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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Happy Tax Freedom Day, California!

There’s a very important day this week — a day even more significant than when your taxes are due. In the state of California, Tax Freedom Day finally arrives on April 20.

Calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is the day on which the average Californian has finished earning enough money to pay all of his or her federal, state and local taxes this year.

So, congratulations. Just a mere 110 days into the year (not counting Feb. 29), you can finally start working for yourself instead of the government.

But before you break out the champagne, note the following:

Tax Freedom Day is four days later than last year. It would have been even later had the Governor and Legislature succeeded in their efforts to raise car taxes, income taxes and sales taxes. Californians must work longer for the government than residents of other states. The average American achieves tax freedom three days earlier than the average Californian. That’s one reason many workers leave our state as soon as they retire. If taxes were raised high enough to pay for all government spending, California’s Tax Freedom Day … Read More

Erica Holloway

Pension Reform Initiative | Publicly Popular, Judicially Jacked

The Californian initiative process pains me.

Great idea on paper, but in reality – we’ve allowed idle lawmakers to relinquish responsibilities to the public, which supposedly hired them for the job.

Yet, even when voters “decide” (measure proponents love to say that), it’s rarely the end of the discussion.

Days, weeks or months later, a psuedo-lamaker legislates from the bench and we’re back where we started with just a dash more bitterness.

It’s a wonder voters show up at all anymore.

In good old San Diego, there’s an epic battle playing out over an initiative that’s got all the makings of a daytime drama.

The initiative proposes reforming the City’s guaranteed pension system and replacing it with a 401(k)-style plan for “most” new hires.

Basically, the so-called “comprehensive pension reform” eliminates pensions in favor of 401(k)s for all new hires but police officers (one of the proponents, Mayor Jerry Sanders, is a former police chief) and proposes a five-year hold on current employee salaries used to calculate future pensions.

A… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Fix It, Episode II

In the second “episode” of our saga on fixing our problems and bringing America a new period of growth and optimism, I will address an issue that none of you will be surprised to see me tackle – the debt and deficit. Since I was first elected to the California State Assembly in 2000, trying to get government to tax, spend and waste less has been a major priority for me. As such, you have heard a lot from me on this issue. So, I will not repeat much of what I have said incessantly for years so that I don’t become electronic Ambien for you.

Instead, let me put this problem/opportunity in the context of the larger issue we are talking about. Implementing a plan to gradually fix our deficits and reduce our debt is a necessary but not sufficient condition for growth. Fixing the deficit will not in and of itself free the economy for sustained prosperity. There are other things we have to do that I will write about in future episodes. Suffice it to say, fixing the deficit is not a sufficient condition. But, it is a necessary one. If we don’t do it, we will certainly bring on a crisis which will plunge us into a long and… Read More

Richard Rider

California traffic fines are INCREDIBLY low — honest! But . . .

Here’s a trick question: How much is the driving fine in California for a “rolling stop”? (Counterintuitive hint: It’s cheap!)

The answer?

$35. Yes, that is correct.

The trick part of the question? I said “fine.” Not “ticket,” or total cost.

Add on to the $35 fine the many “fees” now imposed by California courts, and the ticket you must pay is about $235. Plus a $65 fee if you want to go to “traffic school” to remove the ding on your driving record.

And that $65 does NOT pay for the school itself — it’s just another state fee — you pay for the driving school IN ADDITION to paying the driving school fee.

Hence on such minor infractions, our state and local governments rake in either $235 or (more often) $300. Boss Hogg of Hazzard County would be green with envy.

In California, red light camera tickets are $480. The second highest state is $250. Most are around $100.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Sales Tax Hike Would Cost 23,000 Jobs

Today I released a dynamic analysis by the Board of Equalization showing that the Governor’s proposed sales tax increase will cost California jobs.

According to the analysis, a higher sales tax rate will take money out of the pockets of working Californians, destroying more than 23,000 jobs and $267 million in business investment.

These projected job losses are equivalent to every worker in a medium-sized California city like Glendora or West Sacramento losing their jobs.

When considering tax increases, policymakers often rely on static analyses that ignore behavioral changes by consumers and business owners. A dynamic analysis estimates the likely behavioral changes that could result from a higher tax rate.

The BOE analysis projects that nearly all of the proposed sales tax increase would be passed along to consumers. The state would receive $222 million less in revenues than projected by a static analysis, an 8% loss in potential revenue.

Since July of last year, lower tax rates have enabled Californians to keep more of their hard-earned dollars, and our economy is… Read More

Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner

Our Lawless Supreme Court

Lawless. That’s the right word for the Supreme Court’s decision in the redistricting case. Lawless, in that it ignored the law to reach a decision the Court was explicitly prohibited from reaching.

The background of this case is probably well known to anyone reading this blog. A referendum petition was circulated to challenge the Citizens’ Redistricting Commission’s approved maps of the State Senate lines for the coming election. The petitioners gathered over 711,000 signatures and, therefore, the Court recognized, the petition is “likely to qualify” for the ballot. But this likelihood creates a problem. According to the California Constitution, the existence of a referendum “likely to qualify” for the ballot – which the Court accepts that we have here – operates to “stay” the Commission’s lines. If the lines are “stayed,” though, and the election is coming, what lines should be used? That is the question the Supreme Court had to answer.

The most important point to note is the explicit text of the Constitution. Under our form of government, the Constitution, coming as it does from the sovereign people, is the supreme law of the land.… Read More

Richard Rider

THE final CA HSR lie is exposed for what it is — fraud

Yeah, it’s true — I DO fiendishly enjoy beating a dead iron horse — in this case, our California HSR choo-choo. But bear with me. New stuff! Three solid articles, as a matter of fact. At this point, it’s hard to imagine we Californians will continue with this HSR madness, but never underestimate the bull-headed stupidity of Democrat politicians — both state and national. Fortunately there now is a new stake (a silver spike?) that’s been driven through the putrid heart that sustains this beast. As an educational aside, let me suggest that this singleexample of government running amok at the behest of special interests — in this case, HSR train lovers, green religionists, labor unions and big rail business profiteers — a project justified by obviously fraudulent “facts” — could and should constitute an entire college political science course on how government REALLY works. Of course, it won’t make the course list (or even be mentioned as an aside in the classrooms), but collegiate pro-socialist bias (with the … 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

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