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Katy Grimes

California’s High Speed ‘Browndoggle’ Breaks Ground

Desperate to get any part of California’s High Speed Rail built, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed the groundbreaking for the rail system upto Tuesday, just as the new Republican Congress is getting settled.

The motive? Democrats want to get their hands on $3.5 billion in federal stimulus money. And, there’s no time like the present… following a recent Third District Court of Appeal ruling which overturned a Sacramento Superior Court decision which contended that the funding plan for the high-speed rail project violated the ballot measure voters approved in 2008.

Dan Richard, chairman of the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said they would move “aggressively” to build “a modern high-speed rail system that connects the state, creates jobs and complies with the law.”

There’s no time to waste lest another legal decision derail their plans.“Jobs, jobs, jobs” was the campaign rally cry for Jerry Brown during his 2010 run for governor, when he vowed his support for high-speed rail. He supported it so much it’s earned the nickname the “Browndoggle.”

In January 2013, Brown held carefully staged signing… Read More

Katy Grimes

California Attempts to Regulate the Sale of Gas Under Cap-and-Trade

On Monday, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, and more than 20 other Republican lawmakers announced 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.

“We struck a nerve!” Patterson told me. Patterson said he was surprised at the media response, and how many in the media did not know the gas tax is starting Jan. 1 – next month.

Patterson is working on issues like the gas tax,… Read More

Katy Grimes

Calif. economy: Ya sure, you betcha, we’re fine!

The latest barrage of “news” reports that California is enjoying an economic recovery is evidence that this is most likely being driven by Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

Ya sure, you betcha, we’re fine.

Given that the California Department of Finance works only for the governor, the pressure is on to provide numbers and information which presents a picture favorable to the governor.

This was never more clear than when a report showing the unemployment rate in the U.S. fell below 8 percent in order to boost to President Obama’s re-election campaign right after his first dismal debate performance with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

It was the numbers from California that gave the boost needed.

Conveniently, the Labor Department reported in Sept. that the nation’s jobless rate improved to 7.8 percent. The unemployment rate had not been that low since Obama took office in January 2009.

The latest monthly jobs report was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics the first week of October. The unemployment rate miraculously decreased to 7.8 percent in September, the BLS reported.

According to The Associated Press, “the… Read More

Katy Grimes

Right-to-work is a real economic stimulus

In Michigan, game-changing right to work legislation was just passed. The change will make it legal for employers to pay workers who choose not to be union members, and would make paying union dues voluntary.

Currently, Michigan employers are required to fire unionized workers who do not pay dues.

Despite the left claiming that big bad business will stop paying living wages to workers, the opposite will happen. There will be a leveling of the unrealistic, skyrocketing union wages that unions demand, and hopefully, employers can once again be competitive.

When unions and governments demand that business owners and employers pay employees higher wages than the market will bear, ultimately it renders the business non-competitive. But when businesses are allowed to fairly compete, often times everyone wins. If… Read More

Katy Grimes

Legislative fractured fairy tale

The swearing-in of new legislators is usually a party atmosphere. Lawmakers feel celebratory after long campaigns. Yesterday’s swearing-in was not a disappointment however, along with the celebratory mood, there was an air of fantasy and fairy tale.

This is the largest freshman class, with 39 newly elected lawmakers, since 1966.

Perhaps the party mood was because of the new Democratic supermajority. While Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg insists that Democrats will not go hog wild with their unobstructed power, not everyone believes that. “I just don’t think we should come hurtling out of the gates talking about a bunch of new taxes,” Steinberg told media Monday.

“It’s in their DNA,” one Capitol staffer told me, but asked to remain anonymous. “It would go completely against everything they stand for. They can’t help themselves.”

Fractured fairy tales

When it came time to nominate the Assembly Speaker, the Capitol sergeants should have handed out airsick bags.

Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Humbolt, nominated current Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles. Chesbro said Perez… Read More

Katy Grimes

Global warming is baaaack

First there was “global warming.” Then it became “climate change” when warm temperatures cooled.

But in California, the California Environmental Protection Agency is promoting global warming again.

“State releases plan to deal with extreme heat caused by global warming,” the CalEPA press release stated. “In the wake of the hottest July ever recorded in the United States, California state agencies today released a plan to deal with extreme heat caused by global warming,” the CalEPA warned.

The hottest July ever recorded in the U.S.? What about California? It wasn’t that hot in our state in July.

“Every year people in California succumb to extreme heat,” said California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Matt Rodriquez, who chairs the state’s Climate Action Team, the press release reported.

Demonstrative of an agency looking for a problem to solve, the CalEPA’s proposed plan states:

“Some of the proposed recommendations in this draft document… Read More

Katy Grimes

Government ‘investing’ in government

In order to stimulate the inert economy, we now have the government investing in government. The public sector is trading public dollars for public dollars.

“How will you spend your future?” the California State Teachers Retirement System logo asks. I wouldn’t spend it on a solar plant. Nor would I voluntarily spend my future with CalSTRS.

‘Infrastructure investments’

Nearly every time I pick up the newspaper, the headline screams that another solar plant has closed and the business gone under. Yet I see that the California State Teachers’ Retirement System is investing $42.8 million in a large solar plant in Sacramento.

“Investing” was… Read More

Katy Grimes

Ding, dong, tax bill is dead!

The California Senate killed Assembly Speaker John Pérez’s AB 1500, which would have taxed out-of-state businesses. Ding dong, one more tax measure is dead… for now.

Perez worked like a mad man on Friday to try and nab enough Republican support for his “middle class scholarship” bill. But it wasn’t about the scholarship–it was just one more attempt to tax businesses for another type of California welfare program.

When Perez saw that he didn’t have the votes at the eleventh hour, he gave in.

Single Sales Factor

AB 1500 was a $1 billion tax increase on out-of-state businesses that create jobs, pay taxes on their property, sales and payroll receipts, and have thousands of employees in California.

As California Employers Against Higher Taxes correctly pointed out, “Proposition 24 sought to make this change in 2010, and California voters overwhelmingly rejected it by two million votes.”

Perez said that a tax loophole is costing California $1 billion per year. But it was not really a loophole: Until the 2011 tax year, corporations had been calculating income taxes using property, payroll and sales for more… Read More