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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Kevin Dayton

Union-Infected Community College Board Unexpectedly Respects Its Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee

A stunning vote occurred at the October 20, 2015 meeting of the elected governing board of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, located in the eastern suburbs of San Diego (“East County”). To the dismay and outrage of construction union officials anticipating a 4-1 victory, the board voted 3-2 to table a motion to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement with unions until the college consulted with its independent citizens’ bond oversight committee.

Although the vote was a temporary setback for construction unions, its greater significance was its endorsement for a concept of taxpayer protection in California under duress in recent years. Three college board members, two of whom solidly supported a union Project Labor Agreement, declared publicly that their citizens’ bond oversight committee was valuable and important.

The Origins of Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committees

In November 2000, California voters heeded the pleas of a huge coalition of powerful interest groups and enacted Proposition 39. This statewide ballot measure changed the California Constitution by reducing the percentage threshold needed… Read More

Katy Grimes

California Gas Tax ‘Unfair and Foolish’

The California Democratic Party claims to be for the poor and middle class, but killed a bill Monday which would have cut California’s highest-in-the-nation gas tax.Californians pay 68 cents tax on every gallon of gasoline – the highest gas tax in the nation.

Not content to be the first state in the country to tax the air we breathe, California is the first in the nation to impose a cap and trade tax on transportation fuels.

In response, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and more than 20 other Republican lawmakers, introduced AB 23, theAffordable Gas for California Families Act,legislation to exempt transportation fuels and natural gas from the California Air Resource… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Government Stalling Tactics Slow Fire Tax Lawsuit

As Californians hope and pray for an end to California’s drought and dangerous fire conditions, I am thankful for the many brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight fires throughout our state.

We’re also reminded that not one dime of our state’s so-called “Fire Prevention Fee” has helped fund this year’s firefighting efforts.

Someday a court will strike down the unfair and, I believe, illegal fire tax enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2010.

But getting there is proving quite a challenge.

As you may recall, in 2012 the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), with my strong support, filed a class action lawsuit seeking to invalidate the so-called fee on the basis that it is really an illegally enacted tax.

Since then, California Department of Justice attorneys paid with your tax dollars have repeatedly sought to do everything in their power to slow the case down.

I’m told some of the state’s stalling tactics go far beyond what is typical of government attorneys involved in legal proceedings. These tactics include filing multiple demurrers aimed at blocking… Read More

Ed Ring

California’s 2014 Local Tax Proposals – The Costly Alternative to Pension Reform

On November 4th, along everything else on the ballot, California’s voters will be asked to approve local tax measures. A list compiled by theCalifornia Taxpayers Association, “2014 Local Elections,” shows that across California’s cities and counties, local tax increases proposed include the following:

– Tax increases requiring only a majority vote: 5 business taxes, 11 hotel taxes, 9 marijuana taxes, 2 “property transfer” taxes, 1 vehicle tax, 1 property “anti-speculation” tax in San Francisco, at least 10 “utility users taxes,” 38 proposals to either increase sales taxes or extend sales tax increases that were set to expire, and a soda tax.

– Tax increases requiring a 2/3rd vote: 1 “miscellaneous” tax, 11 sales taxes, and 39 proposals to either increase parcel taxes or extend parcel tax increases that were set to expire, and 1 soda tax.

We don’t know why the soda tax in Alameda only requires a majority vote, while the soda tax in San Francisco requires a 2/3rds… Read More

Katy Grimes

How Many Local Office Holders Not Worthy Of Election To Legislature?

There is a disturbing trend happening in California, with cities trying to place sales and property tax increase initiatives on the ballot, often without a petition drive of the voters. Ostensibly these tax revenues are earmarked for “public safety,” or 
road maintenance, and improvements.

But that’s complete hooey; this money will be undoubtedly be used to pay for CalPERS pension and retiree health benefit payments. It has to be used for pensions and benefit payments, because most cities are so deep in debt, they can’t afford to fix sewer systems, maintain roads, or even maintain parks.

Think… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

True Conservatives Won’t Squash the “Amazon Tax” Referendum

My good friend Rex Hime recently penned a column for the Flash Report citing several instances where conservatives in other states supported “e-fairness” legislation.

That’s an interesting debate for another day. The issue before us today is not about the “Amazon Tax” itself—that bill already passed the Legislature this summer with only one Republican vote.

The issue before us is whether or not Republican lawmakers should support Assembly Bill 155—a blatant attempt by Democrats to block California voters from holding a referendum on the “Amazon Tax.” By cementing this failed policy into law with a 2/3rds vote of the Legislature, California voters would be denied the opportunity to overturn the “Amazon Tax.”

AB 155 is a slap in the face to the nearly one million California voters who have already signed petitions calling for a referendum of the “Amazon Tax.”

The Democrats know California voters aren’t on their side on this issue. A recent… Read More