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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Congressman John Campbell

CBO Truth Serum

A New Year: It has been over a month since you last heard from me. I have not disappeared nor have I lost interest. This gap in communication was caused by a combination of holidays, work volume, some writer’s block, and a nasty cold that had me flat for nearly a week. Some have speculated that the latter was caused by the Obama Administration trying to dim my effectiveness by slipping something into my Jack Daniels. I think that is a low probability explanation. I think it’s more likely that I succumbed to the Petri dish that is winter time in the Longworth Building in Washington.

CBO Truth Serum: OK, enough insignificant jabber. Last week, I had the opportunity in the Budget Committee to question the Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Doug Elemendorf, about several things. He confirmed for me that repealing the Bush tax cuts only on the “rich”, defined by the Obama Administration as people making $250,000 or more, only represents about 15% of revenue “lost” from all the tax cuts enacted since 2001. And, it would only raise enough money to cover about 10% of the deficit over the next… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Jobs, Not Taxes

Here’s my response to Governor Jerry Brown’s State of the State address:

“I agree with the Governor that we must do more to spur job creation and investment in our state. Unfortunately, by pushing higher taxes, the Governor sends the entirely wrong message. We don’t need higher taxes, we need more private sector jobs.

“Despite some modest job growth, more than two million Californians remain unemployed. Rather than drive more job creators and wage earners away from our state, we should be doing everything in our power to help them stay here and succeed.

“When Californians have jobs, the state always has plenty of revenue. The Governor should be campaigning for jobs, not higher taxes.”… Read More

Richard Rider

Two common liberal economic fallacies — with Rider rebuttal

Recently a liberal online debater jousting with me presented two factoids that he smugly assumed proved conclusively that CA should have high taxes — that my concerns over CA taxes were thus “the height of sophistry.” Both his FACTS were true — but they did nothing for making his case. Indeed, they UNDERMINED his case — a delicious example of boomerang sophistry.

Since this nonsense periodically pops up out of the liberal playbook, I thought I’d deal with each factor in some detail here.

1. “California has the biggest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of any state in the nation.”

True, but — so? If anything — this factoid should make the case for LOWER tax rates, not higher.

First, let me point out that, while California has the states’ highest GDP, we also are by FAR the most populous state in the nation. California has over 37 million people, while second place Texas has a bit over 25 million. New York state is third with over 19 million. In other words, our large GDP is no big deal. Read More

Richard Rider

Some CA exports BOOMING. But sadly, the wrong kind of exports.

Today I spoke for a few minutes on a conference call to state tax experts, lobbyists and activists across the nation — one of several speakers on a call sponsored by the Tax Foundation.

It was an awesome audience. And I DO mean awesome — I was thoroughly intimidated.

Let me tell you one thing — they LOVE California! Especially our state and local governments. Our “Golden State” is helping almost ALL their state economies with our exports.

Our primary exports? Wealth, prosperity, businesses and human capital. And unlike most exports, the folks in other states receiving our outflow don’t even have to pay for these wonderful products!

As we Californians know all too well, the generosity of our politicians knows no bounds.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Amazon Compromise Both Good and Bad

I’m glad the Governor signed compromise legislation today to help get some California affiliates back to work and bring thousands of Amazon.com distribution jobs to California. That’s very good news.

Unfortunately, this legislation is by no means a cure-all. It does nothing to solve the long-term problems created by the Legislature’s botched efforts to compel out-of-state retailers to serve as California’s tax collectors.

Absent a federal solution, which is highly unlikely in such a short time frame given all of the competing interests, we’ll be right back in the same mess in a year. The State of California will again be killing California jobs, driving away investment and inviting costly litigation.

Let me be clear: this compromise legislation, while welcome, provides only a short-term delay to a bad law that will never produce the revenues, nor the level-playing field, its proponents imagine.… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Taxing the “Rich”

The President’s latest proposal to make “the rich pay their fair share” is just another awful idea in a series of awful ideas from this Administration. First of all, it again defines a taxpayer making $200,000 as “rich”. I know a number of such people and I suspect you do too. They live comfortable lives, but I don’t think they deserve the suddenly pejorative term “rich”, particularly if they come to that income by way of 2 working spouses and some investment income because they have saved money over time.

But, the new wrinkle here is the so-called “Millionaires” tax on incomes over $1 million. Obama’s rhetoric explains that he will only require that these incomes pay the same tax rate as “middle class families”. Well, obviously, the tax rate on these incomes is already much higher than for lower tax brackets. Most deductions for higher income people have already been largely eliminated through the alternative minimum tax and other tax laws over the last 20 years. There are really only 2 ways to get the tax rate on your $1 million income down. The first is if a bunch of that income is derived… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Why I Support the Amazon Deal

AB 155, as proposed to be amended, will retroactively repeal the “Amazon Tax” for a year or longer, allowing time for impacted parties to seek a federal solution to the dispute.

This is far from a perfect plan, but politics is the art of compromise. It’s a good thing when competing interests are able to come together on a contentious issue.

The deal provides at least a one year reprieve for affiliate businesses whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the dispute. It allows time for impacted parties to seek a federal solution to this issue. Congress has always been the right venue for this conversation.

However, I’m disappointed that this deal provides no certainty for thousands of affiliates who partner with out-of-state online retailers other than Amazon. The uncertainty will discourage these companies from creating new jobs and investing in our state.

Furthermore, the Legislature refused to include a pathway to immediately bring Amazon jobs to California. I’ll be working with Amazon and legislators to find a way to expedite their presence in order to bring thousands of new jobs to our state as soon as possible.

Throughout the year… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Leaders Should Consider Amazon Jobs Proposal

I sent a letter to theGovernor and legislative leaders todayurging them to consider aproposal by Amazon.com that would bring an estimated 7,000 jobs to California. I also asked them to re-evaluate the projected budget revenue associated with the “Amazon Tax” (AB 28X).

Read my letter here.… Read More

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