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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Edward Ring

How Labor Money Undermines the Financial Literacy of California’s Legislators

“In an era when we aren’t going to have tax increases, figure out how to be more efficient spending the money we’ve got, and the Republicans can help you do that if they’ll get off the philosophical cant about stuff and help you make things more efficient. They actually culturally know more and occupationally know more about efficiencies than Democrats typically do.” – California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Democrat,addressing the state legislaturein 2010.

What was Lockyer thinking? As one of the most plain spoken and financially astute politicians California’s got, and as someone who has been around the capitol for decades, he certainly knows a thing or two about Republicans and Democrats. Did Lockyer make a fair generalization? And if so, what are the causes, and what are the consequences?

“They actually culturally know more and occupationally know more about efficiencies than Democrats typically do.”

To explore the basis for Lockyer’s assertion, the biographies of California’s state… Read More

Kevin Dayton

4 Democrat-Held Statewide Offices Vulnerable to GOPers Who Focus Campaigns on High-Speed Rail Fiasco

State Office Democrats Republicans Governor Jerry Brown (incumbent) Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari Treasurer John Chiang (now Controller) None Controller Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee None Attorney General Kamala Harris (incumbent) None

The deadline to file a candidate statement for a statewide office for the June 3, 2014Read More

Kevin Dayton

It’s Winnable! Conditions Are Ripe for a Republican to Get Elected in 2014 as California State Treasurer

News media and California Republican Party activists are focused on which Republicans are running for Governor, and rightfully so.

But there is anotherelected statewide office that invites a campaign based on intellectual and popular arguments in support of fiscal responsibility.

That obscure but influential office is California State Treasurer.

And that office is quite winnable for a libertarian populist-styleRepublican who can credibly argue to The People against crony capitalism and build a majority coalition of support from voters on the Left and Right.

Why isn’t a smart, dynamic Republican with this kind of thinking jumping into this race? What an opportunity! Below are five winning issues for a Republican candidate for California State Treasurer.

1. Educate Voters about Bonds and Bond Measures

Bonds are free money that comes from President Obama or somewhere, right?

Californians don’t know that state and local “bond measures” on the ballot authorize governments to borrow money from Wall Street and pay it back – with interest. The so-called “One Percent”… Read More

Kevin Dayton

California High-Speed Rail: One-Way Ticket to Debt

On Monday, March 18, the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and an obscure entity known as the California High-Speed Passenger Train Finance Committee passed resolutions authorizing California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer to borrow $8.6 billion through bond sales to fund construction of the California High-Speed Rail.

This $8.6 billion adds to $480 million in bond sales authorized in 2009 and another $670 million in bond sales authorized in 2011. Some of this money will be used to build the first segment of the rail from Madera to Fresno.

Why is this happening? The people of California approved it.

In November 2008, 52.7% of voters (including 78% of voters in San Francisco) approved Proposition 1A, the “Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century.” Proposition 1A authorized the state to borrow $9.95 billion for design, environmental review, land acquisition, and construction by selling bonds to investors.

These bonds are “general obligation bonds” like the ones sold for school construction in California. This means the state can repay the bonds from any revenue source. They are not “revenue… Read More