Archives for April 2017

Don’t Tax Family Businesses Out of California

tax signFamily businesses are the bedrock of our communities and the economy. A recent study showed that the state’s 1.4 million family businesses employ 7 million people. Family businesses tend to pay their employees better, train them better, and provide more generous benefits than nonfamily companies. We’re also less likely to significantly downsize during tough economic times.

I know because I’m the president of Holt of California, which was established in 1931 and is now owned by three families.

For years, like all businesses, we have had to adapt to ever-higher taxes and ever-more stringent regulations. To no one’s surprise, our state has ranked dead last the past two years in the annual survey of business executives nationwide conducted by CEO Magazine. But we have survived and now provide a wide range of equipment and servicing for construction and agriculture and employ more than 700 people in Northern and Central California.

But just when you think things can’t get any worse, along comes legislation by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. Senate Bill 726 would place a measure on next year’s ballot to overturn two 1982 initiatives that abolished California’ inheritance tax and impose a 40 percent death tax on California’s family businesses. That would generate an estimated $4.5 billion a year for Sacramento politicians to spend, and would put California family businesses at a huge disadvantage compared to the rest of the nation.

The bill had been scheduled to face its first hearing on April 26 before the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, but after Family Business Association lobbyists organized a coalition of nearly 50 business and farming groups to oppose it, Sen. Wiener made it a two-year bill, meaning it won’t be heard during the remainder of 2017. FBA will do everything in our power to persuade Sen. Wiener to drop the measure altogether and if he declines to do so, to stop this poorly considered measure once and for all.

Why is it important to encourage, not destroy, family businesses?

Because families are in it for the long term, we focus not just on the next fiscal quarter but the next quarter-century. And because we’re based in our communities, we care about them, donating our time and financial support for community-based organizations and projects.

But keeping businesses family-owned is a struggle. Only about 30 percent survive into the second generation, about 12 percent make it into the third generation and just 3 percent operate in the fourth generation and beyond. And one reason for that distressingly low long-term success rate is high inheritance taxes.

While proponents of the current 40 percent federal death tax argue that only “the rich” pay because the first $5.5 million in assets are excluded, many family businesses and farms are land-rich and cash-poor. With the high value of land in California, the total value of assets can easily exceed that seemingly high threshold.

Furthermore, the need for the tax to be paid in cash is particularly troubling as many survivors are left with no other option but to sell homes, family farms and businesses and lay off employees just to pay those taxes. This is money that could have otherwise been used as working capital to create jobs and allow business expansion.

Sen. Wiener says he will only pursue the measure if the federal government abolishes its death tax, as has been proposed, but the bill does not contain such a clause. The bill also refuses to address the very real issue of what would occur if the federal estate tax is reimposed by a future Congress. If reinstated at the same rate, it could result in California estates being taxed at a staggering 80 percent rate.

While family businesses in the other 49 states could be significantly strengthened if the federal government abolishes its death tax, California would punish them and undoubtedly many would leave the state, taking jobs and tax revenue with them. Currently just 18 states impose such a tax – none with rates higher than 18 percent – while four states have repealed their death taxes since 2010.

Family businesses are the foundation of our economy and our communities. Isn’t it time our politicians take steps to keep family businesses operating profitably for the next generation instead of doing everything they can to drive us out of business, or at least out of California?

Ken Monroe is President and CEO of Holt of California and serves as Vice Chair of the Family Business Association of California.

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

California’s drought might never be over for farmers

After a particularly soppy winter refilled California’s gasping reservoirs and swelled the Sierra Nevada snowpack — to 175 percent above its historical average, in some spots — grateful residents hailed the end of a dry spell that stretched back six years. Governor Jerry Brown has declared that the state’s drought is mostly over, though he cautions that “conservation must remain a way of life.”

DroughtBut for the farmers of the San Joaquin Valley, which covers roughly 400 miles from north to south and averages about 50 miles in width, water poverty continues — and in their case, the drought is mostly man-made. While the rain and snow have eased general water-use rules in place during the drought, California farmers continue to operate under strict environmental-regulatory constraints that have left this land parched.

For example, fresh water needed by farmers will still be diverted into the San Francisco Bay — 1.4 trillion gallons from 2008 through last spring — to protect the Delta smelt, a three-inch baitfish that has landed on the Endangered Species List and now gets preferential political treatment over farmers. The smelt’s defenders fear that the pumps that move critical water supplies to farmers could harm its chances for survival. So the fresh water is dumped into the ocean instead. To no avail, as it turns out: Jason Peltier, deputy general manager of the Central Valley’s Westlands Water District, told National Geographic that a survey that netted only six delta smelt is “further proof that redirecting water from human use to environmental use in the name of helping the fish is not working.”

It’s possible that as much as half of the water that is impounded in the state’s systems of dams and reservoirs and flows through its network of aqueducts, canals and pipelines gets diverted for an environmental agenda. Smelt protection is a federal policy. But California has the largest representation in Washington of any state. Why couldn’t this politically powerful delegation apply pressure in the right places to fix the problem? Maybe because most of California’s Senate and House members side with the environmental agenda over human needs.

State regulations also hold back the extraction of water, including a “groundwater sustainability plan” that when fully implemented will limit the volume of underground water that farmers can pump. Historically, landowners have had the right to determine how much water they pull out of the ground.

The state has also failed to address its glaring shortage of water infrastructure. California’s aqueducts and storage facilities simply cannot handle the volume of water needed to keep the Golden State sated over the long term. The California Farm Water Coalition says the state has a “broken water system” that creates “the risk of permanent water shortages during even the wettest of years, and ever-escalating disaster during multi-year droughts” if it’s not repaired.

Two years ago, voters approved a $7.5 billion water bond to improve this situation. The funds would be spent on “surface and groundwater storage,” “water supply management and conveyance,” and “drought relief.” As much as $2.7 billion was earmarked for “water storage projects, dams, and reservoirs.” But critics say that California is sitting on needed projects.

The San Joaquin Valley is called the “breadbasket” and “food basket of the world” for good reason. Its 20,000 square miles produce 8 percent of the nation’s agriculture output by value, about a quarter of its food, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and 40 percent of the fruits, nuts, and other table foods consumed in this country. It’s an indispensable resource.

Despite the valley’s importance, Congressman Devin Nunes believes that environmentalists want to drive farmers out of it through water deprivation. With the San Joaquin Valley now in its third decade of a government-caused water shortage, it’s hard to argue with the Republican, whose valley district is home to nearly 4,000 farms. He’s met with the extreme Greens and seen their plans, which are disastrous for his constituents.

Colman: MASS TRANSIT PASSENGERS NEED GUNS

How safe are you on a BART train?  Think those security camera’s are protecting you?  Will the transit police come to your rescue?  On Saturday night between 40-60 gang members rampaged on a BART train in Oakland.  During that time the cops never came—and the BART folks refuse to release the video—claiming the gangsters “looked” like they were under age (what does that matter to the assault and theft victims).  Could the real reason be that NO video exists—or that it will show the gang membership was based on race?

There is a simple solution to this kind of crime:  Make sure that BART passengers carry firearms. 

If the violent attackers are shot or killed, that would send a message to individuals contemplating crimes to stay away from BART trains and stations. 

A similar incident to the one in Oakland occurred on the New York City subway system on December 22, 1984.  Subway passenger Bernard Goetz shot four muggers, seriously wounding all of them.  Goetz fired five shots. 

Nine days after the shooting, Goetz surrendered to police and was charged with attempted murder, assault, and offenses relating to firearms laws. 

A jury eventually acquitted Goetz of all charges except one.  He was found guilty of carrying an unlicensed firearm and served eight months of a one-year jail sentence.” 

But, Goetz and others lived because he was willing to break the law—since the police would not protect him and his fellow passengers.  If you do not like the Second Amendment approach to stopping gangs on BART—here is another plan.  STOP USING BART.  STOP BEING A VICTIM OF AN EXPENSIVE SCAM.  It is already losing ridership—you are safer in your car that a BART train that acts like a prison, holding in victims and criminals in a confined space.

Gun

MASS TRANSIT PASSENGERS NEED GUNS

By Richard Colman, California Political News and Views,  4/28/17


Forty to 60 marauding youths raided a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train around 9:20 P.M. on Saturday, April 22, 2017.  The incident occurred at BART’s Coliseum station in Oakland, California. 

The swarm of youths robbed six people inside a train car and one person on the station platform.  Stolen items included a purse, a duffel bag, and cell phones. 

Police authorities were unable to stop the crime, which occurred during darkness.  The crime ended in about five minutes. 

There is a simple solution to this kind of crime:  Make sure that BART passengers carry firearms. 

If the violent attackers are shot or killed, that would send a message to individuals contemplating crimes to stay away from BART trains and stations. 

A similar incident to the one in Oakland occurred on the New York City subway system on December 22, 1984.  Subway passenger Bernard Goetz shot four muggers, seriously wounding all of them.  Goetz fired five shots. 

Nine days after the shooting, Goetz surrendered to police and was charged with attempted murder, assault, and offenses relating to firearms laws. 

A jury eventually acquitted Goetz of all charges except one.  He was found guilty of carrying an unlicensed firearm and served eight months of a one-year jail sentence. 

Self-defense should never be a crime. 

The California State Legislature should, if needed, pass legislation permitting any BART passenger to carry a weapon, including a firearm.  The legislation should make clear that no charges will be filed against anyone who uses a firearm to defend himself.

 

Developers bracing for mayor’s proposed affordable housing fee in LA

Los Angeles has an affordable housing problem.  At the same time City Hall and the Democrats are protecting several hundred thousand illegal aliens that are living in affordable housing in L.A.  Want to end the crisis?  Enforce our immigration laws.  We do not have to build any new facilities, just enforce the laws on the books.  Instead Democrats want the cost of housing for honest people to go up as the dishonest get a free ride.

“Mayor Garcetti’s plan to raise millions of dollars for affordable housing in Los Angeles by charging a new fee on real estate development looks like a foregone conclusion, says the head of the area’s largest trade group for builders.

“This one’s a freight train,” said Randy Johnson, president of the Los Angeles/Ventura chapter of the Building Industry Association. “The mayor really wants it and there’s no one on the City Council that is going to go against it that I know of.”

The housing crisis is caused by government.  Policy, protecting criminals, affects all of us.  High taxes are due in large part of the illegal aliens crowding our schools, hospitals and roads, taking jobs, pushing African-Americans out of housing.  This is criminal and no one is willing to tell the truth and the media refuses to report the facts.

affordable housing

Developers bracing for mayor’s proposed affordable housing fee in LA

Josie Huang, KPCC,  4/24/17

Mayor Eric Garcetti says a proposed developer fee would help fund the construction of below-market rate housing for low-income households. There’s skepticism that the plan would work. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mayor Garcetti’s plan to raise millions of dollars for affordable housing in Los Angeles by charging a new fee on real estate development looks like a foregone conclusion, says the head of the area’s largest trade group for builders.

“This one’s a freight train,” said Randy Johnson, president of the Los Angeles/Ventura chapter of the Building Industry Association. “The mayor really wants it and there’s no one on the City Council that is going to go against it that I know of.”

The mayor, who first proposed the fee in fall of 2015 as a way to fund the much-needed production of below-market rate housing, brought up his proposal again in his State of the City address last week. Garcetti urged the City Council to pass the fee “and do it now.”

The proposal is reviving a debate over whether developer fees lead to more affordable housing or discourage housing development in the city. There may not be consensus on that issue, but most agree that there’s an urgent need to address affordable housing in the Los Angeles, where many spend over 50 percent of their income for a roof over their heads.

Ben Winter, the mayor’s housing policy specialist, said planners have been working to shape the proposal so council members can pass it this year.

“It’s gone through the analysis, through City Planning Commission and multiple hearings,” Winter said. “So it’s ready to go, ready to rock ‘n roll.”

Developers have expressed concerns over the fee at hearings, but they are not the only critics. City Controller Ron Galperin said imposing another fee on builders — $12 dollars per square foot on residential buildings, $5 dollars for commercial – isn’t going to help fix the city’s housing shortage.

“Just making it more expensive to build and charging that to those who are actually building more units is really counter-intuitive,” Galperin said.

Galperin said the fee would not generate enough money to help the low-income households who could use the affordable housing. His office estimates that more than 90 percent of low-income households in L.A. live in market-rate housing.

The mayor’s office has tried to address concerns about the fee’s impact on the cost of development by exempting smaller buildings, such as homes under 1,500 square feet, buildings with five units or less and second homes in the backyard. Winter said developers also have the option to include a certain amount of affordable housing in their project rather than paying the fee.

The proposal will go before the council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee led by Councilman Jose Huizar before there is a vote by the full council.

In a statement from Huizar’s office, the council man said he “looks forward to a robust discussion” on the new fee and that his goal is to hear it “as part of a comprehensive affordable housing discussion related to land-use issues.”

Galperin said another initiative by the mayor and the council mentioned in Garcetti’s State of the City speech will boost housing production in a way a new fee can’t.  The mayor reiterated a plan to update the city’s planning documents, many of them decades-old, which Galperin said will streamline the approval process for projects.

AG Sessions: Erroneous tax credits to ‘mostly Mexicans’ could fund wall

There are lots of ways to finance the Wall.  Sen. Cruz suggests the money from the infamous Mexican drug cartel leader be used—that is $14 billion.  More than enough for the Wall.  Attorney General Sessions has an even better idea—let the tax refunds to illegal aliens be used to build the Wall.  This takes money out of the hands of those that are violating our laws and pay to keep others out.  I would go a bit further—find the bank accounts of these criminals and freeze the money, do not allow illegal aliens to use the banking system.

“”We’re going to get paid for it one way or the other,” Sessions said on ABC’s This Week. “I know there’s $4 billion a year in excess payments, according to the Department of the Treasury’s own inspector general several years ago, that are going to payments to people — tax credits that they shouldn’t get. Now, these are mostly Mexicans. And those kind of things add up — $4 billion a year for 10 years is $40 billion.

In a July 2011 report, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration determined individuals who are not authorized to work in the U.S. had been paid $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits. It did not mention Mexicans or any other nationalities.

This is $4.2 billion that should not go to law violators—now is the time to enforce our banking laws.  Why not?

jeff-sessions

AG Sessions: Erroneous tax credits to ‘mostly Mexicans’ could fund wall

By Allen Cone, UPI.  4/23/17

April 23 (UPI) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Sunday the proposed wall along the United States-Mexico border could be paid for by reducing erroneously issued tax credits that the former Alabama senator claimed go to “mostly Mexicans.”

“We’re going to get paid for it one way or the other,” Sessions said on ABC’s This Week. “I know there’s $4 billion a year in excess payments, according to the Department of the Treasury’s own inspector general several years ago, that are going to payments to people — tax credits that they shouldn’t get. Now, these are mostly Mexicans. And those kind of things add up — $4 billion a year for 10 years is $40 billion.

In a July 2011 report, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration determined individuals who are not authorized to work in the U.S. had been paid $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits. It did not mention Mexicans or any other nationalities.

“The Department of Treasury, several years ago, under the Obama administration, said that if you change the regulations and enforced it properly, you would save up to $4 billion a year,” he said.

“There are other things that we can do at the border to create revenue that would pay for the wall. There’s no doubt about that.”

Sessions said he doesn’t expect the Mexican government to “appropriate money” for the wall but “we can deal with our trade situation to create the revenue to pay for it.”

During his campaign, President Donald Trump promised Mexico will pay for the wall.

“Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall,” he posted Sunday on Twitter.

Figures vary on the cost to build the wall. An internal report by the Department of Homeland Security said it could cost about $21.6 billion, not including maintenance. The Democratic staff of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee pegged the build cost at $70 billion.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on NBC’s Meet the Press: “The wall is, in my view, immoral, expensive, unwise.”

Democrats vigorously oppose funds for a border wall in a new spending bill. The government will shut down at midnight Friday if Congress cannot agree on one.

In the Senate, Republicans hold a 52-to-48 advantage over the Democratic caucus. But Senate Republicans must get 60 votes to pass legislation.

“I can’t imagine the Democrats would shut down the government over an objection to building a down payment on a wall that can end the lawlessness,” Sessions said.

“Our goal is not to reduce it 50, 60, 70 percent but to end illegality, create a lawful system of immigration where people apply to come here, they wait their turn.”

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that Trump might refuse to sign a government spending bill that does not include money for the wall.

“We don’t know yet,” Mulvaney said in an interview on Fox News Sunday. “I’m not going to negotiate with you on national television. We will negotiate with the Democrats.”

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, said the budget only needs enough “for us to get going on the wall.”

“I think that as long as the president’s priorities are adequately reflected … and there’s enough as far as flexibility for the border wall and border security, I think we’ll be OK with that,” he said.

Priebus said the administration expects “the priorities of the president to be reflected” in a budget.

“We expect a massive increase in military spending, we expect money for border security in this bill, and it ought to be because the president won overwhelmingly and everyone understood that the border wall was part of it,” he said.

 

Senate Bill 54: Sheriff: Bad for the Safety of Ventura County Communities

The people that have to protect us are letting us know that Sacramento Democrats want law enforcement NOT to protect us, not to obey the law, not to enforce the law.   Think you are safe?  Ask the families of Jamiel Shaw Jr.m Kate Stienle or Marilyn Pharris—no one is safe in a State where government protects criminals and wants innocent people to be victims of political correctness.

“Some believe that once people are in our country, legally or illegally, they should be allowed to stay regardless of what crimes they commit. I believe when people are booked into jail for a criminal offense and they may be in our country unlawfully, they should be vetted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Criminal immigrants are certainly not representative of our immigrant community; however, we cannot ignore the fact that there are undocumented immigrants, as well as citizens, who commit crimes and represent a threat to the people of Ventura County.

What Ventura County Sheriff Dean is saying is that if you are an American that breaks the law—cops will put you away.  If you are an illegal alien that breaks the laws, the cops will protect you from Federal law enforcement.  Shame on us for making criminals first class citizens and Americans non-citizens.

ICE-Immigration-Agents

Senate Bill 54: Bad for the safety of Ventura County communities

By Geoff Dean, Special to The Acorn, 4/21/17

Geoff Dean Recent conversations surrounding federal immigration policies have caused fear among segments of the population and debate at all levels of government. One of the most recent and serious legislative entries in the immigration debate is California state Senate Bill 54.

Local law enforcement has been repeatedly clear in spoken and written word: We have not and will not be involved in immigration enforcement in our communities. We believe that a strong relationship with our communities built on trust is essential.

Some believe that once people are in our country, legally or illegally, they should be allowed to stay regardless of what crimes they commit. I believe when people are booked into jail for a criminal offense and they may be in our country unlawfully, they should be vetted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Criminal immigrants are certainly not representative of our immigrant community; however, we cannot ignore the fact that there are undocumented immigrants, as well as citizens, who commit crimes and represent a threat to the people of Ventura County.

Our local immigration enforcement policy has been the same for the past 20 years. Our policy is to notify those incarcerated immigrants when ICE desires to interview them and ensure the individual knows they have the option to decline the interview. In addition, as supported by federal judicial rulings, no one is unconstitutionally detained past the date all local charges are resolved.

SB 54 bars state and local law enforcement agencies from using resources to help with immigration enforcement and prohibits them from asking about immigration status or giving federal immigration authorities access to interview a person in custody.

It also prohibits ICE access to jail facilities. Criminal undocumented immigrants who are currently serving time in county jail for serious or violent crimes would simply be released back into our communities upon completion of their sentences.

Misleadingly called the California Values Act, supporters of SB 54 argue it will build trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities. I’m concerned there is a risk it will have the opposite effect.

If federal immigration officials are barred from jail facilities and local law enforcement is barred from communicating with them, it stands to reason ICE would have little choice but to take their investigations into our communities. ICE raids in our neighborhoods increase the likelihood agents will come into contact with undocumented persons not targeted by their investigations.

In essence, this practice would create the fear and mistrust SB 54 purports to prevent. Current policy of allowing ICE to vet those in jail for criminal offenses specifically identifies the criminal immigrants we may not want returning to our streets.

Scare tactics have fueled misplaced concern about local law enforcement teaming with ICE to conduct raids and arrest individuals for immigration violations. Some have even suggested that Ventura County deputies will join ICE agents, surround schools and arrest mothers for immigration violations as they drop off their children.

This rhetoric is absurd and only serves to unnecessarily heighten tensions and strain communication between the sheriff’s department and the people we serve.

SB 54 has passed the state Senate and is currently in the Assembly. Please contact your Assembly representative and urge them to fix this bill.

Dean is sheriff of Ventura County.

SDSU Aztec mascot survives cultural appropriation complaints

Garbage.  At San Diego State the mascot of the school is an Aztec—who cares?  Some seriously brain fried radicals without a life or reason for being have decided this is “cultural appropriation”—a fancy term for being silly in college with a good vocabulary.

“Following a lengthy and acrimonious debate, the Associated Student Council voted 14-12-1 against a resolution that would have called on the school to drop the Aztec name and mascot, reports NBC 7 San Diego.

“For me, this Aztec is encouraging cultural appropriation. It’s saying it’s okay to use people as mascots.”

One member of the student council became so angry over the vote, which was debated for four hours, that she immediately resigned from her post, while another shouted, “Do your damn jobs.”

Maybe getting an education would be a better goal than wasting time debating this subject.  We have terrorism, students are sitting ducks on the campus, free speech does not exist—and they are worried about a mascot—do not like it?  Become a Washington Redskins cheerleader.

Indiana Religious Freedom

SDSU Aztec mascot survives cultural appropriation complaints

 

Amber Athey, Campus Reform,  4/20/17

  The San Diego State University student government voted Wednesday to keep the school’s Aztec warrior mascot, rejecting claims that the mascot is a symbol of cultural appropriation.

The San Diego State University student government voted Wednesday to keep the school’s Aztec warrior mascot, rejecting claims that the mascot is a symbol of cultural appropriation.

Following a lengthy and acrimonious debate, the Associated Student Council voted 14-12-1 against a resolution that would have called on the school to drop the Aztec name and mascot, reports NBC 7 San Diego.

“For me, this Aztec is encouraging cultural appropriation. It’s saying it’s okay to use people as mascots.”

One member of the student council became so angry over the vote, which was debated for four hours, that she immediately resigned from her post, while another shouted, “Do your damn jobs.”

The resolution was proposed in response to outrage over the “cultural appropriation” of the mascot, and students demonstrated on campus against it earlier this week using the hashtag #NotYourMascotSDSU.

“For me, this Aztec is encouraging cultural appropriation. It’s saying it’s okay to use people as mascots,” moaned Raelynn Bichitty, a member of the Native American Student Alliance (NASA). “It’s okay to dehumanize them because they’re not on our level.”

Marissa Mendoza, the president of NASA, called the Aztec mascot a “racial sickness” and said she will not stop trying to change it until she graduates, declaring, “There’s going to be a clear path for people who do come in to take this by the reigns and tear this beast down. This is a racial sickness. A sickness.”

Over the course of a debate lasting more than four hours, the student representatives opposed to changing the mascot cited financial concerns, school pride, and paying tribute to Aztec warriors as important considerations.

“Fiscally this would be a nightmare, losing hundreds of millions of dollars and a loss of our brand as a whole,” said Josh Skolnick, who voted against the resolution, adding that the change would represent “huge disrespect to Aztec alumni.”

SDSU responded to the vote by explaining that it leaves such matters to student government and “appreciate the thoughtful consideration our student leaders have given the issue,” but took no institutional stance on the proposal, which could resurface in other governing bodies later this year.

“A similar resolution has also been proposed to the University Senate and is expected to go through its own policy discussion process in the fall,” SDSU said. “It is important to SDSU that all viewpoints regarding the university’s Aztec identity are given the opportunity to be respectfully heard and carefully considered.”

 

Reason #1 to End Transit Subsidies: It’s the Most Costly Transportation We Have

If I wanted to waste money, tax dollars, the quickest way is to subsidize money losing government transportation.

“The National Transit Database says agencies spent more than $64 billion in 2015 yet collected less than $16 billion in fares. They carried about 55 billion passenger miles, for an average cost of $1.15 per passenger mile, of which 87 cents was subsidized. No other major mode of passenger transportation is anywhere near this expensive.

Americans spent about $1.1 trillion buying, operating, repairing, and insuring cars and light trucks in 2015, but they also drove their autos nearly 2.8 trillion miles. At average auto occupancies of 1.67 people (see table 16), that’s 4.6 trillion passenger miles by auto, for an average cost of about 24 cents per passenger mile. We don’t have 2015 data yet, but in 2014, government agencies spent about $72 billion subsidizing roads (add the $98 billion in “other taxes and fees” to the minus $10 billion in “less amount for nonhighway purposes” and the minus $16 billion for “less amount for mass transportation”).

Of course the unions and special interests prosper—as families and businesses are economically harmed.  If you do not use government transportation you are still financing about 85% of the cost—so that a teen gang can rampage a BART train on a Saturday night—with NO arrests.  Want to lose money, kill jobs, finance special interest corruption—make yourself a crime victim?  Then government transportation is the fastest way.

from the L.A. Times

from the L.A. Times

Reason #1 to End Transit Subsidies: It’s the Most Costly Transportation We Have

by Randal OToole, New Geography,  04/26/2017

Fifty-three years ago, the transit industry was mostly private and earned a net profit. Today, it’s almost entirely publicly owned, and subsidies have grown out of control. It’s time to take a stand and say all transportation subsidies are bad, but transit subsidies are the worst.

The National Transit Database says agencies spent more than $64 billion in 2015 yet collected less than $16 billion in fares. They carried about 55 billion passenger miles, for an average cost of $1.15 per passenger mile, of which 87 cents was subsidized. No other major mode of passenger transportation is anywhere near this expensive.

Americans spent about $1.1 trillion buying, operating, repairing, and insuring cars and light trucks in 2015, but they also drove their autos nearly 2.8 trillion miles. At average auto occupancies of 1.67 people (see table 16), that’s 4.6 trillion passenger miles by auto, for an average cost of about 24 cents per passenger mile. We don’t have 2015 data yet, but in 2014, government agencies spent about $72 billion subsidizing roads (add the $98 billion in “other taxes and fees” to the minus $10 billion in “less amount for nonhighway purposes” and the minus $16 billion for “less amount for mass transportation”).

This is more than was spent subsidizing transit, but those roads not only produced 70 times as much passenger travel, they were used to ship more than a quarter of the freight moved in this country. Ignoring the freight, the subsidy was about 1.6 cents per passenger mile, meaning the total cost of transit was more than four times the cost of driving.

Airfares are about 14 cents a passenger mile, making air travel a bargain. Airline subsidies are only a couple of cents a passenger mile (subtract government expenditures from government revenues and divide by passenger miles). Amtrak subsidies are comparatively horrendous at 22 cents a passenger mile but are still only a quarter of transit subsidies.

Transit is expensive because it is subsidized. Lacking any need to keep costs within revenues, transit agencies spend way too much money accomplishing far too little. It is time to stop all transportation subsidies, but as the most-heavily subsidized form of transportation, transit should be the priority.

This piece first appeared on The Antiplanner.

Randal O’Toole is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute specializing in land use and transportation policy. He has written several books demonstrating the futility of government planning. Prior to working for Cato, he taught environmental economics at Yale, UC Berkeley, and Utah State University.

 

AB 5: Democrats Tell Employers WHO Must Work and When Allowed to HIRE New People

Should AB 5 pass, your will schedule and use your workers based on government commands, not your needs.  Need new workers?  You will not be allowed to hire them until after you work your current employees over time.  What if they do not want to work overtime—government controls them, they are no longer free agents.  Here is the provision that makes workers, agents of the State:

“(c) An employer shall offer additional hours of work to an existing employee who, in the employer’s reasonable judgment, has the skills and experience to perform the work before hiring any additional employees or subcontractors, including hiring an additional employee or subcontractor through the use of a temporary employment agency, staffing agency, or similar entity. An employer shall use a transparent and nondiscriminatory process to distribute the additional hours of work among existing employees.

Not allowed to hire unless the current workers work overtime.  Sounds like the Soviet Union, not California.  What do you think?  Should government stop you from hiring new workers?  Maybe moving to a Free State is the answer.

Jobs

AB-5 Employers: Opportunity to Work Act.(2017-2018)

Introduced by Assembly Members Gonzalez and Kalra
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chu and Mark Stone)

 

Date Published: 12/05/2016

 

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 5
Introduced by Assembly Members Gonzalez and Kalra
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chu and Mark Stone)
December 05, 2016

An act to add Section 559 to the Labor Code, relating to employers.

 

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

 

AB 5, as introduced, Gonzalez. Employers: Opportunity to Work Act.

Existing law creates the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in the Department of Industrial Relations for the purpose of enforcing labor laws. Existing law, with certain exceptions, establishes 8 hours as a day’s work and a 40-hour workweek, and requires payment of prescribed overtime compensation for additional hours worked.

This bill would create the Opportunity to Work Act. The bill would require an employer with 10 or more employees to offer additional hours of work to an existing nonexempt employee before hiring an additional employee or subcontractor, except as specified, would require an employer to post a notice of employee rights, as specified, and would require the employer to maintain certain documentation. The bill would authorize an employee to file a complaint for violation of these provisions with the division and to, in the alternative, bring a civil action for remedies under the act. The bill would require the division to enforce these provisions, as specified and would authorize the division to, among other things, adopt rules and regulations. The bill would make a violation of these provisions punishable by a civil penalty. The bill would also define various terms for these purposes.

Digest Key

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO

Bill Text

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

 

SECTION 1.

Section 559 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

559.

(a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Opportunity to Work Act.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) “Division” shall mean the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

(2) “Employee” shall mean a nonexempt employee in this state.

(3) “Employer” shall mean any employer with 10 or more employees in this state.

(4) “Retaliation” shall mean any form of intimidation, threat, reprisal, harassment, discrimination, or adverse employment action, including discipline, discharge, suspension, transfer or assignment to a lesser position in terms of job classification, job security, or other condition of employment, reduction in pay or hours or denial of additional hours, informing another employer that the person has engaged in activities protected by this section, or reporting or threatening to report the actual or suspected citizenship or immigration status of an employee, former employee, or family member of an employee to a federal, state, or local agency because the employee or former employee exercises a right under this section.

(5) “Shift” shall mean the consecutive hours an employer requires an employee to work or to be on call to work. Breaks totaling two hours or less shall not be considered an interruption of consecutive hours.

(6) “Work schedule” shall mean all of an employee’s regular and on-call shifts, including specific start and end times for each shift during a consecutive seven-day period.

(c) An employer shall offer additional hours of work to an existing employee who, in the employer’s reasonable judgment, has the skills and experience to perform the work before hiring any additional employees or subcontractors, including hiring an additional employee or subcontractor through the use of a temporary employment agency, staffing agency, or similar entity. An employer shall use a transparent and nondiscriminatory process to distribute the additional hours of work among existing employees.

(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), an employer shall not be required to offer an employee additional work hours if the employer would be required to compensate the employee with overtime compensation under any law or under a collective bargaining agreement. This section shall not be construed to prohibit an employer from offering additional work hours to an employee that would result in the employer being required to compensate the employee with overtime compensation.

(e) An employer shall retain all of the following:

(1) For any new hire of an employee or subcontractor, documentation that the employer offered additional hours of work to existing employees prior to hiring the new employee or subcontractor.

(2) Work schedules of all employees.

(3) If applicable, the written statement of an employee pursuant to subdivision (k).

(4) Any other records or documents that the division requires the employer to maintain to demonstrate compliance with this section.

(f) The division shall enforce this section and may adopt rules and regulations to carry out this section. The division shall create and publish a posting notice that details employees rights under this section. An employer shall post the notice of employee rights under this section published by the division in a conspicuous place where it may be read by employees during work hours and in all places where notices to employees are posted physically and electronically.

(g) The division may issue guidelines to encourage employers to create training opportunities that permit employees to perform work for which the employer can be expected to have a need for additional hours of work.

(h) An employee may file a complaint for violation of this section with the division. Alternatively, an employee may bring a civil action for the remedies provided by this section in a court of competent jurisdiction. If the employee prevails, the court may award reasonable attorney’s fees. Upon the filing of a complaint by an employee with the division, the Labor Commissioner shall enforce this section in accordance with Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 79) of Division 1, including, but not limited to, Sections 92, 96.7, 98, and 98.1 to 98.8, inclusive.

(i) It shall be unlawful for an employer or any other party to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any employee in retaliation for exercising his or her rights under this section.

(j) To the extent required by federal law, all or any portion of the applicable requirements of this section may be waived in a bona fide collective bargaining agreement provided that such waiver is explicitly set forth in such agreement in clear and unambiguous terms.

(k) This section shall apply to welfare-to-work programs under which a person is required to perform work in exchange for receipt of benefits, except that a participant employee in such a program shall have the option to file a written statement with his or her employer opting out of the requirements of this section.

(l) A violation of this section shall not be punished as a misdemeanor pursuant to Section 553. A violation of this section shall be punished by a civil penalty as determined by the division.

CalSTRS: 200 MORE Victims Fired—1500 Layoffs Already Approved

San Diego students and parents are in deep trouble—thanks to CalSTRS.  Originally 1500 teachers and staff were to be released.  The financial situation is worse, so add another 200 to it.  Yet, the union that these folks are forced to pay bribes to, refuses to call for pension reform to save jobs and quality education.

“Nearly 200 more employees will be laid off by the San Diego Unified School District on top of the 1,500-plus layoffs already approved for next school year, according to union representatives.

The new cuts – which will go to the school board for approval Tuesday – include all 40-plus library technicians, 16 mental health clinicians, bus drivers and other non-teaching employees and support staff.

“I just think it’s unconscionable they can say they are keeping the cuts away from the classroom. They’re not,” said Sylvia Alvarez, president of the union that represents 1,400 office-technical and business services employees. “They want to talk about graduation rates, then they cut the whole dropout prevention program … Do you care about all the kids, or just some of the kids?”

At what point will the bribe payers understand they are wasting their money and de-certify the unions.  Stop paying hard earned money to an organization that causes you to lose your job.  It is time to allow teachers to vote—pay bribe or not pay bribes.

CalSTRS1

San Diego Unified Adds Nearly 200 New Layoffs to the 1,500-plus Already Planned

The new cuts – which will go to the school board for approval Tuesday – include all library technicians, 16 mental health clinicians, bus drivers and other non-teaching employees and support staff.

By Ashly McGlone, Voice of San Diego,  4/21/17

 

Nearly 200 more employees will be laid off by the San Diego Unified School District on top of the 1,500-plus layoffs already approved for next school year, according to union representatives.

The new cuts – which will go to the school board for approval Tuesday – include all 40-plus library technicians, 16 mental health clinicians, bus drivers and other non-teaching employees and support staff.

“I just think it’s unconscionable they can say they are keeping the cuts away from the classroom. They’re not,” said Sylvia Alvarez, president of the union that represents 1,400 office-technical and business services employees. “They want to talk about graduation rates, then they cut the whole dropout prevention program … Do you care about all the kids, or just some of the kids?”

“The libraries, that’s ridiculous. … There are a lot of our students who don’t have a computer at home who have to use the library and look for that assistance and now they won’t have that,” she added.

Alvarez’s employee group was already facing 219 cuts, including 12 out of 14 special education occupational therapy assistants and 16 out of 19 tech-support employees. She said another 82 full-time jobs will be lost.

Her frustration is shared by Lance Wren, president of the 2,600-member union that represents transportation, custodial, maintenance and food workers, among others. Wren’s group will lose another 102 employees on top of the 130 already scheduled to be cut.

“Even though they’ll tell you they are making cuts as far from the classroom as possible, that is not true,” said Wren. “I don’t care if you’re a groundskeeper. … You provide a service to the students.”

Wren said 62 out of 372 bus drivers are now expected to be cut.

Thanks to “the cuts over in maintenance, they are not going to be able to maintain the busses. That’s a safety issue. We’ve asked about a plan and we are getting no answers,” Wren said.

The district’s projected $124.4 million budget gap hasn’t changed in recent weeks, so why are additional cuts being made now?

Wren said it’s a result of concessions his union wasn’t willing to make, including a loss of 14 work days during student breaks, times when custodians usually to do a deep cleaning.

The reduction would have equaled a 5 percent pay cut.

District spokeswoman Shari Winet confirmed Friday the school board will be asked to approve an additional 190 employee layoffs on Tuesday.

“These solutions are replacement cuts — replacing several solutions proposed in February,” Winet said in a statement. “None of the solutions being proposed will raise maximum class sizes and changes are being kept as far away from the classroom as possible.”

Winet said teachers are responding well to an early retirement incentive, which “should reduce the number of layoffs, although the results of this program will not likely be known until May.”

District negotiations with the unions will continue April 27.

“This district is taking in millions upon millions of dollars that my union went out and fought for,” said Wren, referring to Prop. 55, a statewide measure passed in November that extended certain income tax raises to fund education. “I believe they went out and wasted the money, myself. It’s about mismanagement.”

Alvarez said her union also didn’t agree to a 10- to 14-day work-year reduction sought by the district.

Some employees earn “$1,200 a month. You cut 11 days a year, that’s substantial,” she said.

“They are really targeting classified. We know they can’t take teachers out of the classroom, but there are other departments,” Alvarez said. “There are six HR officers. With all of these cuts, why do they still need that many? I don’t know.”

Sabrina Hahnlein, who represents the district’s paraeducators, a group that includes noon duty workers, special needs assistants and child development center workers, said she’s not clear whether her employees will see more cuts than already planned.

All three union presidents plan to speak about the job losses at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.

San Diego Unified plans to spend $1.4 billion this school year to serve 100,000 students, or $100 million more than it expects to receive in the general fund.