FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Runner Sponsors Legislation to Refund Illegal Taxes

This year, I am sponsoring legislation to extend common sense protections to taxpayers. Assembly Bill 867, authored by Assemblyman Donald Wagner, would require the state to provide a full refund to all individuals who paid a tax later declared unconstitutional or illegal.

AB 867 is identical to AB 2510 (Wagner) and SB 1327 (Knight), legislation I sponsored in 2014. Legislative committees blocked both bills from advancing last year.

It is criminal that the State of California can keep money it illegally collects from its citizens. Anyone who in good faith pays what ends up being an illegal tax should get their money back. It’s as simple as that.

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all their administrative appeals remedies, even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal or… Read More

Katy Grimes

Jerry Brown’s Green Jobs Scheme Killing CA’s Middle Class

Recent revelations resulted in the resignation of Democratic Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber over collusion between his office, California and Washington State governors’ offices, and environmental groups to force climate coordination and collaboration across the U.S.

Emails from 2013 and 2014 reveal Kitzhaber agreed to a deal with the governors of California and Washington, to implement low-carbon fuel standards and develop a scheme to foist green-energy agendas on multiple states.

Coincidentally, Gov. Jerry Brown, D-California, has made climate change one of his top priorities. During his January inaugural address Brown said he plans to require that 50 percent of all energy use come from renewable sources, and automobile gas consumption be reduced by 50 percent.

Yet last month,… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Response to Gas Tax Vote

Today the Board of Equalization voted 5-0 to reduce the state’s gasoline excise tax rate by 6 cents, from 36 cents to 30 cents, effective July 1 of this year.

This gas tax cut, although less than originally proposed, is still good news for overtaxed Californians, who currently pay both higher gas prices and higher taxes than residents of other states.

Today’s vote stems from a confusing and complicated formula known as the ‘gas tax swap.’ The Legislature enacted the formula a few years ago in order to redirect more than a billion dollars of transportation funding elsewhere. Under the gas tax swap law, the Board must annually adjust the gas tax rate to guard against over collection of tax.

State revenues from fuel taxes reached a record $8.7 billion last fiscal year. Today’s vote will help correct the over collection of tax that is resulting from lower gas prices.

But even after this tax cut takes effect July 1, Californians will continue to pay more gas taxes and fees than residents in nearly every other state. In fact, the Board’s cut won’t even fully offset the cost of a new ‘hidden gas tax’ that took effect January 1 to help fund… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacto Mayor Kevin Johnson ❤ loves Higher Minimum Wage

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s signature showed up on a letter to state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, expressing support for raising the statewide minimum wage to $13 by July 1, 2017.

And then it didn’t. An announcement from the mayor’s staff said that “staff miscommunication” was to blame for Johnson’s signature on the letter.

What happened? Is Johnson for or against a minimum wage increase? Did he sign the letter or not?

Perhaps because Johnson is president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which supports raising the federal minimum wage, his staff got their letters mixed up. (Big 10 mayors letter.pdf)

Either way, the discussion should be about negative impacts on employment and income growth caused by minimum wage increases.

Signature ‘Miscommunication?’

The Sacramento Bee… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Response to Proposed Gas Tax Cut

On Tuesday, February 24 the State Board of Equalization will consider a proposed 7.5 cent per gallon tax cut.

A gas tax cut of this magnitude would be great news for California drivers, who are currently forced to pay one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation.

The proposed cut stems from falling gas prices and the resulting over collection of tax.

Annual rate changes are required under a confusing and complicated formula enacted by the Legislature in 2010 in order to move a billion dollars to the General Fund. Each year the Board of Equalization must adjust the gas tax rate to ensure the state receives neither more nor less revenue than it would have under the prior tax system.

I look forward to considering the proposed cut with my colleagues when the Board meets on Tuesday, February 24. We invite and welcome public feedback and participation.… Read More

Katy Grimes

The Climate According to CA Sen. Kevin de Leòn

Almost immediately following a hearing of the Environmental Protection Agency last week on upping authoritarian smog regulations, Democratic Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leònannounced plans for “historic” climate change legislation, adding more regulations to force Californians to cut gas consumption — rather than legislation to help the state’s economy.

The goal is to cut up to 50 percent of gas consumption in California by 2030… rather than improve the state’s economy by up to 50 percent.

Clean Air

The air we breathe today in California is the cleanest since the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act was passed in the 1970s. Despite this fact, the day before Thanksgiving, the EPA released its proposal to “strengthen” ground level ozone emissions known as smog.

Current EPA ozone regulations set the nationwide limit at 75 parts per billion. The EPA is considering lowering it to 60 parts per billion,making theNational Ambient Air Quality Standardsfor… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Government Has More Than Enough of Your Dollars

After years of debt, deficits and budget cuts, it may come as a surprise to learn that our state government is flush with cash. But you wouldn’t know it by the talk of tax increases coming out of Sacramento.

First the facts:

California is outspending other states – As the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters recently reported, census data shows California state spending jumped 7.5% last fiscal year and is well above average when compared to other states. The Governor’s proposed budget is huge – In January, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a $113 billion budget proposal—the largest ever in California state history. If there’s any criticism of the Governor’s budget so far, it’s that he is underestimating revenues. The Legislative Analyst’s Office recently reported that current fiscal year revenues alone will exceed the Governor’s forecast by $1 to $2 billion or more. California taxes are really, really high – Californians pay some of the highest income, sales and gas taxes in the nation. According to the Tax Foundation, many small businesses face top marginal tax rates … Read More

Katy Grimes

Is the CARB Laundering Public Funds Through Unlawful Delaware Corporation?

Environmentalists claim global warming can be mitigated, but only by if humans are forced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This pseudo-science is what the California Air Resources Board has adopted to control human activity.

If this sounds a little woo-woo, remember the CARB is the state agency which, under Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solution Act of 2006, expanded its mandatein order to link up in a cap and trade scheme with Quebec, and Canada’s international Ecosystem Marketplace offset program.

Even more disturbing, the cap and trade funds extorted from California businesses by way of carbon offset auctions, are being laundered through Western Climate Initiative, Inc., “… Read More

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