How America Treats Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans

California State Senator Ricardo Lara has presented a bill to give illegal aliens free health care under the MediCaid program. Covered California has a program urging illegal aliens to apply for ObamaCare and the fact they are here illegally will NOT be told to Homeland Security (how secure do you feel now?). Our dead vets are not being buried for over a year, dozens are dying without being allowed to see a doctor or getting treatment.

Obama and Brown have made illegal aliens welcomed, giving them benefits that are outlawed, allowing them jobs, housing, free health care and education. Veterans wait months and years to get their benefits. It took my father close to two and a half years, and the intervention of a Congressman, to get his benefits. Sneak into this nation and you get treated like royalty by the government.

“In Los Angeles, federal bureaucrats callously canceled an estimated 40,000 diagnostic tests and treatments for American veterans with cancer and other illnesses to cover up a decade-long backlog.

In New York, doctors report that nearly 40 percent of their patients receiving kidney dialysis are illegal aliens. A survey of nephrologists in 44 states revealed that 65 percent of them treat illegal aliens with kidney disease.”

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How America Treats Illegal Aliens vs. Veterans

By Michelle Malkin, cnsnews.com, 5/24/14

A government that fails to secure its borders is guilty of dereliction of duty. A government that fails to care for our men and women on the frontlines is guilty of malpractice. A government that puts the needs of illegal aliens above U.S. veterans for political gain should be prosecuted for criminal neglect bordering on treason.

Compare, contrast and weep:

In Sacramento, Calif., lawmakers are moving forward with a budget-busting plan to extend government-funded health insurance to at least 1.5 million illegal aliens.

In Los Angeles, federal bureaucrats callously canceled an estimated 40,000 diagnostic tests and treatments for American veterans with cancer and other illnesses to cover up a decade-long backlog.

In New York, doctors report that nearly 40 percent of their patients receiving kidney dialysis are illegal aliens. A survey of nephrologists in 44 states revealed that 65 percent of them treat illegal aliens with kidney disease.

In Memphis, a VA whistleblower reported that his hospital was using contaminated kidney dialysis machines to treat America’s warriors. The same hospital previously had been investigated for chronic overcrowding at its emergency room, leading to six-hour waits or longer. Another watchdog probe found unconscionable delays in processing lab tests at the center. In addition, three patients died under negligent circumstances, and the hospital failed to enforce accountability measures.

In Arizona, illegal aliens incurred health care costs totaling an estimated $700 million in 2009.

In Phoenix, at least 40 veterans died waiting for VA hospitals and clinics to treat them, while government officials created secret waiting lists to cook the books and deceive the public about deadly treatment delays.

At the University of California at Berkeley, UC President Janet Napolitano (former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) has offered $5 million in financial aid to illegal alien students. Across the country, 16 states offer in-state tuition discounts for illegal aliens: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

In addition, the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and the University of Michigan Board of Regents all approved their own illegal alien tuition benefits.

In 2013, the nation’s most selective colleges and universities had enrolled just 168 American veterans, down from 232 in 2011. Anti-war activists have waged war on military recruitment offices at elite campuses for years. The huge influx of illegal aliens in state universities is shrinking the number of state-subsidized slots for vets.

In 2013, the Obama Department of Homeland Security released 36,007 known, convicted criminal illegal aliens, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. The catch-and-release beneficiaries include thugs convicted of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and thousands of drunk or drugged driving crimes.

The same Department of Homeland Security issued a report in 2009 that identified returning combat veterans as worrisome terrorist and criminal threats to America.

In Washington, Big Business and open-borders lobbyists are redoubling efforts to pass another massive illegal alien amnesty to flood the U.S. job market with low-wage labor.

Across the country, men and women in uniform returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have higher jobless rates than the civilian population. The unemployment rate for new veterans has spiked to its worst levels, nearing 15 percent. For veterans ages 24 and under, the jobless rate is a whopping 29.1 percent, compared to 17.6 percent nationally for the age group.

A Forbes columnist reported last year that an Air Force veteran was told: “We don’t hire your kind.”

And last December, Democrats led the charge to reduce cost-of-living increases in military pensions — while blocking GOP Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ efforts to close a $4.2 billion loophole that allows illegal aliens to collect child tax credits from the IRS, even if they pay no taxes. The fraudulent payments to illegal aliens would have offset the cuts to veterans’ benefits.

America: medical and welfare welcome mat to the rest of the world, while leavings its best and bravest veterans to languish in hospital lounges, die waiting for appointments, and compete for jobs and educational opportunities against illegal border-crossers, document fakers, visa violators and deportation evaders. Shame on us.

 

Special Interests Buying Bond Measure for Gov’t Schools: Will Get Contracts in Return?

Government is corrupt. The electoral system is openly corrupt. Who “donates” to bond measures, those dealing with construction and new facilities? Construction firms, potential vendors and unions—all of the class of folks that benefit directly from the passage of the bonds. This is how crony capitalism works, the buying of the process.

“The bulk of the contributions have come from construction companies, architectural firms and organized labor, groups that have been heavily involved in building and renovating dozens of schools throughout the district thanks to the $1.44 billion the measures have freed up since 2002. If voters approve Measure H, a $270 million proposal on the June 3 ballot, it would be the seventh bond for school construction in the district passed since 1998. Those measures have saddled West Contra Costa property owners with the largest tax burden in the county.”

In your city or country, see a bond measure and look for the donors—crony capitalists and unions buying on the cheap billions of your tax dollars.

corruption steal theft

West Contra Costa school bond program draws massive campaign spending by contract recipients

By Robert Rogers, Contra Costa Times, 5/25/14 

TO SEE COMPLETE STORY CLICK ON HEADLINE

RICHMOND — Roughly $2.8 million has poured into campaigns to pass West Contra Costa school district bond measures since 2002, the bulk from groups that have benefited from the massive taxpayer-funded construction projects that the successful ballot measures have unleashed, according to an analysis of campaign finance records by this newspaper.

The bulk of the contributions have come from construction companies, architectural firms and organized labor, groups that have been heavily involved in building and renovating dozens of schools throughout the district thanks to the $1.44 billion the measures have freed up since 2002. If voters approve Measure H, a $270 million proposal on the June 3 ballot, it would be the seventh bond for school construction in the district passed since 1998. Those measures have saddled West Contra Costa property owners with the largest tax burden in the county.

The money to fund the political campaigns goes into For the Children of West County, a political campaign committee, according to Elections Office records.

Dan Walters: Brown budget reflects state’s massive debt

The State Controller says that as of April 30, 2014 the cash DEFICIT of the State is $10 billion. Our confused Guv claims we have a balanced budget, even a surplus. He is confused. The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) says we have a $340 billion debt—but the Guv is setting up a “reserve fund”. With what money? He added $1.2 billion to the cost of MediCaid, while Covered California is promoting illegal aliens to sign up for MediCaid and ObamaCare. The $156 billion budget (actually over $200 billion is everything is counted) does not meet the needs of California and by not handling the pension funds that are collapsing due to over a total of $1 trillion of unfunded liabilities (that is CalSTRs, CalPRS, UC, 20 counties, LADWP and numerous other government pension funds).

“STRS has a $70-plus-billion unfunded liability – even with assumed investment earnings that Brown deems “highly unlikely” – and says it needs about $5 billion more a year to regain solvency. Brown’s plan would eventually reach that level, but most would come from school budgets. That idea is already drawing high-decibel protests from education groups.”

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Dan Walters: Brown budget reflects state’s massive debt

By Dan Walters, Fresno Bee, 5/25/14

As he unveiled a revised state budget this month, Gov. Jerry Brown was peppered with questions about new spending that his fellow Democrats were touting – everything from health insurance for illegal immigrants to universal pre-kindergarten.

There are, Brown replied, “a lot of ideas to do things,” quickly adding, “We’ve done a lot already, and we haven’t paid for what we’ve done.”

Truer words were never spoken. Over the previous 15 years, California had amassed enormous debts under Brown’s two immediate predecessors, Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The state now owes about $340 billion, with unfunded liabilities for pensions and retiree health care by far the largest pieces. While not all debt was taken on during the past 15 years, it was a period of particularly irresponsible finances.

State employee and teacher pension benefits were increased on the convenient fiction that investment earnings would pay for them, and pension contributions were actually reduced.

Unemployment insurance benefits were increased without increasing payroll taxes to pay for them, meaning the state had to borrow $10 billion from the federal government when recession hit.

And so forth.

Davis – Brown’s chief of staff during his first governorship – was especially profligate, largely to please the unions that had backed his campaign for the governorship in 1998. As his deficits mounted, he paid the political price by being recalled.

However, Schwarzenegger, while talking a good game about fixing the state’s finances, was in many respects just as bad. He slashed vehicle taxes by billions of dollars on his first day in office, then turned around just a few months later and asked voters to pass a $15 billion bond issue to cover the state’s deficits.

Brown’s budget is studded with reminders of their poor fiscal stewardship.

He wants to pay off the last of Schwarzenegger’s misnamed “Economic Recovery Bonds,” as well as debts to schools, local governments and special funds, and is proposing a painful recovery plan for the State Teachers Retirement System.

STRS was once healthy, but during the Davis years, benefits were increased while the state’s contributions were decreased, leaving it very vulnerable to declines in investment earnings during recession.

STRS has a $70-plus-billion unfunded liability – even with assumed investment earnings that Brown deems “highly unlikely” – and says it needs about $5 billion more a year to regain solvency. Brown’s plan would eventually reach that level, but most would come from school budgets. That idea is already drawing high-decibel protests from education groups.

“To get what (students) need, they need teachers,” Brown said. “Teachers get what they need by having a pension. The pension has to be paid for.”

Amen.

 

 

Bad roads just aren’t acceptable–but the norm in California

Out of fifty states, California is rated either the second or fourth worst in the nation, based on national surveys and reports.   Go anywhere is the State and you will see freeways being worked on, but in total it is a minor portion of the problem. Billions are being spent on roads—but hundreds of billions will be spent on buses, trains and high speed rail—money that does not exist, except by going deeper into debt. For instance California is going to spend $350 million to create in the next fiscal year bike and walk trails—money that could be used to fix our roads.

Democrats want gas taxes to go up, many want a 9.5% oil “severance” tax added on. Money will not go to roads—it will go to trains, bike, and horse and walk trails, plus buses. That is why government is asking for more money—to make up for what it diverts.

california roads infrastructure

 

Bad roads just aren’t acceptable

Lompoc Record, 3/27/14

TO SEE THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK ON THE HEADLINE

California highway conditions are among the worst in the nation.

The latest data from the California Transportation Department confirms the worst-in-the-nation claim, although things have improved in recent years.

Officially, 16 percent of the state’s 50,000 miles of highway lanes are considered to be in “poor” condition. Unofficially, we’d have to say that the percentage of bad roads most of us have to drive on is higher than 16 percent.

Bad road conditions lead to all kinds of other problems. One of those is what a road with bumps and potholes can do to your vehicle. Repair shops may adore those neglected highways, but your wallet won’t.

More laws won’t clean up California government

Democrat Senator Yee buying assault weapons from international terrorists is already against the law—did not matter to him. Democrat Senator Wright knew that lying on your nomination papers is a crime, he did not care. The crooks in Bell, knew that stealing, even in plain sight, was wrong—no new law is needed. We do not need new laws, we need to cut back the benefits of government. Privatize as much as possible, stop the waste and fraud, cut taxes and let honest people build, grow and live.

Want honest government, limit it. New laws are not needed, less government is the solution.

“Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.” He’s not the only one who noticed the prime goal of the government – any government, in any country – is to redistribute wealth among different groups of constituents.

Yet whenever political scandals emerge, politicians feign outrage in the same way that people are shocked that there are no virgins to be found in the whorehouse. If the whole purpose of government is to rearrange the riches, so to speak, then it’s no surprise that those who are particularly adept at the practice aren’t the best candidates for the monastery.”

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image16423634

More laws won’t clean up California government

By Steven Greenhut, California Watchdog.org,   3/14/14

SACRAMENTO – When it comes to ethics, I always figured there are three kinds of people. There are those who, upon seeing a storehouse filled with treasure, would try to steal as much of it as they could grab. Then there are those would take the treasure, but only if the doors were unlocked and they were fairly sure they wouldn’t get caught. And then there are those who wouldn’t take any of it under any circumstances. Those are the honest folks who would close the storehouse door if someone else had left it open.

I’ve recently expanded those categories by two. There also are those who wouldn’t mind getting what’s in the storehouse provided the voters pass a law authorizing agents of the government to take it for them. That includes most of the country’s voters, whether they call themselves “liberals” or “conservatives.” And then there’s a small subset – the people who pass the laws (often accompanied by high-minded speeches) authorizing the theft.

Those last categories conform to the musings of journalist H.L. Mencken, who argued: “Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.” He’s not the only one who noticed the prime goal of the government – any government, in any country – is to redistribute wealth among different groups of constituents.

Yet whenever political scandals emerge, politicians feign outrage in the same way that people are shocked that there are no virgins to be found in the whorehouse. If the whole purpose of government is to rearrange the riches, so to speak, then it’s no surprise that those who are particularly adept at the practice aren’t the best candidates for the monastery.

California’s political class has been captivated by a series of legislative scandals in recent months. Democratic Sen. Rod Wright, an “Inglewood” Democrat, was found guilty on eight felony counts including perjury. In California, state legislators must live in the districts they represent, and a jury found that Wright lived in a much tonier neighborhood. Instead of booting him from the Senate, the leadership won’t even hold a vote on the matter – preferring instead to grant him a paid leave of absence as the senator awaits sentencing.

As political corruption scandals go, that’s a yawner. Several other legislators are vulnerable on the district issue. I’m most perturbed at how outraged the political class is about this supposedly unfair prosecution. Maybe the law is unfair and maybe the prosecution was politically motivated. But I have never heard the Senate’s leaders complain about the many state laws that are unfair and about prosecutors who unevenly prosecute cases against regular Joes.

The tawdrier story involves the Calderon brothers and their Los Angeles-area Democratic political dynasty. “According to (U.S. attorney Andre) Birotte, the Calderons greedily helped support ‘a massive health fraud’ as (Sen.) Ron Calderon pushed to preserve a California spinal surgery law that dramatically benefited hospital owner Michael Drobot, who officials say ‘ripped off’ 100 insurers,” explained an LA Weekly article. Here’s FBI information on the indictment.

Once the FBI raided the senator’s office, his political allies – all of whom knew about his high-living ways – were suddenly shocked to find out about it. They distanced themselves from him immediately, offering denouncements and stripping him of his committee chairmanships. Recently, he, too, was placed on indefinite paid leave, but not expelled from the Senate. Calderon denies any wrongdoing and hasn’t been convicted of anything.

In my U-T San Diego column, I quote Dan Schnur, a former Republican consultant who is running an independent bid for secretary of state on a government-reform agenda: “If Calderon had talked about passing legislation and getting summer jobs for his kids in separate phone calls rather than in the same one, it all would have been perfectly legal.”

My conclusion, from the column: “The difference between being a member in good standing of the California Legislature (or any other one) and being a criminal sometimes comes down to surprisingly narrow distinctions.”

That, as any libertarian theorist will tell you, is the problem in a political system where what is legal for the government (taking and redistributing property) would be illegal if a normal person did this in his private life. Drawing distinctions and determining the difference between, say, a really effective senator and a crook can come down to some hair-splitting.

The East Bay Express reported on another recent Sacramento scandal: “So far, the scandal has centered on high-powered lobbyist Kevin Sloat and his Sacramento firm, Sloat Higgins Jensen Associates. Under California law, it’s illegal for lobbyists to make campaign donations directly to candidates. … But the Sloat scandal showed that lobbyists are easily circumventing this law. Instead of making donations themselves, they hold lavish parties that they call ‘fundraisers,’ and they invite their clients to meet face-to-face with high-ranking politicians. Then, as the lobbyists and their clients press the politicos to give them what they want, the clients hand over $10,000 checks. …”

And in recent weeks, there’s been a travel scandal, with the Sacramento Bee reporting that legislators accepted $550,000 in travel donations from foreign governments as well as corporations and unions that funnel the money through foundations. The state places $440 limits on annual gifts from a single group, but no limits on any travel that can reasonably be construed as educational or related to the legislators’ job. That includes such educational jaunts as golfing trips to Maui and tours of Sweden and Israel.

Last week, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, who was an ally of Calderon, and two senators who had taken the most travel in 2013, announced at a Capitol press conference a new series of reforms that would promote accountability and cleaner government. The reforms don’t touch the travel. Indeed, Steinberg and Sens. Kevin de Leon and Ricardo Lara said how important the trips were in helping legislators do their jobs. But the package of bills would reduce the $440 limit to $200, ban fund-raisers at lobbyists’ homes and require more frequent gift reporting.

Good-government activists scoffed at these measures as picking the lowest-hanging fruit. Others viewed them as diversionary tactics. No one believes that a few new limits and some tweaks to campaign-finance law will change the way things are done.

Few politicians would steal anything directly, and most might be among the honest folks who wouldn’t touch anything in the treasure-laden storehouse. But they are part of a system where government robs Peter to pay Paul. Almost all of this is entirely legal and few people even question the ethics of it. A lot of the political law-breaking is fairly technical in nature (i.e., Wright).

But 60 percent of the bills that became law in California in 2010 were sponsored and written by special-interest groups. That sounds an awful lot like Mencken’s auction of stolen goods, given that all the money ultimately comes from taxpayers. Clearly, the system is tawdry. And this is where the good-government activists get it wrong. The folks who promote the new rules sometimes are cynical and want to deflect attention from scandal, but often they are well meaning as they propose new campaign limits or plans to turn, say, the secretary of state’s office into a technically nonpartisan position.

The real problem is government is too big, meddlesome and accustomed to taxing one group and giving benefits to another. Why wouldn’t a system such as this lure those who are most adept at this kind of work? Why wouldn’t lobbyists and special-interest groups try to buy protection or seek favors? It only makes sense, so there’s little chance that any of it will change until Americans begin to question some of the more fundamental aspects of the system.

Steven Greenhut is a contributor to Watchdog.org.

 

Jay Leno “Fired” Because Jokes about Obama Were True?

A good friend sent me an email with this “story” that maybe Jay Leno was fired because his jokes were too close to the truth. For many years Leno told jokes knocking all politicians. Over the past couple of years Obama made himself a great target for comedians, but only Leno was willing to tell the truth, in a funny way. Read these “jokes” see how true they are. Pass this on to your friends.

This Memorial Day weekend enjoy the jokes. Pass them along to your friends, especially your Democrat friends!

“Concerning the Benghazi, Associated Press, and IRS scandals:
“Remember in the old days when President Obama’s biggest embarrassment was Joe Biden?”

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Jay Leno “Fired” Because Jokes about Obama Were True?

5/23/14

He made too many true statements about the “king without clothes”.

Could This Be The Real Reason Jay Leno Retired . . . . .
Jay Leno may have been “asked to retire” based upon these monologue jokes delivered by the “J” man…………

We’ll never know………..
NBC was upset by the fact Leno’s comments were ALWAYS right on target.”I was going to start off tonight with an Obama joke, but I don’t want to get audited by the IRS.”

 

On NSA surveillance:
“We wanted a president who listens to all Americans – now we have one.”
On a new IRS commissioner:
“He’s called ‘acting commissioner’ because he has to act like the scandal doesn’t involve the White House.”

 

On closing the Guantanamo prison for terrorists:
“If he really wants to close it, turn it into a government-funded solar power company. The doors will be shut in a month.”

 

Concerning the Benghazi, Associated Press, and IRS scandals:
“Remember in the old days when President Obama’s biggest embarrassment was Joe Biden?”

 

On Obama saying he didn’t know about the IRS scandal:
“He was too busy not knowing anything about Benghazi to not know anything about the IRS.”

“The White House has a new slogan about Benghazi : Hope and change the subject.”

“It’s casual Friday, which means that at the White House, they’re casually going through everybody’s phone calls and records.”
“It is not looking good for President Obama. Today his teleprompter took the fifth.”

“Fox News has changed its slogan from ‘Fair and Balanced’ to ‘See, I told you so!'”
On Obama’s commencement address:
“He told the young graduates their future is bright unless, of course, they want jobs.”>

On a Chicago man who set a record for riding a Ferris wheel:
“The only other way to go around and around in a circle that many times is to read the official report on Benghazi .”
On White House claims of ignorance on the scandals:
“They took ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ out of the Pentagon and moved it into the White House.”
“These White House scandals are not going away anytime soon. It’s gotten so bad that People in Kenya are now saying he’s 100 percent American.”

 

Government Forces People Onto Public Transportation—Then Raises the Cost

In Los Angeles the potholes are the size of fish ponds. Due to bike riders and buses it can take 20-30 minutes in rush hour to go two miles on a main street. The people have put themselves deeply in bonded debt to pay for the busses and the subway system (yes a subway in earthquake country—you can’t drill for oil, but you can run vibrating trains all day). More than ten billion dollars into the system, no way for the fare box to pay. So subsidies from the General Fund and raises at the fare box.   Taxes going up, cost of food, energy and water, going up. Now people are being forced into using government transportation and that cost is going up.

No wonder California is in a Depression and we have the most people in poverty in the nation. Los Angeles is nickel and diming people into and staying in poverty.

“Beginning in September, rates will go up from $1.50 to $1.75, but passengers will be given two hours of free transfers. Day pass fares will go up from $5 to $7 and weekly and monthly pass costs will also increase. The board also decided to temporarily postpone additional rate hikes – to $2 in 2017 and $2.25 in 2020, according to the report.”

Photo courtesy of skew-t, flickr

Photo courtesy of skew-t, flickr

MTA fares to increase in face of looming budget shortfalls

Scott Bridges, LA Business Journal, 5/23/14

After hours of debate, including comments from more than 100 people, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted 12-1 to increase bus and rail fares, according to the Orange County Register.

Most of those 100 commenters argued in vain against the fare increase.

Beginning in September, rates will go up from $1.50 to $1.75, but passengers will be given two hours of free transfers. Day pass fares will go up from $5 to $7 and weekly and monthly pass costs will also increase. The board also decided to temporarily postpone additional rate hikes – to $2 in 2017 and $2.25 in 2020, according to the report.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina cast the lone “nay” vote.

The hikes were necessary, Metro officials said, because of a projected $36.8 million budget shortfall projected for 2016. And that deficit is predicted rise to $225 million over the next decade.

In light of those numbers, an extra quarter seems like a rather small price to pay.

In March, members of the Bus Riders Union, long-time transit rider advocates, met with the mayor. Since then, they’ve been involved in “ongoing communication” with the mayor’s office “as recently as this week,” mayoral spokeswoman Marie Lloyd told City News Service.

Back in 1994, the BRU sued Metro for spending more on trains than buses – something they described as discrimination against bus riders. And they won. The action was settled by consent decree, and Metro agreed to upgrade its buses.

Lloyd said the mayor’s office has also met with the Youth Justice Coalition, a group advocating for free fares for students, as well as altering Metro’s policies regarding penalties.

 

Texas Guv Perry Goes to Belly of the Beast: San Fran to Promote Oil, Gas and Coal

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is doing what California Republican politicians seem to refuse to do—tell the truth about oil, coal and gas to the Luddites and Elites of San Fran. On June 11 he will be speaking to those that love high taxes, bad laws and refuse to allow many businesses, like Wal Mart, to open up in “The City”. The bigger question is how soon after the speech will Bay Area firms announce they are moving to Texas, a State that means business. They will leave California, a State that means taxes and hypocrisy.

“Then again, Perry may see his trip as a victory lap, having attracted Toyota’s North American headquarters, and its 3,650 jobs, to suburban Dallas from Southern California. In another win for the Lone Star State, the Austin Business Journal reported Friday that San Francisco-based Dropbox will boost employment in the Texas capital from 40 to 200 by the end of 2015.

At this rate, California Gov. Jerry Brown may want to inspect Perry’s pockets upon his departure to be sure he isn’t taking home Charles Schwab’s (NYSE: SCHW) headquarters or more California jobs.”

CPAC 2013

CPAC 2013

Texas governor Rick Perry coming to San Francisco to tout oil, gas and coal

Mark Calvey, San Francisco Business Times, 5/23/14 

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is coming to San Francisco June 11 to discuss the merits of fossil fuels as America pursues energy independence.

Don’t expect to hear much about melting glaciers in Antarctica, but no doubt his appearance will draw protesters.

Perry may feel as though he’s heading into the heart of enemy territory, with Stanford University deciding this month that it will no longer invest directly in coal companies. That move reflects a growing trend among universities, churches and endowments to avoid fossil-fuel investments, as the New York Times reported last week.

Then again, Perry may see his trip as a victory lap, having attracted Toyota’s North American headquarters, and its 3,650 jobs, to suburban Dallas from Southern California. In another win for the Lone Star State, the Austin Business Journal reported Friday that San Francisco-based Dropbox will boost employment in the Texas capital from 40 to 200 by the end of 2015.

At this rate, California Gov. Jerry Brown may want to inspect Perry’s pockets upon his departure to be sure he isn’t taking home Charles Schwab’s (NYSE: SCHW) headquarters or more California jobs.

Perry will address the Commonwealth Club of California at 7:30 p.m. June 11 at San Francisco’s InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. The organization, whose programs reach a national audience via the Internet and radio broadcasts, hosts speakers with a diversity of viewpoints. Past speakers range from liberal economist Paul Krugman to outspoken venture capitalist Tom Perkins and now, Perry.

“Perry believes his state is leading the way for America in creating energy independence by producing crude oil and electricity in many forms, including natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, biofuel, and hydroelectric generation,” the Commonwealth Club said in announcing Perry’s speech. “He will discuss energy and his ideas on other political issues of the day, including his experience as a Republican candidate on the 2012 presidential campaign trail and his view of the road ahead.

The announcement also notes that Perry supported the Texas Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2005, another move unlikely to win him fans in the Bay Area.

Perry penned “Fed up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” according to the Commonwealth Club. But the Texas governor may be more eager to tout another book on this trip, Erica Grieder‘s “Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What Americans Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas.”

 

California Dems Not-So-Universal Preschool Plan –But Will Grow

In politics there are no coincidences. You see one piece of legislation and you wonder why, in a straight line, on the “merits” of the issue. Then you see another piece of legislation and you finally get the whole story. For instance last week the California Political News and Views did a story about the new Brown budget. He was changing the formula for children in poverty—so more would qualify for the free lunch program. Jerry added one million children to the poverty line. That was bad enough. Now we know why. http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/gov-brown-proposes-change-in-tallying-of-low-income-students-for-funding-formula/

Democrat Darrell Steinberg has a bill to create transitional kindergarten, but since we do not have $1.5 billion a year for the full program, he has the assistance for just those government considers in “poverty”. That is currently 234,000 children. But, with the new definition, hundreds of thousands more children will qualify—many illegal aliens.

“The Sacramento Democrat said his scaled-back plan would cost an additional $378 million. It would offer preschool to 4-year-olds whose families qualify for free and reduced lunch – about 234,000 children, Steinberg said.

“Every low-income child in California would have access to full-day, full-year quality preschool if (at least) one parent works,” Steinberg said during a budget subcommittee hearing Thursday.

Children whose parents are poor but don’t work would get a half-day of preschool under the plan, Steinberg said.”

Kids

California Dems Not-So-Universal Preschool Plan

Governing Magazine, 5/23/14

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg unveiled a modified version of his plan to offer free preschool to California 4-year-olds on Thursday, slashing the cost of the program to the state by more than two-thirds by focusing on children from the poorest families.

Steinberg’s earlier plan would have provided preschool to all 4-year-olds regardless of family income and cost the state about $1.5 billion once fully rolled out. But Gov. Jerry Brown showed no interest in expanding state spending that much and left Steinberg’s plan out of his budget proposals.

The Sacramento Democrat said his scaled-back plan would cost an additional $378 million. It would offer preschool to 4-year-olds whose families qualify for free and reduced lunch – about 234,000 children, Steinberg said.

“Every low-income child in California would have access to full-day, full-year quality preschool if (at least) one parent works,” Steinberg said during a budget subcommittee hearing Thursday.

Children whose parents are poor but don’t work would get a half-day of preschool under the plan, Steinberg said.

“Too many kids – especially low-income kids – are starting school far behind. And it’s not right,” Steinberg said. “This is an opportunity to do something assertive about it.”

Brown’s Department of Finance spokesman, H.D. Palmer, pointed to a Standard & Poor’s report issued Thursday that praised Brown’s May budget revision and warned the Legislature against spending more than the governor suggested.

View Full Story from The Sacramento Bee

 

Brown CalSTR’s Fix—Harms Schools/Students—Exposes Real Purpose of Prop. 30 Billions

We were told that we must pass Prop. 30–$6 billion a year in new taxes for seven years—for “the children”. Now we know, for sure, that was a lie. The reason Guv Brown wanted to stick his hand deeper in your pockets is to keep the CalSTRS system from collapsing on his watch. Most of the tax has gone to pay increases for State employees and so school districts would be able to take the money and pay increased CalSTRS contributions—money never to be seen in the classroom.

“California school districts, which owe almost $80 billion for general-obligation debt, will pay 70 percent of the $5.3 billion annual cost of Brown’s plan. Next fiscal year, the expense will absorb $347 million of the funding growth schools are guaranteed by law, or 13 percent, and the share won’t peak until 2020.

“The pain districts had to go through to survive to get where they are today is still at epic proportions,” said Steven Ladd, superintendent of Elk Grove Unified School District, with 62,000 students outside Sacramento.”

Your Prop. 30 money “in action.” Angry yet?

Jerry Brown

Brown Pinches Schools With California Teacher Pension Fix

By Michael B. Marois, Bloomberg, 5/22/14

California is flush with cash amid a recovering economy, and pinched public schools are starting to collect money from a tax increase championed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Yet the state’s superintendents may still have some lean days ahead, after going through years of cost-cutting brought on by the recession. They will see their responsibility for teacher pensions double within seven years under a plan the 76-year-old Democrat proposed to prop up the underfunded California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

California school districts, which owe almost $80 billion for general-obligation debt, will pay 70 percent of the $5.3 billion annual cost of Brown’s plan. Next fiscal year, the expense will absorb $347 million of the funding growth schools are guaranteed by law, or 13 percent, and the share won’t peak until 2020.

“The pain districts had to go through to survive to get where they are today is still at epic proportions,” said Steven Ladd, superintendent of Elk Grove Unified School District, with 62,000 students outside Sacramento.

The state’s fifth-largest district, Elk Grove cut expenses by $110 million in the past five years. The higher contribution rates that the governor recommends will add to payroll and benefits costs that already exceed $400 million a year, out of a $583 million budget.

Hopeful Districts

“School districts were hopeful that there might be some additional funding to offset some of those needs,” Ladd said.

California’s $183 billion teacher’s pension is the second-biggest public retirement fund in the U.S. The fund has $74 billion less than it needs to pay promised benefits after investment losses from the recession that ended in 2009. At current funding levels, the fund projects it will run out of money in three decades, at which point taxpayers will be on the hook to pay those benefits. The expense equaled 10 percent of the state’s almost $97 billion general fund last year.

Brown and lawmakers are under pressure to erase a gap that is growing by $22 million a day and accounts for 22 percent of the state’s long-term liabilities, including health-care costs and budget loans. The governor, with the help of teacher unions, raised taxes temporarily in 2012 to generate about $7 billion annually, promising that the money would head off cuts to schools.

Teachers’ Needs

School districts will see their annual contribution to the pension fund double to 19.1 percent of payrolls from 8.25 percent. That’s $3.7 billion more each year by 2020, in addition to the $2.2 billion they are already paying.

“This is what it takes to educate our kids,” Brown told reporters May 13. “The pension has to be paid for.”

Brown is willing to let school districts ease into the higher rates over seven years. He says that economic projections show that constitutionally guaranteed funding for public schools will rise an estimated $11 billion by 2018.

Fitch Ratings said this month that the cost of Brown’s teacher pension plan could pressure school budgets if the economy slumps after the temporary sales and income-tax increases expire by 2018, especially if new spending mandates exceed revenue growth or crowd out other expenditures.

“It seems like we had shored things up and were moving forward and the districts were finally getting their houses in order,” said Kelly Wine, executive vice president at RH Investment Corp., a bond-trading company in Encino, California. “This sounds like it’s going to be quite a hit.”

Debt Burden

California schools owe about $77.4 billion on general-obligation debt, data compiled by Bloomberg show. They have voter approval to issue another $37.5 billion according to the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission, a unit of the treasurer’s office.

With benchmark municipal interest rates at 11-month lows, investors can find extra yield on the school bonds.

General obligations issued by Long Beach Unified School District and maturing in August 2029 have traded this year with an average yield about 1.7 percentage points above benchmark munis, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Moody’s Investors Service rates the tax-free bonds Aa2, third highest.

Unlike other government workers and employees of private companies, teachers don’t pay into or collect social security benefits when they retire. The average teacher pension in California is about $47,000 a year, according to Calstrs, as the pension fund is known.

Pain Distribution

Teachers share the pain under Brown’s plan. Along with other school employees, they would contribute 10.25 percent of their paycheck within three years, instead of the current 8 percent. The state would boost its contribution to 6.3 percent from 3 percent by July 2016. California also will continue to pay an additional 2.5 percent annually for inflation protection.

“The frustration is really understandable,” said Bob Blattner, a Sacramento-based consultant who helps districts with their finances. “For five years, the education system has been starving and now when they finally get to the front of the line, somebody elbows their way in front.”

Calstrs administers pension and health-care benefits for almost 870,000 people, or about 2 percent of state residents.

Payout Plan

Employees and school districts each paid a little more than $2 billion into the fund last fiscal year, while the state shelled out $1.3 billion. The fund paid out about $11.5 billion in benefits last year.

Unlike the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which at $291 billion is the nation’s biggest, the teachers fund’s governing board isn’t permitted to raise contribution rates when investment returns sag. Only lawmakers can do that. The rate hasn’t changed for employees since 1972, and for school districts in more than two decades.

“We are concerned about the size of the increase,” said Dennis Meyers, assistant executive director of government relations for the California School Boards Association. “Districts were expecting to invest in programs, invest in kids and close achievement gaps and this added cost does nothing to do that.”