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Katy Grimes

Steyer defends Prop. 39 to raise taxes on business

cross posted at CalWatchdog

Most of us would think that wealthy people would be more interested in sponsoring ballot initiatives to cut taxes, not to increase them. But of the three tax-increase ballot initiatives on the November ballot to significantly raise taxes, two were sponsored by very wealthy individuals, Proposition 38 by attorney Molly Munger and Proposition 39 by hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer.

The third is the Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 tax increase.

Prop. 39 is getting noticed. But it’s is just another retread of the 2010 Proposition 24, which voters killed.

Prop. 39 would require businesses headquartered out of the state to use the “single sales factor method,” in which their tax liability is based solely on their amount of sales in the state.

They would no longer be allowed to use the other option, known as the “three-factor method,” which bases tax liability on a combination of the sales, property and number of employees a business has in the state. That option was a tax-cut part of the budget deal in 2009… Read More

Katy Grimes

A tax in sheep’s clothing

cross posted at CalWatchdog

A standard of the Republican Party platform is “no new taxes and less regulation.” But last week, at the very end of the two-year legislative session, the Legislature was faced with a bill containing a $2.3 billion car tax increase–and it had Republican votes.

Senate Bill 1455 by Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, would extend the extra fees on vehicle registrations, boat registrations, smog surcharges, and tire sales until 2023, in order to fund environmental state programs for production, distribution, and sale of alternative fuels, green vehicle technologies, and carbon emissions reduction plans.

Billed as an environmentally-friendly bill, SB 1455 was gutted-and-amended, the tax increase surprisingly materialized only last week, and the bill received only one policy hearing. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association warned, “the regulatory relief can be altered in the future by a majority vote, while this tax extension against vehicle owners will last another… Read More

Katy Grimes

Is CA about to become a sanctuary state?

Immigration issues within states are becoming more prevalent. The usual complaints are that the federal government isn’t doing enough to enforce U.S. policy.

California is different. Earlier this year, it already embarked into uncharted territories, with the state Legislature voting to allow the children of undocumented aliens to attend the state’s public universities and colleges, at estimated costs of $65 million a year in financial aid and scholarships.

California: Sanctuary State

There have been many failed attempts to pass state laws allowing undocumented immigrants to live and work in California without the constant threat of deportation. Many say that this should have sent a clear message to lawmakers. Even a ballot initiative, the California Opportunity and Prosperity Act, failed to get enough signatures to quality for the November ballot.

“But noooooo,” as John Belushi used to say on “Saturday Night Live.”

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Sylmar, together with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, revived the attempt. In one of the most repugnant moves legislators can make, they gutted and… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

First Fire Tax Bills Mail August 13

It’s not fair; it’s not constitutional, but thanks to Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature, fire tax bills are coming all the same.

The State of California will begin mailing the first of more than 825,000 “Fire Prevention Fee” bills on Monday, August 13.

The tax, approved as a fee by a simple majority vote of the Legislature last year, charges residential property owners in rural areas $150 for each habitable structure located on their land. Property owners who pay for local fire protection will receive a $35 reduction.

To help inform California taxpayers, I’ve established a website, calfirefee.com, providing information about the new fire tax. Californians can visit this site to find out if they might soon receive a fire tax bill. You can also find details regarding the process, timeline and grounds for filing an appeal.

The bills will go out in alphabetical order by county between August and early December. The state has released the following partial mailing schedule:

ALAMEDA August 13th through… Read More

Katy Grimes

100 years of Capitalism and Freedom

I am honored to be a new contributor to the FR blog. My CalWatchdognew stories and columns appear in the FlashReport, and now I will be a blogger as well. Sometimes I will cross post with CalWatchdog, and sometimes the posts will be exclusive to the FR blog – Katy Grimes, 7/31/2012

As free marketeers celebrate famed Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman’s 100 birthday today, revisiting Friedman’s 1979 interview with Phil Donahue, where Friedman schooled Donahue, a 1970′s liberal television talk show host, on capitalism. This is an important reminder of why we fight for the free market.

Friedman, born July 31, 1912, and died November 16, 2006, easily dispelled the common liberal… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Budget Will Be Decided by Voters

The Governor must act on the budget by midnight today. If he had the courage, he would send it back and demand the Legislature send him a fully vetted plan that is truly balanced, contains real reform and spurs job creation in our state.

The truth is that California won’t have a real budget until November. That’s when voters will decide whether to embrace or reject the billions in higher taxes the budget assumes.

Should taxes fail, the budget calls for billions in ‘trigger cuts’ to education funding. I suspect these ‘trigger cuts’ are little more than a head fake aimed at scaring overtaxed Californians into taxing themselves even more.… Read More

Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner

I Can’t Keep Up

I’m really trying. But I just can’t keep up with dumb ideas from the other party.

On the campaign trail, I’ve told the story of a meeting last year with some plaintiffs’ lawyers who specialize in employment law. I mentioned the idiotic and counterproductive Labor Code requirement that bars ten hour work days, even if the employee wants them. In a flight of what I thought was hyperbole, I added that Democrats act as if, without that law, “there would be 12 year old urchins in basements sewing garments again.”

“Oh, no, Mr. Wagner,” one of the lawyers earnestly replied, “that’s exactly what would happen.”

What I took as an obvious exaggeration, she took as a very good argument for a very bad law.

A couple of weeks ago, Democrats on the Assembly Education Committee complained about the narrow scope of a bill by State Senator Bob Huff. They objected to it because it didn’t completely fix a big problem (ironically, a big problem of Democrats’ own making with faulty legislation they passed a few years ago – but I digress). Instead, the bill dealt only with a small piece of the larger problem, and supposedly was objectionable for… Read More

Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner

California’s Phantom Budget

On Friday, the Legislature passed the state budget and, while I don’t want to sound like a crank, I have to ask: Really? This is how we do things in Sacramento? This is how we govern the nation’s most populous state? This is how we pass the budget – the single most important piece of legislation we’ll consider all year?

I serve on the Budget Committee and thought we had scraped the bottom of the procedural barrel last year. The committee hearing on that final budget lasted only about 45 minutes before the committee chairman cut off questioning to take a vote so that Democratic members of the committee could “catch airplanes.”

But we hadn’t hit bottom. This year, incredibly, the process was worse.

For example, the Budget Committee never even held a hearing and vote on the budget we passed on Friday, so I guess last year’s 45 minutes wasn’t bad. Instead, we had an “informational” presentation of a budget “framework.” In some news reports, Sacramento’s ruling Democrats called it a “concept” for the budget. In any event, there was no vote, even on the “concept” for this year’s budget. Moreover, the language of the budget… Read More

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