FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Coupal

Certainty in Taxation: Prop. 13’s Best Feature

In its more than 160 plus year history, few things have remained constant in California. However, since the 1800’s California has taxed all classes of property the same.

Thus, when the iconic Prop 13 passed in 1978, it did not differentiate between different kinds of property. All real property – whether residential or commercial – was bestowed with the benefits of a reasonable one percent tax rate cap and, just as importantly, a two percent limit in the annual increase in taxable value.

In 1978, the predominant fear permeating California was an exploding tax burden that was forcing people out of their homes. The one percent rate cap was important, of course, but a rate cap by itself does nothing to control a property tax bill that is based on the “market value” of one’s home. If market values double – as they frequently do in an overheated real estate market – then property owners remain vulnerable to wild fluctuations when tax time comes around.

To read the entire column click here… Read More

Richard Rider

Where to find our REAL firefighting heroes — volunteer fire departments

The Brookings, South Dakota volunteer fire department

(“Click” photo to enlarge) California’s overpaid, overpensioned firefighters love to claim they merit their astronomical compensation packages because of the risks they take.They have no answer when I point out thatthe average California firefighter is paid 60% more than paid firefighters in other 49 states. Meanwhile the CA 2011 median household income (including government workers) is only 13.4% above the national average.

www.tinyurl.com/CA-ff-and-cop-pay

and … Read More

Ray Haynes

SB 277 & iCitizen – Reminding Us of the Value in Engaging with Our Democracy

In 1995, as Vice Chair of the Health Committee, I had the opportunity to participate in then Governor Pete Wilson’s package of education bills, specifically the bill requiring students to receive mandatory vaccinations as a condition of going to school. Prior to then, California had no such requirement, and, quite frankly, communicable disease in the schools was not a big problem. I negotiated a compromise with the Democrats and Governor Wilson agreeing to the mandatory vaccinations, as long as parents had an opt-out opportunity. I believed then (and believe now) a state that believes in freedom owed its citizens the freedom to not have to be forced to take drugs, any drugs, vaccinations or otherwise. Governor Wilson agreed, and the mandatory vaccination law took effect, with the parental conscience clause a compromise. When we consider that we had no law before that, and a conscience clause for the last 20 years without rampant communicable disease, I would say the compromise worked well.

Within the last year, we saw 10 cases of measles at Disneyland (hardly a typical school venue), and the whole world thought our children were going to die. Based on 10 cases… Read More

Katy Grimes

Drug Program For Poor Misused by Hospitals and Drug Store Chains Under Obamacare Expansion

In 1992, Congress passed the 340B Drug Discount Program to help veterans, the uninsured and indigent patients get the prescription medicines they needed but could not afford. The new law required pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide significant discounts to medical clinics and qualifying hospitals as a condition of their drugs being covered by Medicaid. The clinics and hospitals had to meet certain criteria and serve charity patients in order to have access to the program.

But today, some large hospitals are profiting from the program by keeping the 340B discounts for themselves, while providing very little charity care to the intended patients.

What happened?

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed (Obamacare), the 340B drug program has dramatically expanded.… Read More

Jon Fleischman

AD76: Phil Graham Jumps Into Race for Rocky Chavez’ Assembly Seat

The 76th Assembly District represents the North San Diego County communities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, and Encinitas. It is a suburban district with some of the best public schools in San Diego County, and a thriving life sciences industry. Currently represented by Rocky Chavez, who is now running for U.S. Senate, the area was previously represented by Martin Garrick, and Mark Wyland before him. The current district is considered safe Republican with a 41-31% GOP registration advantage. No Democrat even filed in the he last competitive Primary Election in 2012.

With the announcement by Chavez that he is seeking the Republican nomination for the United States Senate, this means that the Assembly seat will be open, and predictably this GOP-rich seat is drawing Republican candidates. Already with his hat in the ring is conservative Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern.

Today longtime businessman and biotech executive Phil Graham is announcing his candidacy for the seat. I have known Phil for some time. Most recently I’ve interacted with him as an executive with the Sanford-Burnham Institute, a life-sciences firm headquartered in La Jolla. A… Read More

Ed Ring

Retiree with $183,690 Annual Pension Attacks Pension Critics

“Critics of public employee retirement benefits are engaging in hyperbole and pointing to potholes as evidence that millions of elderly Californians should be stripped of their retirement savings.” Brian Rice,president,Sacramento Area Fire Fighters, Sacramento Bee, June 2, 2015

Notwithstanding the possibility that saying pension reformers want to see “millions of elderly Californians stripped of their retirement savings” is itself “hyperbole,” Brian Rice’s recent Sacramento Bee submission requires a detailed rebuttal. Rice’s piece, entitled “Pensions aren’t being paid at expense of filling potholes,” was in response to a study written by Stephen Eide and released by the Manhattan Institute entitled “California Crowd-Out, How Rising Retirement Benefit Costs Threaten Municipal Services,” published in April 2015.

Rice leads off by attempting to link the Manhattan Institute to the supposedly… Read More

Katy Grimes

“In Cahoots” – The Illegal Relationship Between ALRB Lawyers and the UFW

One of the most significant labor relations fights in the country is currently taking place in California’s Central Valley.The California state agency mandated by law to be an impartial farmworkers’ advocate between employers and unions is “in cahoots” with the United Farm Workers labor union. At issue are the legal tactics and scruples of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

A state superior court judge told an Agricultural Labor Relations Board attorney in 2013 that it appeared they were “in cahoots” with the United Farm Workers labor union. Even an independent investigation has confirmed that this is so.

Since being appointed ALRB General Counsel in 2011 by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sylvia Torres-Guillén has transformed her office from ineffective but impartial workers’ advocate to a hive of United Farm Workers activist attorneys.

That advocacy is against the Agricultural… Read More

California’s Political Earthquake on Its Way

[Publisher’s Note: As part of an ongoing effort to bring original, thoughtful commentary to you here at the FlashReport, we are pleased to present this column from John Cox.]

California is facing an uncertain future – and it’s not an earthquake, despite a current blockbuster movie. There’s a water crisis, an education system declared woeful by a state judge and soaring costs on all levels – water, utilities, energy, housing and taxes. These could all be eclipsed by the huge elephant in the room – unfunded pensions and health care for state and local government employees that could be $1 trillion or more.

What are our public officials doing? As was recently reported, there are no fewer than a dozen proposals in the legislature to increase taxes AND spending, despite the massive underfunding of pensions and health care. The Governor crows about a California ‘comeback’ but he almost completely ignores the trillion dollar bomb expected to hit over the next 20 years. This government employee pensions and healthcare bomb only gets worse, as life expectancies expand and investments underperform the rosy scenarios… Read More

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