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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Reform for California only a vote away

Anyone who still has the hope of reforming California knows that it must begin with the political system. Far too many politicians in California are so heavily influenced by big money that constituents seem to be nothing more than an afterthought and a group to pander to for political advertisements.

For many years politicians have sought political contributions from corporations and unions, then voted the way those special interests ordered.

And, unfortunately, too many politically ambitious Republicans have gone along with the big-government party plan instead of thwarting the political dominance from unions and big corporations.

The only way to begin real reform in the Golden State is to neuter the money influences. Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” ballot initiative, could begin the reform process.

Big bucksRead More

Katy Grimes

New small biz survey supposedly supports tax increases

A new survey of 500 small businesses claims that a majority of small business owners want high income earners to be taxed more. This is difficult to believe, and amazing timing with the election less than two weeks away.

I participated in an early morning conference call on Thursday with Small Business Majority. They just published the survey titled, “Scientific Opinion Poll Finds Majority of Small Businesses Support Letting Tax Cuts for High Income Earners Expire.”

But during the conference call, when I heard the CEO claim that the majority of entrepreneurs “see a productive role for government in helping small businesses achieve success,” I nearly flipped.

John Arensmeyer, the founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, also claimed nearly six in 10 small business owners “agree that government can play an effective role in helping small businesses thrive.”

The Small Business Majority is a liberal Democratic group based in San Francisco. They… 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

Calif. business leakage is a bummer

The word ‘leakage’ is the new politically correct term used by legislators, the Governor, bureaucrats and the California Air Resources Board to describe what happens when California businesses leave the state because of tax increases and stupendous regulations… as if any of them know what it means for a business to make the difficult decision to close a location, terminate hundreds of employees, and move a business.

As The Dude in the Big… 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

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

Katy Grimes

Legislators use muscle on grocers over plastic bag recycling

Katy Grimes: The plastic bag activists are at it again, and they are nothing, if not persistent. With the eleventh bill regulating plastic bags in less than 10 years, grocery stores don’t have a chance in California.

Passed today by the Assembly, SB 1219, the latest plastic bag regulation bill, by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, will require grocery stores to implement, manage, and report on the “At-Store Recycling Program” to the Cal Recycle state agency.

Besides imposing more rules and regulations on privately-owned grocery stores, SB 1219 which appears to be aimed at large grocers like WalMart, Target and other large supermarket chains, will require that stores “place recycling bins in a readily accessible location for consumers, assure the collected bags are recycled, and provide reusable bags. Additionally, stores track the collection, transport, and recycling of plastic carryout bags and regulated manufacturers provide educational materials to assist in recycling (see requirements).”

This could be the work of a… Read More

Katy Grimes

Air Resources Board dodges accountability – again

The California Air Resources Board seems to be on everyone’s list of what not to do in state government. Charged with implementing AB 32, the California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, CARB is under increasing scrutiny for operating as a rogue agency, appearing to be accountable to no one.

All attempts to reel in the agency have failed, including another attempt to audit its operations and finances–thanks to Democratic legislators who clearly are getting marching orders from Assembly and Senate leaders.

A Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing on Wednesday brought CARB close to accountability with the threat of the six-month state audit. But the committee chairman, Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, surprised everyone when he nixed the plan after having made the pretense that he was on board.

CARB and AB 32

In 2006, the Legislature promised that AB 32 would help clean the environment while still protecting the economy. Supportive legislators promised that utility and gasoline costs would not increase with the implementation of the climate change law.

The opposite has happened, and businesses are now… Read More

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