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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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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

Jon Coupal

TAXPORTATION: Profligate Waste Negates Justification for Transportation Tax Hike

A personal digression: My father was head of the Iowa Department of Transportation (then called the Iowa Highway Commission) in the late ’60s and early ’70s before he was appointed by President Ford to serve as Deputy Federal Highway Administrator. (Of course, he lost that job when Jimmy Carter became president, but he continued to work in the private sector for a transportation think tank).

When I was in high school, I remember him coming home from an ASHTO conference. That organization, the Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, was a pretty well respected group and still is. He was complaining bitterly about what was going on in California. I don’t recall his exact words, but the gist of it was that the new head of California’s transportation agency, called CalTrans, had been taken over by a certifiably crazy person (with no background in transportation policy) by the name of Adriana Gianturco. According to my father, in the 1950s and ’60s, California had the best transportation agency in the entire world. But all that changed with the election of a new, anti-growth, small is beautiful, governor by the name of Jerry… Read More

Richard Rider

CA ranked the worst state for revealing spending data

California gains another “superlative.” We are ranked the worst state for “online access to government spending data.” We make less spending data available than any other state.

Two things to note about this latest CA “award.”

1. The study was done by U.S. PIRG, a decidedly left wing outfit that would LOVE to present the Golden State in a positive light. Eventheycould not save California from itself.

2. Three states earned an “F” score in the ratings. But CA won that match-up — it wasn’t close. Looking at the numerical scores, the 49thstate (Alaska) is still 26.5% better than California.



Figure ES-1: How the 50 StatesRead More

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