FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Rex Hime

There’s No Need to Undo Proposition 13

In the 1970s a taxpayer revolt ensued. Homeowners, just wanting their American dream to own a home with a bar-b-que and patio in the backyard, were facing extreme inflation and skyrocketing property tax bills, forcing some out of their homes. Then, in 1978, Proposition 13 appeared on the ballot which passed with more than 64 percent of the vote and put an end to continually increasing property taxes.

Proposition 13 set a uniform 1 percent property tax rate, limited yearly increases in assessed value to no more than 2 percent, and established property valuation at its acquisition price (usually the purchase price). It provided certainty and predictability to our government, and to home and business owners, in a time when uncertainty was all too common.

Unfortunately, some misguided groups are launching an effort to change Proposition 13. Just last week, a campaign called Make It Fair announced it would be pushing a “split roll” property tax in the legislature and engaging in a public education campaign. These groups want to dismantle Proposition 13, eliminating the protections for business owners by regularly reassessing non-homeowner properties. They often… Read More

Katy Grimes

What’s It Going To Take For Voters To Hold Corrupt Democrat Politicians Accountable?

Hillary “Scandal” Clinton’s latest dust up with the law, no matter how egregious or illegal, will not cause her mind-numbingly stupid followers to disavow her. If she were a Republican, she’d be tossed to the curb like a snotty Kleenex.

We normal folks, the real people who work for a living and pay our own bills, keep asking ourselves “what’s it going to take?” Which scandal will take Hillary and Bill down? When will Barack Obama and his Executive Pen have gone too far? And what America-loathing racist statement will finally earn Michelle Obama the middle finger from Democrats?

These political freeloaders, and the many more like them, hide behind a façade of “public service.” However, they really are elitist Marxists, enjoying a lifestyle paid for by the public.

Badly Behaving Politicians

This sick fascination with badly behaving politicians is not limited to the Clintons and Obamas. Remember William Jefferson, the Louisiana congressman under investigation for bribery when the FBI found $90,000 in cash stashed in his freezer? He was reelected.

How about former New York Attorney General and Governor Eliot… Read More

Jon Coupal

CALIFORNIA IS NOT DISNEYLAND

At the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), we have seen Proposition 13 blamed for just about everything. A national publication blamed the tax limiting measure for the not guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, while a high school physical education coach wrote in a community paper that the loss of shots by his track and field team was due to the lack of money to cut the grass, and this, of course, was due to Proposition 13.

Now we’re seeing attacks on HJTA sponsored Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act, which makes the taxing process more democratic by allowing voters to decide on local tax increases and to assure property owners that they would have a meaningful say on new assessments, fees and charges. One such attack was a recent opinion piece, calling for the repeal of Proposition 218, because it robs voters of their “democratic power.”

This critic argued that, because Proposition 218 guarantees the voters’ right to approve or reject new taxes, it prevents politicians from matching revenue to their spending, “…local officials can give big pensions to cops, but don’t have the power to raise taxes to pay for those… Read More

Katy Grimes

Assembly Dems Kill Important Transparency Bill

They’ve done it again — Democrats in the California Legislature killed another good bill. While this may not seem newsworthy, the way they did the killing is.

For the third time since she has been in the Legislature, Assembly Minority Leader Kristen Olsen, R-Modesto, authored a bill to require all legislation to be in print and available to the public for at least 72 hours before a vote.

Rather than debating Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1, and then voting on it, Assembly Democrats in the Assembly Budget Committee sent the bill to the “suspense file,” following a brief speech from one lawmaker about the importance of transparency. This is underhanded and the epitome of hypocrisy; the bill was effectively killed without an up-or-down vote of the committee members.

“Apparently they are embarrassed to take a stand,” Olsen said. “They’d rather have the bill disappear.”

“‘Transparency’ is probably the most overused word in political speech, while at the same time, the most underutilized… Read More

Shawn Steel

Up-close look at Obama’s foreign policy failures and the al Sisi alternative

Six years after his much-ballyhooed Cairo speech, it’s now clear what President Obama meant by “a new beginning” in American foreign policy.

We’ve abandoned our closest ally in Israel, embraced a nuclear agreement with Iran, ignored the ongoing human rights abuses in Cuba, and disregarded the territorial expansion of a Russian despot. And that’s only a recap of the last six months.

“Our allies struggle to understand why the Iranian regime – the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism – can extract so many concessions from the world’s superpower,” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, wrote after a recent trip to the Middle East. “This is part of a strange… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

New Contract with DMV Pumps the Brakes on Tax Overcharges

Remember last year when I called on the DMV to stop overcharging taxes on private party car sales? In case you don’t, here’s the letter I wrote to the DMV.

Under a new contract with Department of Motor Vehicle, the Board of Equalization will now have more oversight of motor vehicle use tax collection.

The new contract helps DMV counter staff to determine the correct rate for car buyers who live in zip codes with more than one tax rate. The agreement also creates a pilot program to explore and evaluate alternative methods to reduce reliance on five digit zip codes used to determine tax jurisdiction.

An internal review found that the DMV had used zip codes to charge taxes, even though zip codes are often split between cities and counties that employ different tax rates.

There were roughly 7,000 cases where taxpayers had been overcharged by the DMV. The Board will refund these overcharges to… Read More

Katy Grimes

Labor Kills Bill To Help Farm Workers

Labor unions are still running the show in the Democratically-controlled California Legislature. Despite hearing from more than 50 farmworkers on Wednesday, the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee denied the farmworkers the right to vote on their own labor negotiated contacts, even though this right is enjoyed by other union members in California.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove presented AB 1389 before the Labor Committee to ensure California farm workers are protected from unions willing to force them into contracts they don’t support. The bill was killed on a party line vote.

Patterson explained that a large group of farm workers came to he and Grove requesting… Read More

Katy Grimes

New Technology Facilitates Transparency, Openness in CA State Govt.

‘Transparency’ is probably the most overused word in political speech, while at the same time, the most underutilized in practice.In a free society, transparency in government means openness, accountability, and honesty. It is the obligation of government to share information with citizens, yet is increasingly difficult to access – even in California, home to Silicon Valley.

Without transparency, citizens are unable to hold public officials accountable. And that’s the problem –government is responsible for making itself available to be accountable. It’s unnatural. While the true statesman values principle above popularity, today’s era of politics in California doesn’t breed an abundance of statesmen.

However, one of the good guys – a real statesman – former State Sen. Sam Blakeslee, has tackled the problem of transparency in politics. The Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy, under the leadership of Blakeslee, officially launched the Digital Democracy Project, to provide a searchable database of all legislative hearings. “This package… Read More

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