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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Debt Sale Could Help Close Budget Gap

The State of California is currently sitting on billions of dollars of uncollected debt that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars on private debt markets. Rather than raise taxes on the hardworking people of California, state leaders should sell off debt to raise the cash we need—just like private businesses do.

Selling aging debt is a common practice in the private sector and has also been used successfully by many local governments. Selling debt makes a lot more sense than selling buildings you have to turn around and lease back.

The sale of these assets could provide much-needed one-time cash. Combined with rising revenues, these dollars could help protect priority programs and eliminate the perceived need to impose higher taxes on struggling Californians.

Today I called upon the Governor and legislative leaders urging them to consider such a sale in their ongoing budget negotiations.

Below is the text of my letter.

—-

June 6, 2011

Dear Governor Brown and Legislative Leaders:

I am writing to suggest monetizing a portion of the billions of dollars in debt owed the State of California as a possible… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

‘Tax the Rich’ Code for Taxing Job Creators

Years of overtaxation and overregulation have given California the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. Even so some of our state lawmakers still believe that punishing success is a recipe for job growth.

Efforts by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and other Democrat legislators to increase taxes on high income earners will actually punish California job creators and worsen volatile state revenues.

According to the Tax Foundation, California already has the third highest income tax rate and one of the most progressive tax structures in the nation. The top one percent of California’s income earners have incomes of $500,000 or more per year and pay up to 50% of all income tax revenues received by the state each year, according to a report by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The battle cry to ‘tax the rich’ is really code for taxing California’s job creators, including many small businesses that are struggling to survive. Rather than help California’s budget, higher taxes will reduce revenues and drive even more job creators out of our state or out of business.

The Tax Foundation also… Read More

Richard Rider

CA unemployment rate is 38.4% higher than the other states

Here’s an unsettling thought: We have been comparing CA unemployment with the national average. But what we SHOULD be comparing is CA vs. the average of the other 49 states.

This distinction is important. California holds about 12% of the entire nation’s population, and thus materially impacts the national average figure.

Consider the latest employment figures for the month of April, 2011. If you take California’s dismal 11.9% unemployment number out of the national average, the average for the other 49 states is not the 9.0% national average, but rather 8.6%. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm

BOTTOM LINE: In actual percentages, the CA unemployment rate is a full 3.3% higher than the average for the other 49 states. In terms of percentage difference, that makes CA unemployment on average 38.4% higher than the other states.Read More

Meredith Turney

California’s Prison Break

I’m still fuming about the Supreme Court’s decision forcing California to release 46,000 prisoners into our streets. The response from conservative, common sense pundits has been pretty universal: this is an outrageous decision that will result in more crime. The real travesty in all of this is that it could have been avoided. As I mention in the following video blog, money isn’t the issue. At least, not the amount of money, just how it’s being spent…

Even for jaded politicos, it’s shocking that Governor Brown’s initial response to the matter is to turn it into a blatant appeal for higher taxes. It’s almost like extortion: your wallet for your safety. Even the Sacramento Bee acknowledged the crass politicking with this headline: “Jerry Brown calls prison ruling a reason for taxes”

While it might be more frightening to be mugged by one of the thugs that will soon… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

At Least Justice Kennedy Can Sleep Easier at Night

As the lead legislative intervenor challenging an August 2009 federal court order reducing California’s prison population, I am dismayed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in Brown v. Plata.

The decision to force California’s prisons to release 46,000 convicted felons is a historic attack on the constitutional rights of states and the liberty of all Californians.

By flooding our neighborhoods with criminals, the Court will make one of highest taxed states in the nation among the most dangerous as well, further tarnishing the California dream.

At a time when law-abiding Californians cannot find jobs, it’s hard to imagine how convicted felons will do anything other than return to a life of crime.

But at least Justice Kennedy can sleep easier at night knowing that none of these dangerous felons will be released in his neighborhood.… Read More

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