremonies to ram through Assembly and Senate resolutionsinsisting President-elect Donald Trump abandon his immigration deportation policies – at least in California.

California is home to the largest illegal-alien population in the country, with35 sanctuary cities.President-elect Trump has vowed to build a border wall and deport immigrants that have a criminal record, which he estimates to be two-three million.

HR 4, SR 7

Less than four weeks after California voters passed a new transparency ballot initiative requiring advanced notice of legislation of at least 72 hours, Democrat lawmakers rammed through two resolutions hours after turning them in. And these aren’t any resolutions – both demand that President-Elect Donald Trump withdraw “a mass deportation strategy” of illegal immigrants.

The hitch is Trump never said he was going to employ a mass-deportation process; Trump said he would deport criminal illegal aliens.

But, as Chicago… Read More

Jon Coupal


Sometimes, in frustration over a perceived injustice, it is easy to think, “there ought to be a law,” but Californians should be careful what they wish for.

The state is awash in laws. Every two-year session, lawmakers introduce thousands of bills, and in the most recent, the governor signed 1,708 into law.

This brings to mind an old German proverb, “The more laws, the less justice.” This is because many of these bills are intended to benefit narrow special interests, like government employee unions, rent seeking businesses and professional groups, and pet projects like high-speed rail.

To read the entire column click here More

Richard Rider

The new state public employee pension debt figures are out. Oh dear!

Recently I posted a blog item on California’s dismal “per household” debt for its underfunded public pensions. California was ranked as the third worst state with a debt of $77,700 — based on the 2014 figures. Alaska was easily the worst, with basket case Illinois edging us out for 2ndworst. Good news! The 2015 update is out!

The bad news? The 2015 update is out.

BOTTOM LINE: We blew passed Illinois. By a LOT. We locked up 2ndplace, as our situation got much worse in a single year. We went from $77,700 pension debt per household to $92,748. Inoneyear. Oh my!

Illinois is as bad as ever. We’re just “badder.” Illinois’ pension household obligation rose from $77,862 to “only”Read More

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