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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Richard Rider

UPDATED 2015 FIGURES: California per capita GDP — adjusted for COL — is worse than all but 13 states

It’s common for the remaining California boosters (almost ALL of whom are far to the left of center) to smugly assert that “If California were a country, it would have the world’s 6thlargest economy.” Referencing this ranking, “Comedian” Bill Mayer recently delivered this smug progressive punchline to Republicans — “Scoreboard, bitches!!

To entertain his carefully screened liberal audiences, Mayer relies on “talking points” rather than economic analysis. Indeed, how else could he be a progressive? By not digging deeper into such matters, he periodically demonstrates his profound economic illiteracy. Certainly in this case!

Granted, using just GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as a benchmark, this GDP boast is technically a true assertion.… Read More

Jon Coupal

“Right to Vote on Taxes” Case Now Before California Supreme Court

Last week the California Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could determine whether the right to vote on local taxes, which is constitutionally guaranteed by both Propositions 13 and 218, will cease to exist.

The case, California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, at first glance seems limited to a narrow technical question: When a local initiative seeks to impose a new tax, does the issue need to be put to the voters at the next general election or can the proponents, relying on other laws, force a special election? But in answering that question, the lower court ruled that taxes proposed by initiative are exempt from the taxpayer protections contained in the state constitution, such as the provision dictating the timing of the election.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), which filed the petition seeking Supreme Court review, was alarmed because the constitution’s taxpayer protections include the right to vote on taxes. If local initiatives are exempt from those protections, then public agencies could easily deny taxpayers their right to vote on taxes by colluding with outside interests to propose taxes in the form of an initiative,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Fishy Circumstances as CA Department of Public Health Replaces 20-Year Vendor

Something smells fishy inside the California Department of Public Health’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program… something that reeks of nepotism, kickbacks, or even a quid pro quo type of corruption, rather than just plain old government incompetence.

After contracting with the same Oakland-based and minority-owned company for the last 19 years for health services to California AIDS/HIV patients, the California Department of Public Health’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program just awarded the contract to out-of-state companies.

The company currently providing the specialty health services to California AIDS/HIV patients is Ramsell Corporation, a minority-owned business located in Oakland, CA. They’ve won multiple California ADAP contracts over nearly 20 years. Now their business is being yanked away by a bid process that appears to have been rigged. After submitting proposals, as they have done many times, Ramsell was notified… Read More

Ed Ring

Teachers Union Chases “Teach for America” Out of San Francisco

It should be an article of faith by now that in California, whatever the teachers union wants, the teachers union gets. It is nonetheless surprising that their reach might extend all the way to a recent decision by the San Francisco Unified School District board to rejectfifteen talented teachers who were part of “Teach for America.”

TheTeach for Americaprogram, similar to the Peace Corps, attracts some of the top college graduates in the United States to spend two years teaching students in underprivileged communities. Not only are these highly motivated and underpaid teachers committing themselves to work in schools with chronic teacher shortages, but they typically teach the subjects for which the profession has the hardest time finding teachers – in science, math, special education, and bilingual classrooms.

Never mind all that. Go away. Never mind that San Francisco Unified needs to fill 500 teaching jobs by August in the midst of a statewide teachers shortage. The union can’t accept “cheap labor” that might undermine their lock on the teaching profession.

If you review the candidate… Read More

Katy Grimes

Diablo Canyon Closure Has a Crony Problem

“Diablo Canyon produces twice as much power as all of California’s solar panels, 24 percent more than all of its wind, and 40 times more than its largest solar farm. Also, Diablo Canyon provides power to 3 million Californians on a patch of land the size of three football fields. Achieving the equivalent from a solar farm would require145 timesmore land; from wind, 500 times more.” –Michael Shellenberger, Breakthrough Institute co-founder,and Peter Raven,former Missouri Botanical Gardens head By Tom TantonRead More

Jon Coupal


In Chicago, escalating property taxes are headline news. With the average property tax bill due to go up by 13 percent – and more increases in subsequent years virtually guaranteed – home ownership in the Windy City is in deep peril. No one seems happy except the moving companies.

This drastic tax increase is the result of bad decisions by corrupt officials who have caved to city employee pension demands that are unsustainable without massive borrowing. And that borrowing will be paid for by massive property tax hikes. But if homeowners are considering fleeing exorbitant taxation, they may have to travel a good distance. Illinois residents, even without the Chicago pension tax, are already paying the highest effective property tax rate in the nation at 2.67 percent, according to a recent study by CoreLogic, an Irvine, California-based provider of data to the financial and real estate industries.

Nationally, the study shows the median property tax rate is 1.31 percent of value.

Click here to read the entire column… Read More

Even Governor Jerry Brown Admits Income Taxes Destabilize State Budget

For many years, Rich States, Poor States, Tax Myths Debunked and other ALEC publications have warned against overreliance on state level income taxes – on both personal and business income. The reasons are numerous and range from the adverse economic effects of the taxes, to purely public finance objections, such as the volatile nature of income tax revenues.

Recently, even liberal Governor Jerry Brown joined in the chorus and admitted Sacramento’s overreliance on income taxes has now caused some serious budget problems for the Golden State. This is more than somewhat ironic, since the governor helped pass the very same income tax hikes that exacerbated the problem. A headline from Tax Notes read “California Governor Says Dependence on Income Tax Hurts Revenue Stability.” The story goes on to report that “California’s tax revenue in April was over $1 billion less than projected, and according to the summary of Brown’s May budget revision, the state is predicting a shortfall of $1.9 billion over what was forecast.” Many on the political Left rejoiced when, in 2012, California increased taxes and retroactively saddled hardworking taxpayers with the… Read More

Richard Rider

CA did well financially in 2015, but largely offset by soaring CA cost of living

In a dramatic improvement, California did quite well economically in 2015 — as measured by job creation and GDP. Not good when looking back since the start of the recession, but definitely good this past year.

Unfortunately much of our improvement compared to the other states was offset by our ever-worsening cost of living rankvis-à-visour domestic state competitors. California’s COL ranked 36.2% higher than the national average in the 1st quarter of 2016, up from “only” 34.3% in 2014. Only the very expensive island state of Hawaii has a higher COL than the Golden State.

Composite Cost of Living (Scaled)

First Quarter 2016

Read More

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