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Why do city officials raise taxes? The answer, in some cases, is as simple as “because they can,” or at least they think they can.

In recent weeks, a number of California cities announced plans to extend their utility user tax to media streaming subscriptions and online rentals. So, if you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Sling TV, etc., your bill could soon increase by the amount of your city’s tax. Utility user taxes average about 6% but are as high as 11% in some cities.

If you don’t remember voting to tax Internet services, you’re right. Then why do these cities think they can get around Prop 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act?

To read the entire column click here http://www.hjta.org/ california-commentary/will- cities-increase-the-cost-of- internet-services/Read More

Katy Grimes

Anti-Charter School Labor Union Controlling San Diego County Board of Education

How does the San Diego County Board of Education become dubiously entangled with the owner of a solar company and a labor union boss?

It’s For The Children… Yeah, right.

In 2012 and 2014, the American Federation of Teachers labor union local 1091, led by union boss Jim Mahler, financed the take-down of community based San Diego County Board of Education board members, and installed his own labor union members.

In 2014, an independent board member, Doug Perkins, beat the union candidate, Rick Shea, but Perkins fell ill and resigned. The union-dominated board jumped on the opportunity and appointed Shea, giving the labor union 100 percent control of the board.

However, in the 2016 June primary, pro-reform candidates supported by the Charter Schools Association, won two seats. The third and deciding vote on the five-member board will be determined in a run-off between pro-reform candidate, former State Senator Mark Wyland, and labor union supported and appointed,… Read More

Ed Ring

The Credibility of Public Service

California’s government unions are nothing like private sector unions. Their bosses are selected via elections where these unions are the dominant campaign contributors. They get their money through compulsory taxes and therefore don’t have to run efficient operations. They run the machinery of government which lets them intimidate their opponents and act as gatekeeper to business interests. Their agenda – more government workers and more pay and benefits for government workers – is intrinsically at odds with the public interest, which must focus on achieving an optimal government, not bigger government for its own sake.

For these reasons, government unions are not only drivers of government inefficiencies and financial challenges, they discredit government itself. In three parts – local, state, and federal – here are ways that government unions have taken away much of the credibility once enjoyed by government agencies, and the good people who staff these agencies.

Part One – Local Government Credibility

A friend of mine just got a ticket for making a right turn on a red light. They weren’t… Read More

Michelle Steel

Placing Politics Before Our Children

Using deceptive language Sacramento politicians are trying to push an initiative that would threaten our children’s future. While most of us are interested in improving the lives of our children, politicians in Sacramento are playing politics by overturning a previous initiative that would disrupt their education and hurt their chances for success.

Under the illusion of helping students Senator Ricardo Lara, author of proposition 58, wants Californians to waste tax dollars and essential learning time by allowing alternative programs to replace the English-only classrooms. Replacing them with bilingual courses that would make it harder for students to learn English and reach their goals.

To help persuade voters, politicians are using the misleading title of “English proficiency” in order to gain support for their initiative. However, these changes would actually allow for “English Language Learners” (ELL) to go for years without being taught in English.

Californians in 1998 understood how important it is for students to learn English as quickly as possible and designed the education system to do so. We passed proposition 227 so that our schools… Read More

Jon Coupal

Debt Addicts Spend Big Opposing Prop. 53

The usual suspects are digging deep into their pockets to make sure that California’s borrowing binge remains unchecked. Contractors, unions and bond houses that benefit from state debt are contributing millions to defeat Proposition 53, the Stop Blank Checks initiative. This straightforward proposal simply requires voter approval of state issued construction bonds larger than $2 billion.

These insiders are being joined by the ultimate insider, Gov. Jerry Brown, who has contributed $4.1 million left over from his 2014 reelection campaign. So far, over $15 million in campaign cash is being used for a massive television buy featuring the governor calling for Prop. 53’s defeat because, he says, it will increase the cost of “roads, bridges and hospitals.” This claim is ludicrous on its face. Prop. 53 creates no new costs, but allows taxpayers to approve new debt.

Even if he believes his own words, Brown may have a less obvious motivation for wanting to defeat Prop. 53. He is concerned about his legacy and fears that allowing voters to decide important spending issues might make it more difficult to build that upon which he has seized as his ticket to… Read More

Ray Haynes

Taxes Take Everyone’s Freedom

When I was in the Legislature, I took a “sister state” trip to the region of Umbria, Italy. While touring the city of Perugia, an Etruscan city, the Mayor of the City pointed out a brass plaque above the Mayor’s chair. It turns out that the plaque was written in 300 or 400 B.C. by the King of Perugia to relieve the peasants of that period of their taxes for 10 years. That King became so popular that his “generous” act was remembered 2400 years later. Upon hearing that story, I said to one of my Democrat colleagues with me “See, people remember politicians like me, that is, those who cut taxes, for ages, they kill politicians like you, that is, the ones who raise their taxes.” He got this blank look on his face, and said, “You’re right, I never thought of it that way.”

I tell this story, because today, I read a blog by Joe Mathews titled “In California, Taxes Are Almost Always Temporary” and Mathews thought this to be a problem (http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2016/10/california-taxes-almost-always-temporary/). His premise is absolutely incorrect. First, the taxes we pay every year have never… Read More

Katy Grimes

OCR Endorsement of Prop 58 Bilingual Ed; A Case of White Guilt?

Language Immersion programs are the optimal approach to learn a language. This is never more evident than in the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, a Department of Defense educational and research institution which provides linguistic and cultural instruction. They use classroom teaching as well as immersion techniques for maximum results.

Immersion is also the best way to assimilate immigrants into any culture.

California Proposition 58, “Non-English Languages Allowed in… Read More

Katy Grimes

Put CA Government On The Same Bread-and-Water Diet Taxpayers Are On

It appears every city, county and municipality in California has a tax increase measure on the November 8th ballot, and is spending taxpayer dollars promoting these tax increase ballot measures. Illegal government manipulation in elections has ramped up all across the state – and taxpayers are footing the cost.

“From Yreka, near the Oregon border, to El Centro, just north of Mexico, more than 80 local governments are asking voters next month to approve sales-tax increases, the most on record,”… Read More

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