Posts Tagged ‘California’
This op-ed originally appeared in the Riverside Press-Enterprise
Once in a while, even in the California state Legislature, we witness democracy in action or a rare moment when a well-intentioned, but harmful, strongly supported and lobbied bill, is rejected due to a lack of votes.
In the final days of the Legislature’s 2014-2015 session, the right number of elected officials listened to their constituents and defeated a costly measure that would have forced every Californian to cut their gasoline use in half and increased the cost of electricity in the Inland Empire and throughout California.
Last year, Venture Capitalist Tim Draper’s Initiative to divide California into six states failed to make it to the November 2016 ballot. I posted before how this would impact San Diego. Undoubtedly, the knowledge that this would not pass a partisan Congress contributed to its demise. Now the sixcalifornias.com website asks for ideas to fix California. Is there something salvageable in the Six Californias idea?
Certainly, splitting California would be good for those of us tired of the Bay Area dominating our politics or a Sacramento ignoring our inland areas. Let’s not forget the disparity on water policy between the North, South, and Central California. Draper is right in that regard, California is too unwieldy to be ruled by a Sacramento elite dominated by a too close Bay Area.
With the recent ruling from the California Labor Commission declaring that Uber’s drivers must be treated as W-2 employees, California residents will have front-row seats to watch government ruin innovation and a thriving market. While many costs created by government go unnoticed, the inevitable hike in prices and decline in services will be an eye-opening experience for millions of Uber customers.
Uber’s rise in popularity is a textbook example of how free markets can improve society. For decades, citizens simply assumed expensive and elusive taxis were an inevitable way of life. This paradigm shifted in 2008 when two gentlemen, frustrated by a cab ride in Paris, envisioned something better. Fast forward to today and their idea is now one of the world’s most successful startups with valuations as high as $50 Billion.
Tonight, President Obama will make an announcement on immigration. Early indications include a delay in deportations for up to 5 million. This comes after a bruising mid-term election where many pundits claim that inaction on immigration discouraged Latinos from voting.
To hear mass media tell it our lines are drawn into two camps: Those that favor a looser immigration and those that wants more restriction. These portrayals get flavored by things like a large wall, suffering children, drug violence, and day laborers. One side is portrayed as mean, the other as sympathetic.
How low can they go? California’s voters set a record low of 51 percent voter turnout in 2002. Political pollster John Nienstedt, president of Competitive Edge Research & Communication, made his final voter turnout prediction for Tuesday’s midterm election at the witching hour on Election Eve. Read his prediction here, then weigh in on whether he’s high, low, or right on target.
You know things are tight in the CA-52 race when Scott Peters is trying to get my vote. I’ve been registered GOP since 18 and since I got off of active duty (too much overseas time) I know I voted in every election. Election campaigns usually focus on Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts of their political base, so I know I can’t be showing up on Peters’ rolls. But the other night I get a call to be on a teleconference with Peters and got the email below. These actions may be indicators that Peters’ Democratic base can’t be relied on to carry the election. If he is going for a 100% show-up, registered GOP voter it’s easy to surmise that his campaign is unsure of the independent vote as well. So it looks like he’s reaching out to any voters he can.
In the wake of low voter turnout in the June 2014 California primary which favored conservative / Republican candidates, is there any chance of a repeat on a bigger scale in November 2014?
John Nienstedt, president of Competitive Edge Research & Communication, says November 2014 could be a real downer for California when it comes to voter turnout. As John notes in a new blog post for Competitive Edge, The June primary turnout was stunningly — unprecedentedly — bad, as only 23 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. This embarrassing record justifiably gets him thinking about whether the upcoming general election will sink to a record low as well.
This week Venture Capitalist Tim Draper’s Initiative to divide California in to six states received approval to start collecting signatures. Now the US Constitution requires that the State legislature and the US Congress both have to approve, but of course West Virginia didn’t really go that route, so there is still some legal ambiguity there. Sharing statehood with the Bay Area frustrates me as much as anyone here, so I decided to see what this could mean for San Diego. To help sift through the data I found that the the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has put out a report on the split.
I caught this article the other day. It’s a good recap of how legislation doesn’t solve problems. Maybe my view is slanted since I’m a program manager and not a lawyer, but I think if the government is going to legislate it should try to quantify what it’s going to achieve. The numerous bills and laws will see are policy pushes by one side or the other. I believe instead of vague statements these policies should write what their goals are.
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.
It’s a time-honored New Year’s tradition to review all the new laws taking effect starting on January 1. So I thought I’d get a look at new laws affected Rostrafarians in California. I nearly choked on my breakfast when I looked at the number. There are 837 new laws taking effect as of today. Seriously? Our state was so far askew we needed over 800 pieces of legislation passed to patch us up? Holy moly.
As originally posted on Flash Report.
Ferret lovers coveting Assemblyman-elect Brian Maienschein’s backing might be in for disappointment.
Evidently, LeagalizeFerrets.org founder Pat Wright fell to despair when two supportive candidates lost in the general election on November 6. Yet, he wrote in his recent newsletter this fuzzy note of love:
“There was one person elected who had some ferret knowledge. Brian Maienschein was elected in the 77th Assembly district and met Alice Kaiser and her ferrets.”
Not so, said Maienschein campaign manager Lance Witmondt who told the Sacramento Bee: “Brian has not ever met a ferret and he will not be sponsoring legislation to legalize ferret ownership.”
Here’s today’s unsettling thought for California taxpayers — a factoid not being discussed. Props 30 and 38 can BOTH pass and, if the stars align right, raise our taxes TOGETHER.
As we all know, these are two competing massive state tax increases on the November ballot. When we have two conflicting measures that pass, the one with the most votes takes effect.
But as I understand it, the winner takes effect only on the CONFLICTING provisions — in this case, the increase in the state INCOME tax. If the “losing” prop includes OTHER provisions, then they still take effect.
Sacramento doesn’t have the leadership to solve the deficit without a tax increase. Gov. Jerry Brown wants to raise taxes without showing any way to make sure past mistakes aren’t repeated. I love the comment that California State Senator Noreen Evans (D) made in reference to the State Parks hidden surplus: “If one department can hoard $54 million for 12 years, who else is playing the same tricks of deceit and thievery?” I think a lot of us would agree with her.
A whopping 0.14% of the bloated state general fund budget vetoed by Brown. Sadly, this paltry line item veto amount continues the California governor bipartisan tradition of vetoing almost none of the spending. The traditional amount is about 0.25% — one quarter of one percent. Jerry couldn’t reach even this low benchmark.
California is broke. We all know that. But one component that deserves at least passing notice is the state unemployment fund.
Surprise! It’s broke. So broke that it’s borrowed federal funds to keep paying people not to work. Now CA has to charge CA employers a payroll surcharge to pay the money back.
It’s not a huge tax per employee, but it’s unlikely to go away for years. Moreover the size of the “fed loan” employer tax will surely grow annually.
It’s just one more reason for businesses to relocate elsewhere. The only good news on this front is that there are 22 states with similar problems (Texas ain’t one of ’em).
New poll: If another California HSR vote were held today, 59% would vote against it. With 8% undecided, it probably would end up going down by a 2-1 majority.
Here’s one of those backwater CA state public employee honeypots that for years has operated without meaningful fiscal oversight. Amazing story.
Among other things, these “police” got big overtime checks for guarding a closed facility. A quarter of these guards DOUBLE their salary with overtime. Their average annual pay (with overtime) is $124,000.
These are SECURITY GUARDS. And remember, they get pensions equal to 90% of highest pay as early as age 50 for 30 years’ “work.” If true to the “code,” many if not most go out on “disability,” avoiding 60%-80% of income taxes on their pensions.
What is usually overlooked in the discussion of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin leaving the U.S. for Singapore (presumably to sell his Facebook stock) is the CALIFORNIA capital gains tax. Saverin avoided $67 million in net federal income taxes by leaving the country, but he saved several times that amount by leaving CA — which by law has no “exit tax.”
If he were still a resident of CA when he cashed out the shares, he’d pay 10.3% of the profit to the rapacious “Golden State” — a state that treats capital gains as ordinary income.
Gov. Jerry Brown: State budget deficit now $16 billion
Gov. Jerry Brown said in a video release today that California’s budget deficit has mushroomed to $16 billion, nearly twice as high as the $9.2 billion he estimated in January.
Gosh, what a stunning revelation! Who’d a thunk it?
But the good news is that it’s not Assemblyman’s Nathan Fletcher’s fault. He wasn’t at his post in Sacramento, so no responsibility for this deterioration falls on his shoulders.
This week the peer review group studying the California High Speed Rail plan (as amended and/or exposed) came out with their report. Even though they as individuals probably were mildly supportive of the core HSR option, their report has nothing but scathing criticism for this “plan.”
I made a quick search of CA newspapers referencing this report. I could not find a single paper still supportive of the HSR boondoggle. Most castigated the whole operation.
Here’s the link to an excellent SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial, which was fairly typical:
Today I did segment on the national Fox Business News network. We dealt with the new California budget, and the planned tax increases. I think it went well.
Governor Brown likely would not concur with this assertion — he took a bit of a beating in the interview. Well deserved, of course.
It airs TONIGHT after 6 PM Pacific time. I’d bet 20 minutes into the show. Sadly, many cannot watch because they (like me) don’t pay to receive this premium channel.
There are many, many fallacies in the sometimes explicit but often IMPLICIT reasons given for paying out great government pensions. Here’s my selection for the top ten excuses:
1. “Public employees deserve high pensions because they work for low wages.”
FALSE. Perhaps true at one time, but not any more. In many instances, today’s government employee is earning 10%-30% more than their true private sector counterparts — and with far better job guarantees. BTW, the bogus union salary comparisons usually cherry pick the private sector — including in their “surveys” only the largest and wealthiest private sector employers — along with monopoly public utilities.
North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.5%. Ten counties in ND have less than 2% unemployment. They have an oil and gas extraction boom going on, though their low unemployment rate predates that growth in oil and gas jobs.
Critics like to claim that ND is having a temporary boom that will shortly be followed by a bust. But while ND certainly is benefiting from an oil and gas boom, the depletion rate is slow, and the expansion of wells is dramatic — they’ve barely started their boom. This boom ain’t busting for many, many years to come. The petroleum extraction in ND is essentially now illegal in anti-business, “pro-environment” CA.
Here’s a link to an excellent summary of the main CA 2012 state tax increase initiatives currently in play, backed by money, but far from ballot qualified. Tip of the hat to the “Fox and Hounds” website, run by x-HJTA Grand Poobah Joel Fox.
The piece is written by Joe Mathews, a frequent opponent of mine on issues. But, like the old seldom accurate stopped clock, fortunately he was right this time.
I’ve made some germane comments with some links below the article.
Oddly enough I view all these tax increase propositions as good news! Is that possible? Well, sorta.