California Chamber of Commerce SUPPORTS Democrat Transportation MEASURE—NEVER Mentions it Costs YOU $5.2 BILLION a YEAR

How sleazy is the California Chamber of Commerce?  They send out a press release endorsing the DEMOCRAT transportation bill and explain how important it is.  Yet, read the release carefully, no where does it say that the tax increase is $5.2 billion.  They also fail to mention that workers that do not pay bribes to unions will not get to work on these projects.

So, we have an organization representing corporations, in league with the radical wing of the Democrat Party—in opposition to families, small businesses, honesty in government, workers and the community.  This is not about roads—it is about taxes, control of our lives and the big government/union cabal—now the Chamber of Commerce is working against the people.

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  CalChamber Issues Statement of Support for Transportation Proposal

California Chamber of Commerce Press Release,  3/29/17

SACRAMENTO, CACalifornia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg today released the following statement in response to the road repair and transportation investment package announced by the Governor and legislative leaders today:

“Our transportation infrastructure is critical to California’s economy. The California Chamber of Commerce supports new revenue to repair and maintain our roads and bridges and to reduce traffic congestion.  Every day, California drivers spend too many hours in choking traffic on deteriorating roads, while businesses face increased costs and falling productivity from congested highways. 

“Raising additional revenues for transportation will not be an easy vote when the time comes, but doing nothing will only ensure deterioration in the system necessary to move people and goods.  We look forward to our partnership with the Governor and the Legislature on this important issue as we work toward a comprehensive solution.”

The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California.  Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state.  Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law.  CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs.  Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com

 

 

CalSTRS’ funded status falls to 64% as deficit grows $21 billion following rate reduction

CalSTRS, the teacher’s retirement program in California is collapsing.  Teachers and administrators are being fired, librarians laid off, books and technology not bought and class sizes going up.  Here is the headline, “CalSTRS’ funded status falls to 64% as deficit grows $21 billion following rate reduction.”

They talk about changing the ROI from 7.5% to 7%–and that is a gigantic laugh.  In 2015-16 to return on investment was 1.4%  It is not expected to change—so why does CalSTRS lie about easily to get numbers?  Because they think you will always believe them.

“Despite the news, David Lamoureux, the retirement system’s deputy system actuary, said the pension fund was on track to achieve full funding by 2046. The full funding target was part of a package approved by the state Legislature in 2014 that increased contributions by employers, employees and the state to the nation’s largest teachers’ pension plan.

But Mr. Lamoureux conceded that the full funding is dependent on the system achieving its expected rate of return over the long term.

And there is the lie—if they get the expected return on investment.  They know they will not.  This is a scam that the public will have to bail out.  These folks, if in the private sector would be fired and indicted in the same day.  Government gives bonuses and job security instead.

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CalSTRS’ funded status falls to 64% as deficit grows $21 billion following rate reduction

By Randy Diamond, Pensions and Investments,  3/30/17

CalSTRS’ unfunded liability increased to $97 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, a $21 billion increase from the previous year, officials of the West Sacramento-based retirement system said Thursday.

Officials during a press briefing Thursday said much of the increase results from the pension fund board’s vote in February to lower the system’s expected rate of return to 7.25% from 7.5%, starting July 1. It is part of a two-year plan to lower the rate of return to 7%.

The increase in unfunded liabilities is part of an actuarial valuation, a snapshot in effect, of the fund’s assets and liabilities. While the snapshot is as of June 30, it is based on the 7.25% rate that goes into effect July 1.

The $202.1 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System‘s 1.4% investment return for the year ended June 30 and an increase in the mortality rate for teachers after retirement were also contributing factors to the increase in the unfunded liability. CalSTRS’ funding ratio has also dropped to almost 64% as of June 30, from 68% a year earlier, officials said.

Despite the news, David Lamoureux, the retirement system’s deputy system actuary, said the pension fund was on track to achieve full funding by 2046. The full funding target was part of a package approved by the state Legislature in 2014 that increased contributions by employers, employees and the state to the nation’s largest teachers’ pension plan.

But Mr. Lamoureux conceded that the full funding is dependent on the system achieving its expected rate of return over the long term.

Critics have contended that even with the rate of return being lowered, CalSTRS’ return assumption is still overly optimistic.

 

Democrats Offer Plan to END Health Care Choice in California—Single Payer—Care and Costs Determined by Government NOT YOU

At least, finally, the Democrats are honest.  They only want one health care plan, that they approve.  They will determine what you will pay for, you won’t have to make choices, and the government will decide the premiums and deductibles.  If they plan runs into problems, not a big deal—taxes will subsidize this.  They tried this in Tennessee and State was forced to end it before they went bankrupt.  Canadians come to the U.S. for health care because of the poor service in their country.  In Britain heart and cancer patients can wait up to 18 months (not a typo) for an operation –they hope is that the cost of the operation is saved by dying first.  Oh, Vermont had this and could nto afford it either.

  • “Healthy California will be governed by a nine-member, unpaid board appointed by the governor and Legislature and a public advisory committee of doctors, nurses, other health care providers, and consumers.
  • Healthy California will cover comprehensive healthcare, and insurance companies cannot offer benefits for services covered.

  • Healthy California will not disclose personally identifiable information to the federal government about members’ religion, national origin, ethnicity, or immigration status for law enforcement or immigration purposes.

  • The board will develop proposals related to long-term care, retiree healthcare and healthcare services covered under worker’s compensation.

  • Note that this is the plan for ILLEGAL ALIENS:  “Healthy California will not disclose personally identifiable information to the federal government about members’ religion, national origin, ethnicity, or immigration status for law enforcement or immigration purposes.

Free health care for illegal aliens.  Ready to call yourself a Texan?

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Sens. Lara and Atkins Release Key Details on Healthy California Act to Give Every Resident One Plan with More Choice

Senator Ricardo Lara,  3/30/17

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) released details about their landmark Healthy California Act (Senate Bill 562) to create universal health coverage for every California resident.

The Healthy California Act will cover all California residents with comprehensive care for all services. Every Californian will have one plan with more choice.

Read the Healthy California Act at OnePlanMyChoice.com.

“With Republicans’ failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Californians really get what is at stake with their healthcare,” said Sen. Lara. “We have the chance to make universal healthcare a reality now. It’s time to talk about how we get to healthcare for all that covers more and costs less.”

“The Affordable Care Act is still intact, and that is a good thing, but uncertainty remains, and we can’t afford to remain idle on healthcare,” said Sen. Atkins. “The framework outlined in the Healthy California Act is the option that we need on the table to take our state forward and provide healthcare for everyone.”

Key provisions of the Healthy California Act include:

  • Covers Californians for all medical care, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency care, dental, vision, mental health, and nursing home care.
  • Eliminates co-pays and insurance deductibles
  • Californians can choose their doctor from a full list of health care providers, not a narrow network chosen by insurance companies.
  • Referrals are not required for a member to see any eligible provider.
  • Californians are covered when they travel.
  • Physicians and nurses will make decisions about care, and have the ability to override computers or clinical practice guidelines in the best interest of the patient.
  • Healthy California will be governed by a nine-member, unpaid board appointed by the governor and Legislature and a public advisory committee of doctors, nurses, other health care providers, and consumers.
  • Healthy California will cover comprehensive healthcare, and insurance companies cannot offer benefits for services covered.
  • Healthy California will not disclose personally identifiable information to the federal government about members’ religion, national origin, ethnicity, or immigration status for law enforcement or immigration purposes.
  • The board will develop proposals related to long-term care, retiree healthcare and healthcare services covered under worker’s compensation.
  • Healthy California will provide premium assistance for Medicare Part D for eligible members.

Healthy California will be funded by broad-based revenue, and the authors are developing a detailed funding proposal.

California will seek waivers from the federal government to use all federal funds from Medi-Cal, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to support the program. President Trump has promised “flexibility” to states seeking healthcare waivers.

The Healthy California Act (SB 562) was introduced on February 17, 2017, and is sponsored by the California Nurses Association.

 

New Bill to Make California Even More Expensive—Nickel and Diming Us to Death

Yes, Hertzberg has SB 640 to raise $123 billion in new sales taxes every year (not a typo).  Guv Brown has a bill to raise $52 in the next ten years.  Democrats have bills to tax anything that moves, doesn’t move, exists or even does not exist.  They can not get enough taxes to bankrupt 38 million people.  Now the openly Socialist Democrat Senator Bill Monning, wants to add labels to the soda you drink—with you as the consumer financing his feel good scam.

“CalChamber has identified this as a job killer because this warning may lead to unfair competition violations and ultimately class action suits.

SB 300 requires this warning be placed on certain beverages: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.” The bill is very specific about the size of type, placement of warning and characters per linear inch on each product according to the amount of beverage contained. Vending machines, self-serve dispensers and sit down restaurants all must provide the warning.

While this notification against labels on soda’s came from the California Chamber, you need to be reminded how sleazy that operation has become.  They hate labels on soda as a job killer, but as the first article in todays newsletter show they have no problem endorsing a $52 billion tax increase—without noting the cost to you.  That is sleazy and embarrassing to the members of this once honest organization.  How many jobs will be lost with the tax increase endorsed by the Chamber?

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Job Killer Update: New Bill Mandates California-Only Beverage Labeling

Valerie Nera, Cal Chamber, 3/29/17

The California Chamber of Commerce has identified a new job killer bill that mandates state-only labeling requirements for sugar-sweetened drinks.

SB 300 (Monning; D-Carmel) establishes the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Health Warning Act, which would prohibit a person from distributing, selling, or offering for sale a sugar-sweetened beverage in a sealed beverage container, or a multipack of sugar-sweetened beverages, in California unless the beverage container or multipack bears a health warning.

CalChamber has identified this as a job killer because this warning may lead to unfair competition violations and ultimately class action suits.

SB 300 requires this warning be placed on certain beverages: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.” The bill is very specific about the size of type, placement of warning and characters per linear inch on each product according to the amount of beverage contained. Vending machines, self-serve dispensers and sit down restaurants all must provide the warning.

CalChamber’s analysis finds that this bill exposes manufacturers and retailers of sweetened beverages to significant liability. Consumers would be able to sue for a violation of this new labeling requirement under California’s Unfair Competition Law. So not only could a business incur a civil penalty of up to $500; it also would have to defend against lawsuits.

It is conceivable that a class action suit would be brought based on the assertion that consuming these beverages contributes to a person’s obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, and that companies would be held liable for millions of dollars of awards for a person’s choice to consume the beverage.

Manufacturers make and sell products nationwide and globally. SB 300 unfairly burdens these companies with the requirement to specially label products for the California market. Small ethnic businesses are especially vulnerable as more of their profits are from products made in other countries that may not choose to label for just the California market.

Action Needed

SB 300 will be heard in the Senate Health Committee on April 19. The CalChamber is asking members to contact their senator and members of the Senate Health Committee to urge them to oppose SB 300 as a job killer.

 

Parents protest “graphic” sex ed curriculum in California schools

If the educrats running the Cupertino Union School District had their way, no kid would need to buy a Playboy, watch porn or hide pornography under their bed.  Instead the school districts would run a show and tell on sex for the kids, with the taxpayers financing the “how to” efforts.  Why, Because the sex-ed materials have not changed since 2003.  Hmm.

 

Has the body changed since 2003 or 1503?  Hs how sex works changed in the past 14  or 140 years?  Why do they need to make the classroom and Adult Book Store for the kids?  Maybe a couple extra classes in computer science, coding or English would be better than an explanation of “Debbie Does Dallas”?

“One parent who reviewed the proposed material summarized the concerns. “The data in it was explicit, it was extremely provocative,” said parent Sri Sarma. “It was written with too much of suggestion.”

In January 2016, the state passed the California Healthy Youth Act, which mandates comprehensive sex ed at least once in 7th or 8th grades, and once in high school. While the district has offered sex ed to students for years, the old curriculum is no longer compliant with the new law.

“No where does it say that the material needs to be so explicit, neither are we saying we do not want to comply with the law,” said Sarma.” All we are trying to say is let the material not be so much in detail.”

Will the teachers do live demonstrations?  Why not?  Sell tickets and the District could finance itself.

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Parents protest “graphic” sex ed curriculum in California schools

By CBS News, KTVQ MONTANA, 3/30/17

Plans for updated sex education curriculum at a South Bay school district had parents protesting at local board meeting Tuesday night before the board voted to not implement the changes.

CBS San Francisco reports that Cupertino Union School District board members voted 2-2 on the changes, which needed a majority to pass.

The issue for many parents was the graphic nature of the material, and how far is too far when it comes to sex ed in middle school. The proposed curriculum included descriptions of vaginal, oral and anal sex, along with material on homosexuality.

Parents packed the Cupertino Union School District board meeting many carrying signs protesting the proposed changes – some that read “Support age appropriate sex education,” “Over-exposure damages,” and “Do not put adult ideas in my child’s head.”

One parent who reviewed the proposed material summarized the concerns. “The data in it was explicit, it was extremely provocative,” said parent Sri Sarma. “It was written with too much of suggestion.”

In January 2016, the state passed the California Healthy Youth Act, which mandates comprehensive sex ed at least once in 7th or 8th grades, and once in high school. While the district has offered sex ed to students for years, the old curriculum is no longer compliant with the new law.

“No where does it say that the material needs to be so explicit, neither are we saying we do not want to comply with the law,” said Sarma.” All we are trying to say is let the material not be so much in detail.”

“It’s too graphic and too descriptive, and it’s leading kids in a certain way,” said parent Muni Madhdhipatla. “My best question to them is, are we teaching to perform or inform?”

The district has formed a task force, which included teacher Barbara Wooley, to choose new curriculum.

“I think they’re definitely ready for it, I think some of them may be past their due date on being ready for this,” said Wooley. “We’ve spent many years, probably 30 combined years, working with middle school students.”

Right now, teachers are using material from 2003.

“All of our old curriculum our videos were very heterosexual oriented,” said teacher Kristina Everhardt. “Not just heterosexual-oriented but very male-female. One of our movies literally that I showed in 7th grade last year implied that boys were only looking for sex and girls needed to protect their virginity.”

The district will now have to figure out a new way to comply with the state law.

 

Santa Barbara Gov’t Schools in Pension Trouble

Even the rich school districts are having severe problems with the CalSTRS teacher pension system.  Thousands of teachers and administrators throughout the State are being laid off, class in many districts will get larger and less will be available from school money for education purposes.  Instead, on July 1, on average, the schools districts will be paying 13% more for the pension system—that money comes out of the classroom and the hides of the teachers.

“This school year at Santa Barbara Unified, pension payouts have increased by more than 3.5 percent, while the district’s revenue has gone up by one percent. For the 2018-19 school year, pension obligations will go up nearly 5 percent, again outpacing revenues, which will increase by just under 2.5 percent.

“This is every district’s big problem throughout the state,” said Assistant Superintendent Meg Jetté. “I have no solution to this problem but to budget for it and plan for it. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night: How are we going to continually fund this?”

Yet, not a word from the Democrat Super Majority in the Legislature or the Governor on fixing this problem.  They continue to ignore it.  This is leadership, Democrat style.

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School Pensions Swell

By Keith Hamm, Santa Barbara Independent,  3/30/17

The steady climb of pension payouts (pictured) has been taking bigger and bigger chunks from Santa Barbara Unified School District’s budget as school districts statewide have been required to contribute more to their retiree’s benefit packages since state law was changed five years ago.

“It’s mind-boggling to me where we’re going,” said school board president Kate Parker earlier this month. “What it feels like is that we’re heading toward a system where we’re only paying for future retirement and not able to fund cost-of-living increases for people working right now.”

The district’s pension projections are combined payouts for hourly PERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) employees and STRS (California State Teachers’ Retirement System) certified staff, such as teachers and administrators with credentials and/or other certification. Both agencies manage multibillion-dollar pension funds and have anticipated poorer investment returns in the coming years.

This school year at Santa Barbara Unified, pension payouts have increased by more than 3.5 percent, while the district’s revenue has gone up by one percent. For the 2018-19 school year, pension obligations will go up nearly 5 percent, again outpacing revenues, which will increase by just under 2.5 percent.

“This is every district’s big problem throughout the state,” said Assistant Superintendent Meg Jetté. “I have no solution to this problem but to budget for it and plan for it. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night: How are we going to continually fund this?”

 

California to Free 9,500 Inmates Over the Next Four Years

Bad news for criminals.  The really confused Guv Brown is about to release 9500 more vicious/violent criminals from the prison system.  That means the almost 100,000 criminals either released early from prison or no longer arrested because of Prop. 57 or Prop. 47 will have more competition for the commission of crimes.

“State corrections officials announced a new set of guidelines Friday that are expected to reduce California’s prison population by 9,500. The new rules are part of an effort to reduce overcrowding under Proposition 57, which was approved by 64 percent of voters in November. Critics, however, say the changes are dangerous.

In addition to giving greater powers to the state parole board to grant early releases, Proposition 57 gives inmates new “credit-earning” opportunities to potentially reduce sentences. That’s what happening here. By participating in certain programs like self-help or parenting classes, inmates could see their sentences shaved for a month each year; those who earn a college degree could see their sentences reduced up to six months.

Rapists will be released, murderers will be released, drug dealers are going back to business as usual.  Isn’t California great?  Want to be safe?  Go to Texas or Nevada, California loves victims and protects criminals.  Why be subtle?

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California to Free 9,500 Inmates Over the Next Four Years

California County News,  03/29/2017

State corrections officials announced a new set of guidelines Friday that are expected to reduce California’s prison population by 9,500. The new rules are part of an effort to reduce overcrowding under Proposition 57, which was approved by 64 percent of voters in November. Critics, however, say the changes are dangerous.

In addition to giving greater powers to the state parole board to grant early releases, Proposition 57 gives inmates new “credit-earning” opportunities to potentially reduce sentences. That’s what happening here. By participating in certain programs like self-help or parenting classes, inmates could see their sentences shaved for a month each year; those who earn a college degree could see their sentences reduced up to six months.

All inmates except those on death row and those serving life without parole are eligible under the new credit system. That means even violent offenders could receive 20% of time served.

“What about the victims, does anybody care about them because potentially there’s 9,500 victims that were involved in this. And also nobody’s got their voice,” said Craig Lally, director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. “Why do you have to let them out early? They were supposed to do a sentence for a crime, for the bad actions that they did. And there’s no accountability.”

Two other criminal justice reform measures that were also aimed at reducing overcrowding have received widespread criticism in the aftermath of several officer deaths. In at least two of those cases, the shooter is said to have benefited from one or both of the laws: Public Safety Realignment, which was signed into law in 2011, and Proposition 47, which was approved by voters in 2014.

The latest changes must get final approval from state regulators after a public comment period. ABC 10 has more details here.

 

Congrats to California: Eight States WORSE for Retirement

We may be number one in housing costs, cost of water and energy, taxes—highest gas taxes in nation—and Guv Brown and Democrats want to add up to sixty cents MORE to that.  We have the highest poverty rate and numbers in the nation, 12 million in poverty.  LAUSD was able to honestly graduate 54% of their seniors—and dishonestly another 20%.  But, in one category, eight States are worse than us.

“Looking for that ideal place to retire? A new study from Bankrate.com suggests that would-be retirees look at almost any other state than California.

According to Bankrate Inc., California’s cost of living is the nation’s second-highest and total taxes are tied for six6th-highest. Oddly, a lack of seniors is another negative — the sixth-lowest percentage of residents age 65 and older.

And as to healthcare quality, California is judged to have the nation’s ninth worst.

On the other hand, the weather is nice – judged best in the nation – and cultural vitality is second-highest.

If you want culture, California is the place to live.  Really want culture, eat yogurt in Texas, so you can afford to live.  Your choice.

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California is 9th-worst state to retire

Central Valley Business Times,  3/29/17

  • Cost of living is nation’s second-highest
  • Healthcare quality is ninth worst, says study

Looking for that ideal place to retire? A new study from Bankrate.com suggests that would-be retirees look at almost any other state than California.

According to Bankrate Inc., California’s cost of living is the nation’s second-highest and total taxes are tied for six6th-highest. Oddly, a lack of seniors is another negative — the sixth-lowest percentage of residents age 65 and older.

And as to healthcare quality, California is judged to have the nation’s ninth worst.

On the other hand, the weather is nice – judged best in the nation – and cultural vitality is second-highest.

So which is the best state? Bundle up. It’s New Hampshire, says Bankrate.

Overall, California ranks as the ninth-worst state to pick for retirement.

New Hampshire is the best state to retire, according to the new Bankrate report. Colorado, Maine, Iowa and Minnesota comprise the rest of the top five.

The study examined eight key factors that were weighted in line with a nationally representative survey of non-retired U.S. adults. From most to least important, the categories were: cost of living, healthcare quality, crime, cultural vitality, weather, taxes, senior citizens’ well-being and the prevalence of other seniors.

New Hampshire ranked in the top five for seniors’ well-being (second-best), crime (third-lowest) and healthcare quality (fourth-best). It scored sixth-worst for weather yet still took the top overall spot thanks to its strength elsewhere.

Arizona, Florida and Nevada are popular retirement destinations, however none cracked the top 10. Arizona came in 12th (while it scored lots of points for weather, it failed to make the top 10 in the other seven classifications). Florida was 17th (it has the nation’s highest percentage of residents age 65 and older but didn’t sniff the top 10 in any other area). And Nevada was nowhere close to the top (#44). It rated very well for weather and taxes but was pulled down by the nation’s worst healthcare quality and its fourth-highest crime rate.

Alaska came in last overall and in two of the eight categories (weather and the percentage of senior citizens). It was also dragged down by the second-highest crime rate, the third-highest cost of living and the fifth-worst score for healthcare quality. West Virginia is the second-worst place to spend one’s golden years, followed by Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana.

The study found about half of non-retired U.S. adults would consider moving to a different city or state when they retire. The percentage is greatest among Millennials (58 percent) and falls to 46 percent of Gen Xers, 37 percent of Baby Boomers and 12 percent of the Silent Generation.

“What people think they want in retirement may not end up being what serves them best over the long run,” says Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell. “It’s about a lot more than sunny skies, beaches and golf courses. As you get older, practical considerations like healthcare, taxes and proximity to family and friends become much more important.”

Jon Coupal: Taxpayer Assault on Horizon

On February 17, “moderate” Democrat State Senator Bob Hertzberg introduced SB 640—a $123 billion increase in sales tax—that is double the collection of current taxes.  These taxes will be on attorney and CPA fees and all other services.  Get a divorce, pay a sales tax.  Get your income taxes done, pay a sales tax—dancing lessons—pay a sales tax.

Then you have the $54 billion car and gas tax increase—to pay for roads—while Guv Brown is trying to spend $200 billion on a train to nowhere.  Who do you think pays for the bike lanes, walking and horse trails that are popping up all over?  Money meant to fill potholes and fix roads are going to those that pay NO taxes for their chosen means of transportation.

“High taxes and onerous regulatory climate are driving high net worth individuals and business out of state. It is no secret, he said, why Venus and Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and others have left California as a place of residence. Other socioeconomic classes are affected, such as the non-college educated tradesman who can find work but cannot afford a home.

Two statistics he gave indicate the challenges: 1) California has 12% of the population and 33% of the welfare and 2) CEO Magazine twelve years in a row rated California the “worst place to do business”. The names of exiting companies include Tesla and Boeing. Utah is getting California’s biotech and the young people entering this field.”

The high taxes cost us tax revenues—and jobs.  But the rich behind Brown and the Democrats do not care.  In fact the California Chamber of Commerce endorsed the $54 billion Brown transportation tax.  But in their press release did not have the courage to mention the cost, just how the money was allegedly to be spent.  The rich love taxes—because they can afford them and keeps you in line, working harder to stay in place.

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Jon Coupal: Taxpayer Assault on Horizon

By Sheryl Hamlin, CitizensJournal,  3/31/17

Fresh from a roadside phone interview with NPR radio about Governor Brown’s proposed $54 billion tax increase, Jon Coupal, veteran tax warrior and head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), breezed in to keynote the Ventura County Taxpayers Association meeting on Thursday, March 30 in Oxnard.

$54 Billion Tax Increase THIS WEEK

Getting right to business, Coupal said that Brown’s proposed tax is a “direct assault on the middle class” and asked how does the majority part get away with it? He reminded the audience that because the Democrats have a supermajority in both houses, they do not need to go through the signature gathering process, but can simply put any measure on the ballot.

Proposition 13 Success and Assaults

Per Proposition 13, a State tax increase requires a 2/3 vote of each legislature. The supermajority in both houses was an unimaginable situation when Proposition 13 was passed in 1978. Now citizens are dependent on “moderate Democrats”, he said, to protect them from the tax collector. HJTA will be starting an education campaign about this tax increase in the near future.

The landmark legislation Proposition 13 still “polls well” and homeowners know that it keeps them in their homes. Proposition 13 has guaranteed stability for governments as well as property owners according to local assessors. During a boom, there is no spike and during a bust there is no precipitous drop.

Since the enactment of Proposition 13, there has only been one successful assault: the lowering of school bond parcel taxes in 2000 to 55% rather than the 2/3 as initially written. LAUSD, whose budget is greater than some states, wins approval of anything, yet Wall Street is starting to look twice about selling bonds against their revenue stream because they are so leveraged.

Not discussed at the meeting, but it must be noted that LAUSD’s enrollment has declined but the district has not made proportionate cuts.

Coupal described a 2106 “split roll” amendment to the constitution which would separate commercial property from residential property with respect to Proposition 13 guarantees. This passed in the Assembly, but was killed in the House. But it will return.

California Exodus?

High taxes and onerous regulatory climate are driving high net worth individuals and business out of state. It is no secret, he said, why Venus and Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and others have left California as a place of residence. Other socioeconomic classes are affected, such as the non-college educated tradesman who can find work but cannot afford a home.

Two statistics he gave indicate the challenges: 1) California has 12% of the population and 33% of the welfare and 2) CEO Magazine twelve years in a row rated California the “worst place to do business”. The names of exiting companies include Tesla and Boeing. Utah is getting California’s biotech and the young people entering this field.

Transparency

Coupal praised the Munger funded Proposition 54 which requires 72 hours of transparency before a bill is brought to a vote, saying that this will have positive impact in the long term. This bill passed overwhelmingly in 2016.

The Trump Effect in California

Trump Derangement Syndrome has taken over California. The new head of ICE was invited to Sacramento by the Sheriff, but was jeered with many angry people present. Poisonous climate, he said. Ironically, one of the Trump tax proposals is to eliminate the deduction for State Income Tax on the Federal return, which will penalize taxpayers in high tax states like California.

Other Taxing Issues….

Other taxing issues on the horizon include 1) adding another 2% to the 13.3% tax on high net worth individuals, which was just extended to 2030, 2) allowing cities to impose income taxes like New York City, 3) oil severance tax, 4) lowering parcel tax requirement from 2/3% to 55% like the school parcel tax and 5) Herzberg’s tax on services, such as CPA’s.

Not mentioned was Herzberg’s plan to weaken Proposition 218, which Coupal authored. Proposition 218 created the notion of a “benefit asset district”, but the concept has been skirted by many governments needing revenue. Herzberg’s water plan will allow cities the ability to raise rates indiscriminately for water projects.

Ballot harvesting has been enabled where there is now a three day grace period where anyone can bring a box of ballots supposedly postmarked on the date of the election. The situation is described as follows:

…Election Integrity Project founder Linda Paine notified the California Secretary of State through her attorney, that they were teaching the wrong law to county registrars. That law, SB 450, would allow voters to vote in person at “vote centers” located at public spots throughout their county for the 10 days prior to an election, including two weekends, and voters will receive a vote by mail ballot that can be returned by mail, or dropped off at any vote center. This essentially legalizes ballot harvesting and authorizes counties to remove from voters, the right to vote in person….

Audience Questions

The audience had many questions. Coupal took about forty five minutes of questions. Most sat stunned faced with the gravity of the situation.

Gas Tax. Are there any companion bills (offsets that would make the bill more palatable)? No, none proposed. He said that during Brown Senior’s tenure, there were General Fund monies for infrastructure, but that has not been true for years.

Teachers to be Exempt from State Income Tax. This has been proposed, he said, but it is a slippery slope. At what point do the police and fire want preferential tax treatment too?

1200 page Special Tax district directory. Are there too many? Coupal said that there is nothing inherently wrong with the California Special Districts Association (CSDA), if there is accountability. The worst he recalled was the South Coast Air Quality Management district. Some cemetery districts have been combined. The Sacramento Flood Control District, which he supported, was good. 8000 districts seems high, he said.

Bills by John Morlach. John Morlach predicted the Orange County bankruptcy as a private citizen speaking at meetings. He told the county they were going bankrupt, which occurred. Morlach will be the keynote speaker at the April 2017 meeting in Sacramento hosted by HJTA.

Theme: Taxpayer survival in a tax happy state
Date: April 18, 2017
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (lunch will be provided)
Address: 1025 9th St #201, Sacramento, CA 95814
The event is free but seating is limited. Contact Eric@NoNewTaxes.net as soon as possible to reserve your spot!

How is HJTA expanding? HJTA just launched its Spanish language version of the website. Click here to view. He noted that Hispanic surnames predominate now in Riverside county. They own property and businesses. Millennials do not trust government and have a Libertarian streak, so are also candidates for taxpayer education.

High Speed Rail (HSR). The Cap & Trade revenue keeps HSR on life support, but these auctions tanked last year. Every transportation expert says it is not viable financially. This was originally a Schwarzenegger project, which Brown embraced. Many theories abound and its success is not predictable.

Portability of Proposition 13 benefits. Yes, these benefits may transfer if the county accepts them. They are trying to make them portable between counties now.

What Price Paradise?

As we left the table, the discussion returned to the perfect Mediterranean climate of the California coast. At what point will more taxpayers start to decamp?

Today’s SOLD OUT event was hosted by the Ventura County Taxpayers Association (VCTA.org). About 60 people attended.

Mathews: Stop Blaming California for Donald Trump

Is California responsible for the election of Donald Trump?  One of the most respected journalists and pundits in California said this, “That may seem a preposterous question to ask of a state that voted so decisively against the new American president that it was responsible, all by itself, for his loss of the popular vote. It seems even stranger given California’s near-total resistance to Trump’s presidency, and the way our state embodies so many of the good things—diversity, immigration, international cooperation, and science-based policy—that Trump and his acolytes rage against.

Yet, there has been some finger-pointing at California—by both opponents and allies of the president—as the place that produced Trumpism.”

I believe California is responsible.  Most of the rest fo American see the former Golden State as emotionally, economically and culturally failing.  They see bullies close down speeches on campuses and radicals take over townhall meetings.  The rest of the nation see regulations that are out of control, taxes too high and roads crumbling while bike lanes and trains to nowhere being built.  California is what the Democrat Party wants to be—and the rest of America is horrified.  They instead elected an over the top New Yorker, with no filter and a willingness not to be subtle while telling the truth.

California values, policies and politics is why Trump is President—no one wants to be like us.

donald-trump-2

Stop Blaming California for Donald Trump

Joe Mathews, City Watch LA,  3/30/17

CONNECTING CALIFORNIA–Is California to blame for Donald Trump?

That may seem a preposterous question to ask of a state that voted so decisively against the new American president that it was responsible, all by itself, for his loss of the popular vote. It seems even stranger given California’s near-total resistance to Trump’s presidency, and the way our state embodies so many of the good things—diversity, immigration, international cooperation, and science-based policy—that Trump and his acolytes rage against.

Yet, there has been some finger-pointing at California—by both opponents and allies of the president—as the place that produced Trumpism.

The case starts with some hard geographic facts. Twitter, which the president uses to spew bile, is a California creation. Reality television, which turned the real estate developer into a national entertainer, is a Hollywood gimcrack. And Breitbart—the alt-right media entity that modeled the toxic mix of xenophobia, authoritarianism, and conspiracy-mongering that is Trumpism—is based on the Westside of Los Angeles.

More damning still, many of the leading figures applying Trumpism to federal governance have deep California ties. Among these are top White House strategist Steve Bannon, who lived for many years in Los Angeles while working in Hollywood; top Trump policy aide Stephen Miller, who is from Santa Monica; Breitbart immigration writer turned presidential special assistant Julia Hahn; influential Trump national security official Michael Anton; and UC Irvine economist Peter Navarro, now helping Trump un-make the global trade system.

And more broadly, as Jason Willick and James Hitchcock showed in The American Interest, California thinkers—including billionaire Peter Thiel, the Hoover Institution’s Victor Davis Hanson, the Bay Area entrepreneur and political provocateur Ron Unz, the neoreactionary software developer Curtis Yarvin, journalist Mickey Kaus, the blogger Steve Sailer, and much of the roster at the conservative Claremont Institute—have helped build a case for Trump’s disruptive, anti-immigrant nationalism.

The leap from this roster to the idea of Trumpism as California product involves many competing narratives, most of which divide into two camps.

Those who dislike Trump point out that Trumpism draws from various historical strains of prejudice that California incubated. To name just a few of our notorious innovations: California developed some of America’s first and worst anti-Chinese laws in the 19th century; California was a leader in the indefensible incarceration of people of Japanese heritage during World War II; the California legislature started persecuting people for “un-American activities” before Joe McCarthy; and we were a hotbed of anti-Mexican prejudice and anti-immigrant politics throughout the second half of the 20th century.

Even today, our most high-profile industries—Hollywood and Silicon Valley—practice exclusionary policies, visible in everything from the paucity of minority leads in films to the sexism in the executive suite at Uber. This blanket condemnation of California prejudice by anti-Trumpites has also ensnared L.A.’s toniest private school, Harvard-Westlake, which, despite producing civic-minded Angelenos (like Mayor Eric Garcetti) has taken publicity hits for graduating Hahn and Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow.

The liberals in charge here really do have feet of clay, prejudice remains too present here, and the state faces all kinds of challenges … But we also should assert our hard-earned success: California has made profound progress over the last generation in becoming a more inclusive place.

And those more sympathetic to Trump? They argue the converse proposition— that California has been far too welcoming to immigrants and outsiders, embracing demographic change at a pace that’s too fast for too many people. The American Interest essay identified Trumpism as a backlash fueled by “mass immigration—or, alternatively, the failure of California Republicans to adapt to immigration—which produced a demographic transformation of the Golden State without parallel in the rest of the country.”

The Trumpians themselves have gone even further, justifying their own white nationalism as a form of rebellion against California’s supposedly tyrannical liberalism and stultifying political correctness. Miller railed publicly against diversity programs at his own Santa Monica High; Bannon has publicly taken the presence of Asian American CEO’s in Silicon Valley as some sign of a breakdown in American civil society. To them, California is a way of justifying their own bigotry.

It’s tempting to dismiss such poor logic as, well, let’s just say you’ll find plenty of it in a Hanford dairy after the cows have had a good feed. Most children know that it’s wrong to blame one’s own poor conduct on the conduct of others.

And California contains so many multitudes that it has always been a big, rich, easy target for any narrative of blame. “Success makes so many people hate you,” Marilyn Monroe, child of Los Angeles, once said. As Hinton Helper, California’s first great chronicler, observed in 1855, far too many Americans “have, by some strange hallucination, been converted to the belief that whatever California ought to be for their own particular ends and interests, it really is.”

But the “Trump as California product” arguments, while bogus, touch on just enough truth that they deserve a more impassioned response.

That response starts with acknowledging the reality of California’s history, and the many problems of the present. The liberals in charge here really do have feet of clay, prejudice remains too present, and the state faces all kinds of challenges, particularly in infrastructure, housing, and schooling.

But we also should assert our hard-earned success: California has made profound progress over the last generation in becoming a more inclusive place. It was not easy—we had to survive the worst urban riots since the Civil War (Los Angeles, in 1992) and divisive ballot fights over immigration and affirmative action measures that carry echoes of today’s Trumpism.

Now, despite predictions from the left (especially the writer Mike Davis) and from Trumpist thinkers on the right that a diverse California would come apart, our state is better off by every measure. As we became more diverse, our inner cities became safer. Our valleys became less polluted. And our people became richer and better educated.

California is thus the most effective rebuttal of Trump’s false and bigoted claims that American inner cities are full of violence that immigrants bring danger and voting fraud, and that foreigners are taking American jobs. Why are the Trumpians so fixated on discrediting California? Because we keep proving them wrong.

Of course, our homegrown Trumpians, being Californians, don’t give up easily. And so they continue their preposterous strategy of launching rhetorical war on California on every front, from health care to environment to transportation—while blaming the war on California.

It’s tempting to call such people traitors to California, but that would give them too much credit and feed their overdeveloped sense of victimhood. They’re really opportunists, who irresponsibly scapegoat a whole state for its bigotry when their own bigoted appeals have elevated them to power in Washington.

Indeed, to blame California for Donald Trump is akin to blaming Abraham Lincoln for John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln had his own prejudices and he sure was unsettling to people. But only the most dishonest and unreconstructed Confederates would dare claim that he turned the gun on himself.

California has its problems and prejudices. But that’s no excuse for Trumpians to put their crap on our home state.

(Joe Mathews is Connecting California Columnist and Editor at Zócalo Public Square … where this column first appeared. Mathews is a Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)