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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Beware Prop. 31: a wolf in sheep’s clothing

With all of the focus on the November ballot initiatives to raise taxes, Proposition 31 seems to have quietly avoided heavy scrutiny in the main stream media thus far. But this initiative is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, pretending to be much-needed reform.

There is growing confusion about ballot title and summaries on California’s ballot initiatives. It’s almost impossible to know how to vote on something. A “no” vote may mean “yes,” and visa versa, given the way the California Attorney General’s office plays fast and loose with writing the titles and summaries of ballot measures.

This is the case with Proposition 31 –what’s up is down, and what appears to be reform, is not. Equally disturbing is how so many of the state’s newspapers are jumping on board this phony “reform” measure. Even the California Republican Party officially endorsed Prop. 31.

However, most voters have grown suspicious of anything… 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

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

Congressman John Campbell

Heartless Republicans

Those of us who have spent our political careers trying to keep taxes low and rein in government overspending are often called “heartless” by the opposition. I remember a time in the California Assembly when a Democratic colleague went to the floor and accused me of killing children, an accusation which she was forced to retract. Another time on that same floor, a different Democrat inquired how blood ran through my body since I clearly had no heart to pump it.

It is unfortunate that many in society seem to find fiscal responsibility and caring for the needy to be mutually exclusive objectives. It is so unfortunate because it is not true. In fact, I firmly believe that one is necessary to do the other.

As regular readers of this missive know, I believe that it is our moral imperative to care for those in need around us. But, where I differ from some of our more liberal friends is on the means to accomplish that goal. President Lyndon Johnson declared “war on poverty” back in the 60s. Tons of new programs were set up and tens of trillions of dollars have been spent on this “war” in the intervening 40+ years. And,… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Democrats Fail to Thwart the Voice of the People

I’m pleased to report that Senate Republicans yesterday held firm against an attempt by Democrats to strip California voters of their right to hold a referendum on the “Amazon Tax.”

AB 155 would have cemented the failed policy of AB 28X into law, but the measure fell five votes short of the required 2/3rds vote. In his floor speech, Senator Sam Blakeslee rightly described the measure as “an attempt to thwart the voice of the people.”

Opponents of the “Amazon Tax” have already collected more than enough signatures to force a referendum vote next year. And as I recently warned the Governor and legislative leaders, the $200 million they are counting on in “Amazon Tax” budget revenue is certain not to materialize this fiscal year.

Even so, the Governor and Democrat leaders have spurned an offer by Amazon.com to collect the tax in two years and voluntarily bring thousands of jobs to California in exchange for a repeal of AB 28X.

Republicans must continue to… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Chaos in Washington

If I were to tell you things were chaotic in Washington last week, you might correctly exclaim, “So, what else is new?”. But, things seem to be even more chaotic than normal right now. I submit the following rundown for your consideration:

The President announced his latest strategy for Afghanistan in which he tries to thread the policy needle by giving a timetable for some withdrawal, but at the same time keeps more troops there throughout his term than at any time during the Bush presidency. I don’t think he succeeded in pleasing anyone with this plan – certainly not this Member of Congress. He also still has not indicated what it is we are now fighting for and what the desired end-state looks like. Bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is largely out of Afghanistan. Are we nation building? I think we are and I don’t think that is worth $2 billion a week and more American lives. I also believe you either fight wars with all you’ve got, or don’t fight them at all. Vietnam taught us that. The President seems to want to fight half a war. Speaker Boehner criticized the President’s speech and basically called … Read More

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