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Katy Grimes

Sacramento’s Billion Dollar 
Budget Fairy Tale

Subtitle: The Fleecing of Sacramento’s Taxpayers

Sacramento’s City Manager John Shirey released the proposed 2015/2016 budget last week. It’s clear that this city manager, the mayor, and the city council members are cavalier with their spending of other people’s money.More is never enough. And the word “austerity” is not in their vocabularies.

The other important issue to note is even with his latest attempt to become a strong mayor squashed (again) by the voters last year, Mayor Kevin Johnson is the driving force anyway behind this budget and the… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. ‘Moonbeam’s Historical Transformation of ‘Crazifornia’

The Golden State of California has been dubbed “Crazifornia” and “La-la land,” and called “the land of fruits and nuts.” Furthermore, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, is known as “Governor Moonbeam,” a moniker from which he’d like to disentangle himself.

The rest of the country believes California has earned and deserves these disparaging names. And unless something changes in this batty state, Governor Moonbeam is on track to meticulously and completely destroy the state’s economy and bankrupt the government.

But hey… who’s going to stop him? The media?

Gov’s Agenda – Not Voters’Read More

Katy Grimes

Lawmakers Propose Exemption For January Gas Tax

California, the state obsessed with being first at everything, is aiming to add another first to its record books — Not content to be the first state in the country to tax the air we breathe, California will be the first in the nation to impose a cap and trade tax on transportation fuels.

In response, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, and more than 20 other Republican lawmakers, announced Monday, the introduction of theAffordable Gas for California Families Act,legislation to exempt transportation fuels and natural gas from the California Air Resource Board’scap-and-trade program.

The move afoot by the radical left to strip Americans of their cars under the guise of environmentalism, knows no bounds.

With the second highest gas taxes in the country, and a flailing cap and trade program, whose only trading partner is Quebec,California is already paying the price.

While the rest of the country is currently enjoying lower gas prices, Californians will be faced with a hefty new… Read More

Edward 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

Edward Ring

Reinventing America’s Unions for the 21st Century

Critics have suggested that leaders of the labor movement suffer from economic illiteracy that has made them the architects of their own demise. The unwillingness of unions to make concessions in the face of global competition starting in the 1960′s was a major factor in Americans losing millions of union jobs. In the present day, unions push for minimum wage hikes well beyond what inflation might justify (about $9.00 to $10.00 per hour), with “fight for fifteen” campaigns which, if successful, will carry the unintended consequences of higher unemployment and accelerated small-business failures. Today only about 7% of America’s private sector workers belong to unions.

One can also make the case that unions are becoming irrelevant because much of what they fought for is now enshrined in law. Labor laws protect workers from wrongful termination. OSHA standards ensure workplace safety. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a host of other social welfare programs all provide a safety net for the aged, disabled and unemployed. The Affordable Care Act, fraught with flaws that will hopefully either get repealed or replaced, at least guarantees anyone can purchase… Read More

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

Edward Ring

Detroit’s Pension Reform Sets an Example for California Cities

“I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss.”

– Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

Traveling through suburban Detroit, a sprawling city of 143 square miles whose population has dropped from nearly two million to less than 700,000, you can often imagine you are in rural Tennessee. Rutted narrow roads bend past groves of cottonwood, oak and silver maple. Deer and jack rabbits forage in tall grass. Until you pass a burned out ruin of a home, not yet removed, obscured by greenery, it is difficult to imagine that these neighborhoods once were filled with homes, set 35 feet apart and carpeting the land for mile after mile.

According to the so-called “right wing propaganda machine,” the tale of Detroit’s demise is attributed to the unchecked power of labor unions. Private sector unions were inflexible in the face of foreign competition, driving Detroit’s auto industry into irreversible decline. Public sector unions gobbled up every dime of taxpayer revenue they could bully and intimidate politicians into granting, further straining the finances of an already imploding city. Financially unsustainable… Read More

Edward Ring

Government Employee Unions – The Root Cause of California’s Challenges

Spokespersons for California’s government employee unions perpetuate a myth of staggering absurdity and tragic consequences – that they are protecting working Californians from wealthy corporations and wealthy individuals.

The reality is that government employee unions are focused on one thing: Expanding government employee pay, benefits and privileges. This requires expanding government, and that priority comes in front of everything else, including the cost to society at large.Expansive environmentalist regulations have made prices in California for housing and utilities the highest in the nation.Expansive compensation packages for unionized government workers have resulted in chronic deficits and accumulating state and local government debt that by some measures already exceeds $1.0 trillion. Expansive taxes and regulation have made California consistently rank as the most inhospitable place in the nation to run a small business.

Exactly how does any of this protect the poor from the wealthy?

It doesn’t, of course. But the deeper story is how government employee unions are not only failing to “protect” California’s… Read More

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