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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Digital Democracy Project Unleashes Oversight and Accountability on CA Legislature

Every year in California’s state capital, 120 full-time lawmakers, 2,000 full-time staff, and 130 legislative committees, introduce an average of 5,000 bills each legislative session, thus creating a booming industry for California’s 1,100 registered lobbyists. They do this with a $150 billion annual budget. And they do this while simultaneously managing to keep out most of the public.

In… Read More

Katy Grimes

Taxpayers Shouldn’t Reward Regional Transit’s Fiscal Disaster With Another Tax Hike

On the heels of the Sacramento Taxpayer Association awarding the bankrupt Sacramento Regional Transit its annual GOLDEN FLEECE AWARD, the Sacramento Bee published a story claiming Regional Transit “may be better than you think.” Rather than acting like a watchdog on government, the Bee appears to be the Public Relations firm of RT.

GOLDEN FLEECE AWARDs are bestowed upon public officials, governmental agencies and organizations for their “wasteful, ridiculous, or ironic use of taxpayers’ money.”The SacTax FLEECE AWARD went to the entire… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Minimum Wage Gift to Unions Is No Legacy

Despite all the evidence that increasing the minimum wage does little or nothing to reduce poverty, California Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrats in the State Legislature just passed another minimum wage increase. Not one Republican in the Assembly or Senate voted for the bill, and all Democrats, save two, voted for the minimum wage increase.

The minimum wage has always been an arbitrary figure. If the arbitrary minimum wage is inflated, this also inflates prices, leaving low-wage workers spending more on everything.

This political decision by Brown will likely come back to haunt California, much as the 1999 political pension deal signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis did. Davis gave huge… Read More

Katy Grimes

Carl’s Jr. HQ Leaving California For Some Southern Hospitality

Carl’s Jr. World Headquarters is leaving the Golden State for the Volunteer State. But the move has nothing to do with volunteerism, and everything to do with hospitality.

CKE Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Carl’s Jr. was founded in Anaheim 60 years ago. After several years of researching options, CKE Restaurants, Inc. is finally moving its California headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee, a state with no income tax, and a friendly business environment.

In March 2011, I met Andy Puzder, CEO ofCKE Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Carl’s Jr., Green Burrito and Hardees restaurants, and author… Read More

Katy Grimes

How To Make A California Slush Fund Even Slushier

While the state of California is extracting billions of dollars from businesses and utilities through the California Air Resources Board’s cap-and-trade program auctions, the Legislature can’t decide how to spend the billions.

Instead, lawmakers have been arguing over how to direct the monies into their own districts on some rather dubious projects, and predictably, on public transit and light rail trains.

Gov. Jerry Brown has his own dubious project: He carved out more than $1 billionof cap-and-trade revenue for his unpopular… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Brown Holding Road and Hwy Projects Hostage for Tax Votes

California state budgets no longer require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to be passed, butthere are still budget games, deals and hinky promises that happen in the process.. However, tax increases do still require two-thirds vote.

This year, Gov. Jerry Brown had proposed tax increases – a gas tax hike, a road tax for miles driven, a car registration hike, and a health plan tax… to name a few.

In order to get these tax increases approved, Brown and his administration use arm-twisting and extortive tactics on lawmakers who show resistance.

In January, the California… Read More

Katy Grimes

‘Jock Tax’ is Ill-Gotten Revenue Windfall for California

Regardless what a punk Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton may or may not be, the ugly news that he will owe $137,900 in taxes — for losing the Super Bowl – shouldn’t be the thanks he gets.

The thanks is courtesy of California’s highest-in-the-nation tax rate of 13.3 percent, known as the “jock tax” – the nonresident income taxes that states and cities enforce on athletes performing in their jurisdictions.

As Kurt Bedenhausen explained in Forbes last week, “Newton will pay California 86.3% of his Super Bowl earnings if the Panthers win. Losing means his effective tax rate will be a whopping 172.2%. Oh yeah, he will also pay the IRS 40.5% on his earnings.” This… Read More

Katy Grimes

National Security Experience Key, for U.S. Sen. Candidate Rocky Chavez

Rocky Chavez, a CaliforniaGOP candidate for U.S. Senate,isn’t just another empty suit or pretty face in politics. Chavez, a Republican Assemblyman from Oceanside, CA,served 28 years in the United States Marine Corps, rose to the rank of Colonel, and commanded 22,000 troops.

He later served as the acting Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and then as the Vice Chairman of the Assembly… Read More

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