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Archive for the ‘Assemblywoman Diane Harkey’ Category

Don’t Sanction Criminality

Friday, June 26, 2015
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Press Enterprise 

Imagine you have a business, such as a restaurant, retail establishment or auto dealership. Then imagine that you can only accept cash and cannot retain financial records or bank accounts because they could be seized by the federal government. Would you expect the state of California to accept your estimate of sales, levy taxes based on what you admit to earning, and arrive with an armored vehicle to pick up your cash tax payments to help you avoid theft?

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This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

The Good

AB 2031 (Dahle) – Provides relief for certain retailers who must collect the Lumber Products Assessment (LPA) by excluding those who sell less than $25,000 in qualifying products annually. LPA is a 1 percent tax on purchases of lumber products and engineered wood products.

This bill provides a much needed break for smaller retailers who sell lumber products many of which cannot afford to remain in business if they are required to upgrade computer systems and inventory practices. Also saves money for the State Board of Equalization, by reallocating the money spent collecting from these small retailers, towards other issues..

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Road to Recovery – Not a Zero Sum Game

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in Fox & Hounds 

While improving appearances on the financial front, albeit at the expense of higher taxes, California’s true recovery depends on increasing private sector employment. Publicly, Governor Brown and his GoBiz office have acknowledged as much; many of the employment damaging policies occurred prior to his watch. But how his administration moves forward will be extremely important in a state with abundant natural and human resources that conversely boasts 45th in national employment stats. “Live to fight another day” is not a growth business model.

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Beware Extreme Expansion of ‘Prevailing Wage’ Rules

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Riverside Press-Enterprise 

Hold on to your hat and your wallet. In the lower house of the California Legislature, 54 is a magic number. With 80 Assembly districts throughout the state, 54 seats are exactly what Democrats need to hold a supermajority in Sacramento.

The California Constitution requires that tax increases and emergency legislation must be approved by two-thirds or a supermajority of each house of the Legislature.

To date, this supermajority vote requirement has served as the last line of defense for families, businesses, and taxpayers in California. A few vacancies are pending special elections in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, but we assume the Democrats in Sacramento will soon secure 54 seats.

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Understanding Employers and Why Republicans Matter

Thursday, July 4, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in Steve Frank’s California Political News & Views

Common sense dictates that people as well as employers will act in their own best interest.  This is the premise underlying market economies and why they provide more goods, services and improve the lives of all of us, much more so than a command or government manipulated market can.  One of the risks associated with beginning or expanding a business (that is unsupported by government largesse) is in fact, government.  That is, existing regulations and tax structure as well as anticipated or future regulatory and tax structure.  If you are going to invest large amounts of money or throw the dice, you want to be fairly certain of the rules of the game. If the rules change after the dice land, you lose.

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Why OC Is Losing $73 Million in Property Taxes and More

Thursday, May 30, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

Sometimes being in the room helps get the story straight. Orange County lost its case to retain $73 million in property tax revenue, in a legal decision stemming from the 2011 state budget deal. The decision will be appealed, as County Supervisors struggle to fill the gap which will decrease employment and services dramatically, if we lose the appeal.  Reports as to how and why we got into the mess are becoming skewed.

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Governor’s State Budget – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

As budgets go in California there is much to be liked about the Governor’s May revise. First, it balances and does again reduce the accumulated structural deficit (internal and external borrowed monies used to plug holes since 1999) projected to fall from a height of $35 billion to $26 billion. The budget establishes a reserve and projects to nearly repay deferred education funding by 2013-14, although increasing deferrals again the next budget year.

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Return of the Car Tax and Why Legislators Should Say No

Thursday, March 21, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared on BudgetWatchdogs.org

The “Car Tax” is back but may be on life support. Assembly Bill 8, a “gut and amend” bill that failed during the final hours of last year’s session, would increase or extend $2.3 billion of fees on car owners until 2024 – an eight year extension from the original expiration date of 2016. The bill was set for hearing earlier this month, suggesting that the necessary number of votes (in this case 2/3, or 54 votes in the Assembly) had been lined up to ensure passage. Curiously, the hearing has now been put off until April.

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Checkers Won’t Save State GOP

Thursday, January 31, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Riverside Press-Enterprise

With California election losses still playing out, the argument for Republicans revising who we are and what we stand for falls short. Republicans face a Democrat supermajority of both houses of the Legislature, and Democrats hold every state constitutional office. Without leadership that includes a long term “chess” strategy for integrity of elections and comprehensive immigration and tax reform, Republicans face a Democrat checkmate.

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Avoiding the Cliff – And Preventing a Collision in 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

With all the drama focused on DC where the political marketing machine on steroids has us envisioning the horrors of careening off a “financial cliff,” the focus should be in California, as we are actually the pace car for the states racing behind us. In that vein, to begin 2013 there is good and bad news to report regarding “California’s Fiscal Cliff” which could help the nation avoid the collision, as we race toward the precipice. And, as usual, because elections matter, there is action that you can take to help us pave the safe landing beyond.

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Top Twenty Worst Bills Worthy of the Governor’s Veto

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed, co-authored with Senator Bob Dutton, originally appeared in the Flashreport

As of today, the Governor has yet to act on any of these bills. When he is done, we will grade Governor Brown on his performance. The Governor’s “letter grade” will be computed using the following scale… If he vetoes 90% or more, the Governor got an “A”, 80% – 89% a “B”, 70 – 79% a “A”, 60 – 69% a “D” and below that, an “F”…

For convenience, we have broken down the bad bills into seven different categories… Next to the bill number and author, in bright red, will appear the action taken by the Governor on each bill (none as of today).

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Last-Minute Drama in the Legislature

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Orange County Register

Reporting the type of back stories that made radio commentator Paul Harvey famous should be a must for the end of each legislative session in Sacramento. But to report behind-the-scenes stories, you need guts and a front-row seat. Now for the rest of the story:

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They’re Back…Redevelopment Agencies Times Two

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

Redevelopment times two appears to be returning to California, less than a year after the program was dissolved by the Legislature at the direction of Governor Brown. After Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) were disbanded, members of both parties, the education establishment, and property rights advocates applauded the action. But less than a year later, there are actually two bills that use government structures, debt and eminent domain to tempt local government to invest dollars they don’t have for projects that people don’t want and that private investment cannot justify. It remains to be seen if Governor Brown actually signs the two bills in to law.

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Legislating from the Minority

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

It’s tough for Republicans to feel relevant in Sacramento. The overwhelming Democrat majority in both houses of the legislature and the total lock on every constitutional office in the state ensures that we are seldom needed for more than a one-off deal. To be sure, every session a few Republicans experience an “opportunity” to vote for higher taxes to obtain much needed reforms to budgeting, regulation and other impediments to state solvency and job growth. And, every session the state sinks deeper into debt and increased state spending as a result of a “compromise” that is quickly forgotten.

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Is all S#*% Created Equally?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

The Governor wants to build “s—” he exclaimed at a recent press conference announcing support for high speed rail, which was followed by a surprise proposal to dig tunnels for water transport from the Sacramento Delta, and the grand opening of the Sunrise Powerlink, that will one day allow for transmission of solar power from the Imperial Valley to San Diego and beyond. According to the Governor, these projects will create jobs and propel CA into the future – a new future that may not look like the California we see today or that of the past.

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High-Speed Rail is a Brown Onion Certain to Make Us Cry

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

With much fanfare, the governor last week may have sealed California’s fate as the Greece of the nation. The official signing of high-speed rail funding legislation empowers the California High-Speed Rail Authority with $8 billion for five years, with no additional legislative oversight. Promising a billion north and a billion south — with no guarantee of funding for either — Gov. Jerry Brown selected ceremonies in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He notably ignored the Central Valley that is supposed to be the beneficiary of the multitude of economic benefits and employment opportunities for the initial 130 miles of unelectrified track.

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The Voters Get It

Friday, July 6, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

A recent Field Poll found that voters are connecting the dots from debt to taxes much quicker than their elected officials. Governor Brown and many Sacramento Democrats seem unable to set priorities even though the state is bankrupt, boasts the lowest credit rating in the nation, must borrow $10 billion for short-term cash flow needs, while cutting public safety dollars and practicing “catch and release” for state prisoners. We rank near the bottom of the 50 states in public education achievement and the Sacramento solution is to realign that function and implement trigger cuts IF voters don’t agree to raise taxes in November.  But, billions in debt funding for one hundred miles of track with no train, no ridership and no cost analysis is still on the table.

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This op-ed originally appeared in Fox & Hounds

To quote a rock and roll classic, when trying to gather votes for a statewide project you can’t always get what you want.  One should expect a few snafus when a project concept begins in the mid 1990’s and takes years to get a Legislative buy-in. But, with the contorted track of progress and even shakier financial support for California’s High Speed Rail experiment, it appears if we move forward, all we may end up with is a stranded 130 un-electrified track in the Central Valley.  There is a possibility of funding in San Francisco, and maybe funding in the Caltrain corridor to San Jose.  I say maybe, because the opinion written by Legislative Counsel, dated June 8, 2012 is a bit muddled – just like the project. The opinion pertains to the 4th plan’s compliance with the $9.95 billion bond and/or AB 3034 Legislative requirements for appropriating under the bond.

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The Graying of Governor Brown

Thursday, June 14, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

We are witnessing the “Graying” of Governor Brown.  While Republicans started the successful recall effort of Gray Davis, it was Democrats that made the recall possible. Pressure from state government unions, environmental lobbies and other left-leaning and business interests had pushed an agenda destined to fail. The dot-com bust, budget deficits, inability to coerce his party’s Legislature to pass a budget (balanced or not) and an electricity crisis leading to rolling black outs sealed the Governor’s fate.

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The New California Currency

Monday, February 27, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Orange County Register

You can’t accuse California of not being creative. You know we have reached the pinnacle in regulation when we cannot manufacture goods and services, but can manufacture a “market” for pollution. Thanks to all the unemployed investment bankers that fled Wall Street after the housing bubble burst, landing in San Francisco to assist us with our debt needs, we will be monetizing pollution.

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AB 1455 – Constitutional Lemon Law for High Speed Rail

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

Increasingly, voters believe they’ve bought a lemon. One would think with millions of dollars for statewide marketing at their disposal, the California High Speed Rail Authority would be able to increase support for the multi-billion dollar project, which only 52% voted for in 2008. HSR proponents blame the Tea Party and/or the Republicans in Congress, accusing the Tea Party of being short-sighted, and Congress as vengeful toward Obama policies.

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Looking Forward

Thursday, January 5, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Dana Point Times 

We greet the New Year with anticipation and hope, setting goals in spite of the unknowns beyond our control. With almost complete one-party Democrat control of the levels of power in Sacramento, there should be fewer unknowns; setting goals and moving forward should be easy. But voter sentiment, open primaries, new districts and election year polling has made a huge impact on what would normally be lock-step voting by the majority party.

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Don’t Ban Plastic Bags in Dana Point

Friday, December 9, 2011
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Orange County Register

In the Legislature, I’m forced to fight against proposed new taxes and Nanny State laws every day. While I usually avoid involving myself in city issues, this Monday night [Dec. 12] the Dana Point City Council will consider an ordinance that falls into both categories.

The ordinance would ban retail stores, including grocers, from providing consumers with fully recyclable plastic bags and “strongly encourages” them charge customers a fee for each paper bag – and places no limit on that fee. If council members adopt this they will allow a new tax on shoppers, deprive consumers of bag choice, and further bloat our local bureaucracy with another far-reaching government mandate.

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California Careening off the Rails Because We Can’t Wait

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Flashreport

The California High Speed Rail Authority and the Governor finally released the long-awaited business plan with quite a bit of fanfare, claiming 100,000 jobs would be created. I thought our tarnished golden state had hit bottom with Arnold Schwarzenegger who buried us with a legacy of debt and regulations. But Governor Brown, who claims to need more taxes to help solve the fiscal crisis and mountain of debt he inherited, seems determined to pound the nails in the coffin.

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We’ve been robbed…by Sacramento

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Orange County Register

While Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) whines about being robbed by his campaign treasurer, Orange County was in fact, robbed of $48 million in the June 2011 budget deal. While the tax grab may have occurred with or without his vote, Mr. Solorio was the only OC member to vote for approval. While feigning to correct the egregious wrong, the reality is he showed no urgency and apparently has no power to influence — without a statewide tax increase.

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