FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Jon Fleischman

Democrats Cross Picket Line — Advocate for More Plastic Under The Guise Of A Ban

How can you tell we are in an election year? Look at the various pieces of legislation where the once foe is now a friend, but after Nov. 6th, will probably become a foe again.

There is no clearer example of election year hypocrisy than SB 270, which seeks to ban plastic grocery bags and impose a minimum 10-cent tax on all paper bags, with no price cap on what store owners could charge.

What came across – at first glance – as an effort to “improve our environment” has morphed into an attack on both recyclable plastic and paper bags and to further complicate things, the new proposed bags under SB 270 can’t be recycled curbside.

Under SB 270 the current plastic bags would be replaced with a much larger and thicker plastic bag and all the revenue generated by all the 10-cent taxes on paper bags would be kept by the grocery store… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Response to Budget Passage

Legislators can congratulate themselves on approving an on-time budget. Although this budget contains large spending increases, thankfully it does not raise taxes.

What’s missing is the broad-based tax relief we need to spur jobs and stimulate growth across our entire economy.

In addition, the Legislature missed yet another opportunity to defund the bullet train and eliminate the fire tax.

The Governor should wield his veto pen aggressively to trim wasteful spending. We can and should do more to pay down debt and bolster our rainy day fund.… Read More

Bob Huff

Senator Huff’s Budget Floor Speech

(Editor’s Note: Following is the text of the floor speech delivered by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff on the proposed 2014-15 California budget)

All things considered this is not a bad budget framework. There are some bills that our caucus will vote for today, and some that we won’t. We agree with many items in your budget plan – like the additional funding for K-14 education and making headway by paying down $10 billion of the $340 billion wall of debt.

We’d like to have a bipartisan budget that we can all feel good about, but this was a back-room deal negotiated by Democrats, for Democrats. There are many terrible new policies in some trailer bills that make it all but impossible to support. We may propose amendments to improve this budget, but as usual you’ll vote to block… Read More

Jon Coupal

Profligate – A Reaction To The State Budget

Profligate: adjective; recklessly prodigal or extravagant.

Given the experience of the recent recession, one would think that our state political leadership would have learned the dangers of profligate public spending. The most recent economic bust, and the dot com bust which preceded it, should have served as a stark reminder about the consequences of growing government faster than economic growth and the failure of not planning for another downturn.

But this is California – the state with one of the lowest ratings for effective governance and efficient use of tax dollars. And, by the way, that’s not just a disgruntled conservative complaining. By any objective criteria, including the respected Pew Center for States, California is a state where… Read More

Supervisor John Moorlach

Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN)

[We are pleased to offer this original commentary from Orange County Supervisor and longtime FR friend John Moorlach. The COIN ordinance described below appears on the Board agenda tomorrow – Flash]

Eight years ago, then Orange County Register reporter Norberto Santana opened his piece, “The Art of the O.C. Deal (Orange County Register, August 6, 2006),” with the following observation: “When people see the board of supervisors vote on a labor deal, what they don’t know is that most often, an agreement has already been reached in private. And it’s perfectly legal.”

The root cause of fiscal distress for many municipalities is the negotiated bargaining unit agreements. The promise of future benefits could not be feasibly be paid. And most would have told you so if they were asked about the sustainability of the deal points. But when the public is not aware of the contract details until after they are agreed to, it is too late. Shouldn’t the experience of this obvious flaw in the process give those who come after a strong reason to open the negotiation process? Yes, it should.

Can you imagine a… Read More

Katy Grimes

Government’s Faustian bargain

Much is written daily about the turmoil throughout the United States, and wars around the world. When the headlines of these stories are put together, the story is diabolical and dangerous; it would appear the U.S. has made a Faustian bargain, and is even under siege – from within.

Each of these stories individually delves into the horrors taking place somewhere in the U.S. or on foreign soil. The list of news headlines from the last two days, none of which were in my local newspaper, tells a more complete horror story.

National headlines:

“Obama opens borders to Mexican gang … Read More

Richard Rider

CA Community College Tuition and Fees (still) the Lowest in the Nation

Here’s an update of a commentary I wrote in May of 2011, in response to coordinated protests across the state against higher California community college tuition. It turns out that — even with the 2012 substantial increase in our community college tuition — our community college students still pay easily the lowest community college tuition and fees in the nation — and most of our community college students don’t pay ANY out-of-pocket tuition at all!

The specific figures in the article below (the article was published in several places) are outdated, so I update the numbers here– and I include not just tuition but the fees. But note that theotherpoints in the article are as valid today as the day I wrote the piece –many of our students don’t pay any tuition or fees at all!

2013-14 UPDATE:Based on a 15 creditRead More

Katy Grimes

Cap and Trade Hearing Has Lawmakers Lining Up With Spending Plans

With billions of dollars expected to be generated by the California Air Resource Board’s cap and trade auctions, many in the Legislature are excited with ideas of how to spend the money.

But rather than scheming on foolhardy, unsustainable spending plans, if the real goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, experts involved in the process say the Legislature should give the money back to the businesses it taxed, with the proviso the money is spent helping the companies lower their emissions.

What is AB 32 and Cap and Trade?

Last week, the Senate held a very long Informational Budget committee hearing on the Senate’s proposed long-term plan for Cap and Trade auction… Read More

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