FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Kevin Dayton

Taxpayers Fund Biased Policy Justifications for LA Minimum Wage and Bay Area Prosperity Plan

About 95% of the public policy studies and reports circulating among California state and local governments reject a free market approach to societal challenges. Instead, these studies and reportsadvocate more governmentspending, more government programs, and more government intrusion into commerce and personal behavior.

Obviously “Progressive” intellectual thought in California gets a disproportionate share of funding. Who funds the policy institutes churning out the vision that will likely define the future of the state?

You do. For many of these operations, government is a major source of funding.

Federal, state, regional, and local governments move money around with little accountability through grants and contracts. Some of it ends up going to Left-leaning policy institutes.

One notorious example of a government-funded policy institute is the union-oriented University of California Miguel Contreras Labor Program. After the California Labor Federation succeeded in establishing the program with a $6 million appropriation in the 2000-01 state budget, the annual budget always included a specific line-item amount for the program. The… Read More

Asm. Travis Allen

The Governor’s Proposed Budget Fails to Address the Real Issues

[Publisher's Note: We are pleased to offer this commentary from Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen, who's sentiment below we believe speaks for most Republicans throughout the Golden State -- Flash]

The Governor’s 2015-16 Budget Fails to Address the Real Issues Assemblyman Travis Allen

Governor Brown just released his proposed 2015-16 Budget, and while there are positive aspects, such as maintaining a rainy day fund and beginning to address our state’s massive $73 billion unfunded healthcare liability for state workers, the Governor is out of touch with the real issues facing California.

Regarding the $73 billion healthcare liability, I proposed to prefund it last year in my bill, AB 1681, which would have required any new contracts by a public employer that provides postemployment healthcare benefits to include a strategy for prefunding those healthcare benefits. The Democrats that control the Legislature were unwilling at the time to ensure that the state take real action toward paying down the colossal debt amassed by decades of politicians. I’m looking… Read More

Richard Rider

The nasty hidden state tax that Californians all pay — a tax charged in only 7 states

Here’s a nasty tax that Californians pay every year. It’s a tax that you are probablycompletelyunaware of — a tax that is charged in only 6 other states. When you pay for your California homeowners policy, life insurance, car insurance, health insurance, business insurance, annuity — ANY insurance product except “tax qualified” plans (annuity retirement plans, primarily) — hidden inside your insurance bill is a 2.35% CA premium tax — essentially a sales tax. It’s not broken out as a tax in your bill, nor discussed by your insurance companies when you buy their products.

It’s a tax in lieu of the insurance companies paying a corporate income tax on NET profits — the way the vast majority of states choose to tax insurance corporations (if they have a state corporate income tax at all, of course).

I don’t know for sure exactly how we compare with other states overall on this tax, but I DID find the figures on how we rank with our 2.35%… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Response to Governor’s Budget

Today the Governor released a budget that reflects his priorities. I’m encouraged by his continued commitment to pay down debt and phase out Proposition 30’s temporary tax increases.

But at its core, the Governor’s budget grows state government spending to record levels. I’m concerned that tax-and-spend legislators will push for even more spending, taxes and regulations that will rob Californians of freedom and jobs.

Republicans must resist the siren song to grow big government even bigger. Instead, we must offer compelling free-market alternatives that prioritize jobs, education and public safety.… Read More

Katy Grimes

Judge Rules Against CA Air Board In Important Diesel Regs Case

Californians just found out this week the new gas tax initiated by the California Air Resources Board, is 10 cents per gallon of gas. However, it will grow.January 1, California began including transportation fuels – gasoline, diesel and propane – in the nation’s first carbon emission cap-and-trading scheme. However, no other state or country in the world has attempted to regulate the sale of gasoline and diesel under a cap-and-trade program, and byAB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act,which requires cutting greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by year 2020.

As we awaited this new tax news, I harkened back to a 2013 hearing in the California Assembly Transportation Committee when CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols said, because… Read More

California High-Speed Rail Still Flawed at its Core

[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 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.]

If you are new to the FlashReport, please check out the main site and the acclaimed FlashReport Weblog on California politics.

For years now, Governor Brown and the High-Speed Rail Authority have turned the idea of high-speed rail into a public albatross far beyond what Californians envisioned or voted for.

Flashback… Read More

Katy Grimes

California’s High Speed ‘Browndoggle’ Breaks Ground

Desperate to get any part of California’s High Speed Rail built, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed the groundbreaking for the rail system upto Tuesday, just as the new Republican Congress is getting settled.

The motive? Democrats want to get their hands on $3.5 billion in federal stimulus money. And, there’s no time like the present… following a recent Third District Court of Appeal ruling which overturned a Sacramento Superior Court decision which contended that the funding plan for the high-speed rail project violated the ballot measure voters approved in 2008.

Dan Richard, chairman of the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said they would move “aggressively” to build “a modern high-speed rail system that connects the state, creates jobs and complies with the law.”

There’s no time to waste lest another legal decision derail their plans.“Jobs, jobs, jobs” was the campaign rally cry for Jerry Brown during his 2010 run for governor, when he vowed his support for high-speed rail. He supported it so much it’s earned the nickname the “Browndoggle.”

In January 2013, Brown held carefully staged signing… Read More

Ed Ring

Conservatives, Police Unions, and the Future of Law Enforcement

Conservatives in America are at a crossroads. They face a choice between greater freedom or greater security. While striking this delicate balance has required ongoing policy choices throughout history, recent events involving law enforcement have brought these choices into sharp focus. Here’s how Patrik Johnson, writing last month in theChristian Science Monitor, described the choice:

“Police forces nationwide are being pulled between two opposite trends: more empathetic, community policing and an increasingly militarized response to crises.”

How conservatives, on balance, weigh in on this choice has far reaching consequences. On one hand, conservatives can support suggested reforms that embrace the value of empathy, minimize violence, alleviate tensions, and pave the way for 21st century policing appropriate to a free republic. Here is a key reform advocated by the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, in reaction to the tensions in that city following a police shooting:

“A comprehensive review by the Department ofRead More

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