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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Edward Ring

Final Results: 81% of Local Bonds Passed, 68% of Local Taxes Passed

It took over a month to count the provisional ballots, but the results are now in for every one of the 118 local bonds and 171 local tax increases that were voted on by Californians on November 4th. Prior to counting most of the provisional ballots, as reported on November 11th in our editorial “Californians Vote for More Taxes and More Borrowing,” here were the results so far:

November 11th provisional results: “At last count, of the 118 local bonds, 72 were passed, 15 were defeated, and 31 remain too close to call. Of the 171 local tax proposals, 98 were passed, 45 were defeated, and 28 are still too close to call.”

And here is the impact, five weeks later, with all ballots counted, including provisional ballots:

December 15 final results: Of the 118 local bonds, 96 were passed, and 22 were defeated. Of the 171 local tax proposals, 117 were passed, and 54 were defeated.Final results: 81% of local bond measures passed; 68% of local tax… Read More

Edward Ring

The Looming Bipartisan Backlash Against Unionized Government

Whenever discussing politically viable policy proposals to improve the quality of life in California, the imperative is to come up with ideas that strongly appeal to moderate centrists, since that is how most Californians would describe themselves. And there are two compelling issues that offer that appeal: making California’s system of K-12 education the best in the world, and restoring financial sustainability to California’s state and local governments.

While these two objectives have broad conceptual appeal, there is a clear choice between two very different sets of policies that claim to accomplish them. The first choice, promoted by public sector unions, is to spend more money. And to do that, their solution is to raise taxes, especially on corporations and wealthy individuals. The problem with that option, of course, is that California already has the highest taxes and most inhospitable business climate in the U.S.

The alternative to throwing more money at California’s troubled system of K-12 education and financially precarious cities and counties is to enact fundamental reforms. And these reforms, despite the fact that each of them arouses… Read 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 Supporters of Economic and Personal Freedom Can Plan for 2014 by Thinking Locally

Want to advance and protect economic and personal freedom in California in 2014?

Turn off the talk radio. Instead, turn on Cable Channel 19 or whatever station broadcasts your local government meetings. Or look up your local government web sites for agendas, minutes, and archived videos of meetings.

You may discover the Left advancing its agenda through the mundane policy implementation and administrative operations of your local governments, with virtually no resistance or news media coverage. But you can turn the tables.

Here are two suggestions on how YOU can make a difference in 2014 in your city.

Explain Bond Measures to Your Friends, Neighbors, and Coworkers

California voters almost always approve ballot measures that authorize local K-12 school and community college districts to borrow money for construction by selling bonds. Most voters know little about school construction finance. They vote for bond measures to “help the kids.”

While this incomplete knowledge about bond measures gives educational districts a chance to mismanage huge amounts of money with impunity, it also gives you the opportunity in… 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