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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Laer Pearce

Another Email Scandal: FOIAd Emails Reveal Feds Messing with New Water Supplies for California

In January 2014, President Barack Obama called Gov. Jerry Brown to express his concern about the impact of California’s prolonged drought on the state’s citizens and pledge federal support for drought relief efforts.

He must not be keeping tabs on what’s going on at his Interior Department.

On August 17, the Wall Street Journal’s lead editorial, “The Pipeline and the Short Seller,” revealed a chain of emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Cadiz, Inc. filed the request after its plan to bring 50,000 acre-feet of water annually to Southern California from a massive aquifer under the Mojave Desert was delayed when the California Director… Read More

Katy Grimes

Hertzberg Bill Benefits Taxpayer-Financed Union Slush Fund

The Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978 is rearing its ugly head once again in the California Legislature, as it roars to the end of the 2015-16 session. The idea behind the “Labor Management Cooperation Committee” ostensibly is to improve communication between representatives of Labor and Management, expand and improve working relationships between worker and managers, and to ensure health and safety working conditions in the construction industry, among other stated goals. But really, it is to put non-union companies out of business.

Senate Bill 954 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, would redefine what benefits employers can pay into as part of their obligation to pay workers on public works projects the prevailing wage. Specifically, the bill qualifies certain prevailing wage benefit payments, but only if they are made by an employer “obligated under a collective bargaining agreement.”

What this means is that non-union groups will be… Read More

Richard Rider

NY state edges out CA as the least free state. Relieved?

California’s elected officials should thank their lucky stars for oppressive New York state. If the Empire State (a surprisingly descriptive nickname) were run by slightly less insane politicians, then California would “win” the award as the nation’s least free state.

As it is, we’re “only” the SECOND worst state. Again. We’ve been 49thevery year since 2006.

Here’s the Cato Institute summation of why we are the “runner-up” state when it comes to liberty and freedom. You can check out the other states as well:

http://www.freedominthe50states.org/overall//california

CALIFORNIA — RANKED 49thSINCE 2006

State Facts

Net Migration Rate(?)-4.9 %

Personal Income Growth… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Let’s Pump the Brakes on Cap-and-Trade

In 2006, elected officials gave the California Air Resources Board (CARB) virtually unchecked authority to implement AB 32, which aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The legislation, including the controversial cap-and-trade program, expires in four years.

Some lawmakers have already introduced legislation, such as SB 32, to extend CARB’s authority. However, instead of rushing to renew this controversial and expensive program, we should slow down and come up with a more affordable solution that benefits all of California.

Cap-and-trade limits carbon emissions by energy producers and raises money through the sale of carbon credits. It’s supposed to fight global warming by making it more expensive to use carbon-based fuels. But that’s not the only thing it does.

It turns out the program has made life more expensive for Californians as well.

Since being given the authority, CARB has implemented a steady stream of costly regulations, such as the “hidden gas tax.” Experts agree that this hidden tax costs California drivers at least 10 cents more in added cost per gallon of gasoline. They also acknowledge CARB’s… Read More

Katy Grimes

California Legislative Spending Rampage Continues

If there is any doubt that this Democrat-controlled Legislature is on a spending rampage, take a look at the legislation below currently blowing through the Assembly and Senate.

All Democrat-authored bills

AB 1770 (Asm. Luis Alejo) makes non-citizens who are in the U.S. legally eligible for the California Food Assistance Program. AB 1770 is on suspense.

AB 1809 (Asm. Patty Lopez) eliminates the consideration of an individual’s assets as a condition of eligibility for CalWORKS. AB 1809 is currently being held in a committee.

SB 1010 (Sen. Ed Hernández) requires health plans and insurers to report information about prescription drug pricing to the State. Requires Department of Managed Health Care and Department of Insurance DOI to compile a report regarding the overall impact of drug costs on health care pricing.

AB 492 (Asm Lorena Gonzalez) provides an additional $50 per month to CalWORKS recipients for diapers for children under 2 years old.

SB 1465 (Sen. Pres. Kevin De León) allows the Governor to sign agreements making Los Angeles the host of the 2024 Olympic Games, including an agreement for joint liability.… Read More

Ed Ring

Average “Full Career” CalPERS Retirement Package Worth $70,000 Per Year

“‘What makes the ‘$100,000 Club’ some magic number denoting abuse other than the claims of anti-pension zealots?’ said Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of 1.6 million public workers and retirees.”

This quote from a government union spokesperson, and others, were dutifully collected as part of Orange County Register reporter Teri Sforza’s eminently balanced reporting on the latest pension data, in her August 8th article entitled “The ‘100K Club’ – public retirees with pensions over $100,000 – are a growing group.”

In the article, Sforza’s team evaluated data released byTransparent Californiaon 2015 CalPERS pensions, and reported the number of pensioners receiving $100,000 or more per year was 3.5% of total retirees, up from 2.9% in 2013. That truly does seem like a low percentage, but it ignores two key factors, (1) the total retiree pool includes people who only worked a few years and barely vested a pension, and (2) the total retiree pool includes people… Read More

Jon Coupal

CHICKENS COMING HOME TO ROOST

State Controller Betty Yee’s just released July Cash Report shows state personal income tax revenue falling behind estimates by 6.9 percent, or $323 million lower than projections. While some will argue that one month does not make a trend, these figures are significant because they represent revenue in the first month of the new state budget, a budget that is based on much higher income estimates.

Should these below projection income tax revenues really be a surprise to anyone with even a minimal understanding of basic economics? Economists tell us that if you want less of something, tax it more, and California has the highest marginal income tax rates in all 50 states.

When upper income individuals were slammed with tax rates on steroids as a result of Proposition 30, approved by voters in 2012, they had little immediate choice but to pay, and the tax revenue poured in. (It should be noted that the tax, approved in November, was retroactive for the entirety of 2012 so there was an almost instantaneous infusion of cash into state coffers.) Still, many compelled to pay these higher taxes took some comfort in knowing the exorbitant tax rates were… Read More

Richard Rider

Ray Ellis, strong San Diego Republican city council candidate, quits race

A further sign of the deteriorating political picture in California is the announced decision of Ray Ellis to quit the San Diego city council race. Well funded and in the November runoff in what used to be a Republican district, Ellis has read the tea leaves and dropped out — though I presume his name will remain on the November ballot. I got an email announcement today to that effect — because I was one of his donors in the primary.

It’s a sad but understandable decision. The Democrat will win easily, based on the surprising primary results. And the GOP turnout in November will be adversely impacted by the Trump divisiveness within the Republican Party.

This La Jolla district was the key race to winning a GOP majority on the city council, in a city that overall hasa decisive Democrat voter registration advantageof 42% to 25% (contrary to popular perceptions). Not gonna happen.

Here’s his letter to his donors:

Richard,

I want to thank you for all of your efforts and generous financial… Read More

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