VIDEO: James Lacy — Why CA Gas Prices Remain Sky-High

James Lacy, author of Taxifornia, explains to Fox Business’ Stuart Varney how CA’s over-the-top environmental regulations cause the state’s gas prices to soar above the rest of the nation.

 

Why is California voter participation so demonstrably low?

VotedSure, it’s been more than half a year since California’s last statewide election. But Californians’ remarkable failure to participate still deserves some attention today as we start focusing on the 2016 elections. In last November’s midterm Congressional election, the largest state in the nation had about the lowest voter participation of any state in the country. Hardly more than 42 percent of California’s registered voters bothered to mail-in their ballots in the conveniently provided pre-addressed envelopes, or even show up at the polls. This dismal voter participation was even worse than voter disinterest in one of the state’s other previous bad showings in 2002 when just over 50 percent of participants elected Gray Davis, the Democrat, over the GOP’s Bill Simon. In neighboring Oregon, voter participation in the November 2014 election at 69.5 percent was more than half again by percentage the level of participation of California voters in the same election.

Why is California voter participation so demonstrably low? Some pundits have offered that last year’s election was not a presidential election when voter interest would be higher and that popular Governor Jerry Brown, who was on the ballot, was destined to cruise to a big victory over feeble Republican opponent Neel Kashkari anyway, thus lessening voter interest. Democrats have a big political registration edge in the state, control every statewide elective office, and have near two-thirds control of both Houses of the state Legislature. And even with low voter turnout, the state bucked the national trend in which the GOP picked up seats in Congress, and Californians who did vote actually expanded the number of Democratic Congressional seats in Washington, D.C., from California by two (though improving GOP representation in the state Legislature just above the critical 33 percent needed to thwart tax-increases).

Yet a recent Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll reveals that more Californians, by 46 percent to 45 percent, think their state is headed in the the wrong direction rather than the right direction.

One reason for low voter turnout, and even for failures of the GOP to have made more gains in California in the November 2014 election, could be a failure to give voters a really good reason to turnout and feel their vote will be counted and make a difference. There are after all plenty of GOP and middle-of-the-road, independent voters in the state, as the same PPIC poll says 65 percent of CA voters are center/right, with conservatives, at 35 percent, having the plurality. An earnest young political consultant might conclude these voters just need to be contacted and given a good reason to get fired-up to change the results of many elections in the state.

One election where better voter turnout, perhaps by more focus on core GOP voters who sat on the sidelines and who didn’t get inspired enough to vote might have made a difference was the 52nd Congressional District race in conservative San Diego County. Just four years ago this seat was represented in Congress by Republican Brian Bilbray. But a Democrat won the seat in 2012 and the Republican challenger in 2014 was Carl DeMaio, a former member of the San Diego city council who had lost a close race for Mayor of San Diego. Unfortunately, DeMaio’s campaign became embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal, some key aspects of which were found to have been manufactured against him. Scott Peters, the incumbent Democrat who was thought to be vulnerable in the GOP sweep in other states, ended up winning the election with 51.6 percent, to DeMaio’s 48.4 percent.

Yet a key factor in DeMaio’s loss was low voter turnout. At 49 percent, according to the California Target Book, some observers believe that if DeMaio’s campaign could have brought out the same level of base voter participation as even the lopsided victory of fellow Republican, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, (about 56 percent), if the campaign not seen the scandal in the press, and had the campaign perhaps redirected resources to simply inspire baseline Republicans to do their public duty and come out to vote in larger numbers, the result could have been quite different, a GOP victory. According to the Target Book’s analysis, voter turnout in the 49th Congressional District where Darrell Issa cruised to a lop-sided 60 percent victory was 47 percent. One need not have a political science degree to understand that voter turnout in the 52nd race was not remarkably different given all the political spending and emphasis of Republicans to win the race; and that many GOP voters had to just pass on making a vote in the race. This observer believes that the problem was a failure to give more focus on peer-to-peer direct-voter contact with core Republicans, and this issue might have repeated itself in several of the other close Congressional races the GOP lost in California in 2014. Hard-core Republican voters were just not given a compelling or convincing reason to vote in the numbers needed to win the races, and especially in the 52nd, which was a winable seat.

Even with comparatively lower registrations in California for Republicans than Democrats, the GOP has great opportunity to win elections in the state and bring reform in the current generally apathetic low voter turn-out environment. A few victories could help Republicans grow in numbers. Voters are truly unhappy with the direction liberal Democratic leaders are taking the state, and if the GOP can better seize on ideas, candidates, strategies and tactics that really motivate conservative and middle-of-the-road voters to return their millions of empty ballot, they can win. Will they?

This article is cross-posted by the Flash Report

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Stars and Bars’ Problem

hillary-clinton-biopics-cancelled-ftrWhen it comes to the confederate flag, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has smugly added that she “has always” been in favor of taking it down in South Carolina.

Yet as first lady of Arkansas, we heard not a peep of concern about the prominent rebel “stars and bars” symbolism of that southern state’s official flag that flew on her official residence grounds in Little Rock while husband Bill was governor.

And a good question for Hillary today, is that if she “has always” favored taking down South Carolina’s relic of the Civil War, what about all the same rebel symbolism embodied in her own Arkansas flag that flew on her own official residence lawn? Shouldn’t it also be banned, for the same reasons as in South Carolina, to combat divisiveness?

There is no question that the Arkansas state flag is intended, by its symbols, to “commemorate the Confederate States of America.” In fact, then Gov. Bill Clinton signed a law in 1987 that says so, designating a special star on the flag for that exact purpose.

Hillary Clinton may have objections to Confederate sympathies in state flags still flying in South Carolina or Mississippi, but what makes Arkansas an exception and why has she never had anything to say about it?

Hillary, should the state flag of Arkansas, which can be seen as just as offensive to African Americans and other minorities who have been subject to racism as the Confederate battle flag of South Carolina, also be banned? Voters need to know.

Especially in culturally diverse and deeply blue states like California, perplexed voters will need to understand from Hillary Clinton why the South Carolina flag must come down but the Arkansas flag’s Confederate roots draws no comment from her.

California voters are the most unlikely in the nation to understand Hillary’s silence and see honor in the distinction between the “southern valor” that “stars and bars” supporters urge their flags represent in contrast to the general negative perception of slavery and racism more commonly associated with the rebel flag.

These voters are becoming the most diverse ethnic conglomeration in the nation, and include Latinos, who now compromise the largest ethnic group in the state at 39 percent, non-Hispanic whites at about 38 percent, and Asians, with over 14 percent of the population. There are two times more Latinos and Asians in California by percentage than in the entire United States. About 7 percent of Californians are black. Overwhelmingly, Californian’s “voting cues” gleaned by the entire state let alone the 60 percent of the state that represent minority groups who have experienced racism, are simply not connected to some sort of sympathy to the rebel cause when they see a Confederate flag.

In view of the tragedy in Charleston, it is now inescapable that Hillary’s opponents will raise her failure to object and indeed passively embrace the Confederate symbolism in Arkansas as an issue in the campaign. Even deeply blue California, with the most electoral votes in the nation, and its voters, are hardly going to accept a voting cue that the Confederate flag is bad for South Carolina but good for Arkansas just because Hillary Clinton has nothing to say about it.

Originally published by the Blaze

VIDEO: CA drought a result of environmentalist priorities

“Taxifornia” author James V. Lacy explains to Fox’s Stuart Varney that CA’s water scarcity is a result of misplaced environmental priorities.

 

VIDEO: California’s drought a man-made crisis?

In this appearance of Fox Business’ Varney and Co., “Taxifornia” author James Lacy argues the California drought is a man-made issue.

Scott Walker Strongly Leads GOP Presidential Candidates in New California Poll

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, has a strong lead by a statistically significant margin in a new statewide poll ofScottWalker 600 likely Republican voters in California’s June 7, 2016 presidential primary election conducted over this last weekend by Landslide Communications.

When matched with 15 other possible candidates for the Republican nomination for President, Walker wins 20% of likely GOP voter’s support in the Golden State. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush follow distantly but closely matched with 10.7% and 10.5% of the vote, respectively.  Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas receives 7.3%, followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at 5.8%.  Florida Senator Marco Rubio has 5.2% and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has 4.7%.  Other candidates finish with lower percentages and there is 17% undecided.

When the field is narrowed to just 8 candidates, (dropping Carson and other candidates who have shown lower levels of support in national polls), Walker keeps and slightly improves his lead with 23%, Jeb Bush improves to 13.8%, Mike Huckabee rises to 11%, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz doubles his support to 8.3%.  Huckabee and Cruz appear to benefit most from Carson being excluded. Florida Senator Marco Rubio takes fifth place with 7.8% of the vote.

Carly Fiorina, who, along with Sarah Palin, are the only ones of the possible Presidential candidates who have actually appeared on the ballot in California, receives 1.7% of the vote in the full field of 16 candidates tested, (Palin receives 3.8%), and when the field is reduced to just 8 candidates, excluding Palin, Fiorina’s support improves to 3.2% of the vote, however, she finishes last among the group tested.  Undecided voters increase to 20.2% for the narrowed field of candidates.

“Walker’s lead in both the full candidate field and narrowed matchups is strong, and statistically significant even though it may surprise some observers,” said James V. Lacy of Landslide Communications, who wrote the questions and commissioned the poll.  According to NSON Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll interviews, the margin of error in the poll is +/- 4% at a 95% confidence level statewide. Accordingly, Walker’s lead exceeds and is well above the margin of error in the poll. The voter file used in the poll, and the turnout model for the 2016 Republican Presidential primary, to be held on June 7, 2016, was provided by Political Data, Inc. More details on how the poll was constructed and its mechanics appear later in this release.

A total of 172 delegates to the Republican National Convention are up for grabs in the 2016 California primary election, more than 7% of all delegates who will decide the next Republican Presidential nominee.

Landslide Communication’s California Poll of Republican Presidential Preferences of likely Republican voters in the 2016 primary election is being conducted well over a year before the actual election.  Of course, caution should be taken in considering the poll results. Much can happen in a vigorous election campaign over the next year: new candidates can join the race, others can drop out, and voter attitudes can change. Nevertheless, it is clear from the poll that Scott Walker has acquired a statistically significant and leading level of support among GOP voters in California at this early stage, well before actual campaigning has gotten underway.

Poll Frequencies, NSON Opinion Research’s Summary, and Demographic Cross Tabs are available for download at the end of this article.

Further Details on Landslide’s California Poll appear below.

 California’s importance in 2016 Presidential election to Republicans:

California is a decidedly “blue” state in which Democratic Governor Jerry Brown recently won re-election by over one million votes, bucking a national trend that favored Republicans.  And a Republican candidate for President has not won the state of California since 1988.

However, because California is the largest state in the union by population, with 53 Congressional districts, California has a very large delegation up for grabs for GOP presidential contenders at the next Republican National Convention.

There will likely be a total of 2,461 delegates at the 2016 GOP Convention. See http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/R-Alloc.phtml. California should be allotted 172 of those delegates, about 7% of the total. Of California’s delegates, 10 are awarded to the candidate who wins the statewide vote. In addition, a candidate who finishes first in any one of California’s 53 Congressional districts is awarded 3 delegates. The state party chairman and two national committee members are also delegates.  The winning margin at the Republican National Convention will be 1,230 delegates. Theoretically, a candidate who could sweep California’s Republican Presidential primary election could count on the state to deliver just over 14% of the total delegates needed for victory.

List of Presidential contenders in poll:

Poll participants were read a randomized list of candidates to choose from. The initial poll question tests a list of 16 Republican presidential contenders. The candidate list was derived with reference to 15 potential candidates appearing on the Real Clear Politics website. Landslide then added John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, to the initial question list, to make 16 total candidate names read to participants.

A follow-up question narrows the field to 8 Republican contenders.  The follow-up list was derived by including the top seven contenders on the Real Clear Politics national presidential poll average after excluding Ben Carson (see http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html), and then adding Carly Fiorina. The second question is intended to narrow the field to the most likely candidates to advance in the presidential primaries, and Fiorina is added because she is the only potential Republican Presidential candidate who has actually been on a ballot in California.

Poll questions:

The poll questions were prepared by James V. Lacy, Managing Partner of Landslide Communications, Inc.  Landslide is one of the largest producers of election slate mail in California. Lacy is the author of the book “Taxifornia” available at Amazon.com, and is a frequent guest commentator on California issues on Fox Business News Channel’s “Varney & Company.” Lacy is also an election law and nonprofit organization attorney through his law firm, Wewer & Lacy, LLP, and is a recipient of the American Association of Political Consultant’s “Pollie” Award. Lacy is not associated with any Presidential campaign. Landslide Communications, Inc., has a history of conducting occasional polls in California, most recently in the 52nd Congressional District race between incumbent Scott Peters and Republican challenger Carl DeMaio.

Interview list:

The list used to make the calls was based on a sophisticated, representative election turn-out model for likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election prepared by Political Data, Inc., located in Norwalk, a respected source of voter files.

To account for a slight bias in the delegate selection process that awards a small “bonus” pool of delegates based on the statewide result, the interview list was balanced for region by Board of Equalization District, with the two more Republican leaning BOE districts of four having marginally more interviews reflected in the statewide total than average, to most accurately reflect the opinion of California’s Republican population

Interviews and data compilation:

The poll questions were completed by 600 likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election based on Political Data’s model. The sample size is considered large enough by NSON Opinion Strategy, a respected strategic public opinion research company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, to offer statistical significance in outcome, with +/- 4% margin of error at a 95% confidence level statewide. Telephone survey interviews were conducted statewide from Thursday, February 5 through Monday, February 9, by NSON Opinion Strategy.

See NSON Opinion Strategy’s Poll Summary here: 16′ CA GOP Presidential Primary Poll

See Poll Frequencies here: CA Rep Pres Primary – Frequencies

See Poll Crosstab Tables here: CA Rep Pres Primary – Crosstab Tables

IRS May Force Tom Brady to Pay $24K for SB MVP Truck

Tom Brady wants to give the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado truck he won as the MVP of Super Bowl 49 to game-winning hero Malcolm Butler, but the Internal Revenue Service is going to make him pay for that act of gratitude.

Brady told WEEI Radio’s Dennis and Callahan Show on Tuesday he’s “going to figure out how to make that [giving the truck to Butler] work.”

As the more than 100 million Americans who watched the New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl 49 saw with their own eyes, reserve defensive back Butler’s interception of a Russell Wilson pass at the Patriots one yard line with less than a minute to go in the game sealed the victory.

But Brady’s gracious gesture is going to cost him when he files his 2015 taxes, and the Internal Revenue Service is eager to collect.

As first reported by Americans for Tax Reform, Brady will already have to pay taxes on the fair market value of the truck, which sells for at least $34,000. Under Section 74 of the IRS code, that amount is considered a “taxable prize.” It is therefore taxable at Brady’s marginal tax rate.

With an estimated net worth of $120 million and more than $9 million in 2015 earnings from his football contract alone (endorsements certainly will add to that number), Brady’s marginal income tax rate for 2015 is likely to be the highest rate of 39.6%, making his tax liability on the truck–before he gives it to Butler as a gift–about $15,600.

What many Americans probably did not know until Americans for Tax Reform reported on it this week, is that gifts (other than those for school tuition and a few other items) are taxable, not to the recipient, but to the giver.

“Brady definitely has a gift tax issue here as the fact of his intention as a gift is clear,” non-profit and gift tax attorney James V. Lacy, author of the 2014 book Taxifornia, told Breitbart News.

“If Butler takes possession Brady will be liable for federal tax for the value above the exclusion,” Lacy said.

In 2014, the amount excluded and not subject to the gift tax was $14,000. In theory, then, Brady would have to pay an additional tax (beyond the $15,600 paid on the “income” of the truck) equal to his marginal tax rate (39.6%) multiplied by the fair market value of the truck above the exclusion, or $20,000 ($34,000 -$14,000). That tax totals about $8,000.

Brady’s total tax liability related to the truck, then, would increase from about $15,600 if he keeps it for himself, to about $23,600 if he gives it to Malcolm Butler.

But hold on. Tax attorneys familiar with the law may be able to cut Brady’s tax bill a bit.

“Working in Brady’s favor is that fact that a Chevy truck like all new cars depreciates greatly in value as soon as it is bought or in this case is received by Brady. His tax lawyer would likely be OK recommending representing to the IRS on Brady’s tax filing a depreciated value arrived at with reference to an independent widely accepted authority such as the Kelly Blue Book for a used Chevy Truck, same make and model, regardless of use or milage,” Lacy said.

In other words, though the fair market value of the new truck is estimated to be $34,000, the fact that Brady accepted the truck on Sunday means that it is already not new, and therefore has depreciated.

The accepted accounting rule-of-thumb that every new car loses 20% of its value the minute you drive it off the lot could help diminish Brady’s gift tax liability here. The truck, valued at $34,000 on Sunday, could be legitimately valued as low as $27,200 today.

Under that scenario, Brady’s gift tax liability would be reduced to $5,280 (39.6% multiplied by $27,200 minus $14,000).

Even with that lower gift tax, Brady would still be hurt financially for giving the truck to Butler rather than keeping it. Instead of paying $15,600 for the truck, his new tax bill would be $20,880

Tax attorneys might offer Brady an option that could reduce his tax burden even further.

“Of course if he took possession in his own name, didn’t announce he was giving it to Butler, and just loaned the truck to Butler for awhile there would be no tax event,” Lacy said.

That approach might not work out so well for Brady, however, if Butler were to have an accident in the truck and some or all of the liability for that accident reverted to Brady as the owner of the truck.

It’s hard to see the public benefit that arises from penalizing Tom Brady for giving his truck to Malcolm Butler, but the IRS and some current and former members of Congress think it’s a sound policy.

Lacy disagrees.

“The law arises from the same type of thinking that generational transfers of wealth such as the death tax are good things for society. Personally, I completely disagree with the logic because in both cases someone has already paid taxes on the income,” Lacy told Breitbart News.

“There is an old adage,” Lacy added, “that the only certain things in life are death and taxes. But people should not be taxed to death. Gift taxes, like estate taxes, are really penalty taxes on transfers of wealth that have already been taxed.”

“Double taxation.” Lacy concluded,”is simply not a fair way to raise government revenue, it causes hardship particularly regarding family businesses, and the practice needs to be reformed and ideally eliminated.”

That’s a sentiment with which both Tom Brady and Malcom Butler might well agree.

VIDEO: CA Law Driving Egg Prices Higher?

“Taxifornia” author James Lacy explains to Fox Business’s Stuart Varney how a California law could drive up the prices of eggs. Also discussed is the state’s potential mileage fee for drivers.

VIDEO: CA Spending $33 Million to Remove Birds from Bridge

“Taxifornia” author James Lacy discusses the massive sums of money California is spending to remove birds from blocking Bay Bridge.

Jerry Brown Sold Out

Jerry Brown, the one-time progressive icon who palled around with paladins of the progressive movement like Noam Chomsky, has sold out.

Corporate sell-out might be the worst possible insult to any radical activist, but especially to a former bleeding-heart liberal who famously urged his father to spare the life of a man on death row. Yet, it’s an entirely accurate way to describe Brown’s political transformation from liberal icon to big-money politician. And, although he’s going to easily cruise to re-election in just a week or so, Brown’s victory, funded by the big corporations liberals love to hate, should serve as a devastating blow to the “ethos” (meaning “character” in Greek) of the progressive movement.

Just two decades ago, when Brown was campaigning for the White House, he swore off big money, or what he described as “the money-media system of control.”

“Having been so much a part of that system, I had not fully grasped the radical dominance of politics by the top one percent and the complicit role of the media,” Brown wrote in the early-1990s. “All this became clear once I swore off donations above $100 and refused to attend the sacred rite of end-less political fund raising with the wealthy.”

This year, Brown’s eschewed public events have relied exclusively on “the sacred rite of end-less political fund raising with the wealthy.” According to state campaign finance disclosure reports, Brown hauled in more than $17 million directly into his reelection campaign account. More than 500 contributions to Brown’s campaign are for $10,000 or more. Just 120 checks are valued at $100 or less. The average contribution to Brown’s campaign, $15,404, is owed largely to the max-out checks from a “who’s who” of the 1 percent.

There’s more than $300,000 from energy companies, including $54,400 from Chevron, $27,200 from Occidental Petroleum, $25,000 from Phillips 66 and $10,000 Exxon Mobil. Add $373,000 from gambling interests and another $300,000 from financial firms and insurance companies, both of which liberals criticize for profiting from the poor. Brown has cashed $27,200 checks from both Coke and Pepsi, or as progressives describe them, the “Big Soda” industry that causes diabetes.

At one time, Brown decried the “Disneyfication of existence.” Disney’s family-friendly entertainment was, in Brown’s view, all a ruse to “create a perfect, corporate reality” where the masses could be “infantilized and soothed.” But the last year alone, Brown has taken home $53,900 in political contributions from the Mickey Mouse evil-empire.

“Money buys media,” Brown used to say, “media buys credibility.” To buy even more media, Brown has turned to millions of dollars in unrestricted campaign contributions to his ballot measure campaign committee. Among the checks to Brown’s initiative committee: $100,000 from tobacco company Philip Morris, $25,000 from oil company Phillips 66, and $100,000 from corporate titan Wal-Mart.

Don’t worry, big labor hasn’t been excluded from the party. The California Teachers Association has supplied $3.7 million to the initiative account under Brown’s control — with $100,000 from the Teamsters and $125,000 from the International Union of Operating Engineers just for good measure.

Brown has spent that money on ads supporting Propositions 1 & 2, which conveniently feature Governor Jerry Brown. Although the ads don’t use the magic words “vote for Brown,” they help construct Brown’s myth of the “California comeback.” In Brown’s words, “When you have a large society you have to… have a certain mythology, you have to prop up the privilege.”

With his mythology as savior of the state intact, Brown has propped up the privilege by handing out special tax breaks to defense contractors, “green” car companies, and Hollywood studios, all while raising taxes on the poor and working class. During Brown’s tenure, California has led the nation in poverty – with 8.9 million people living in poverty. Nearly a quarter of the state lives in the poverty under the leadership of a man who once worked alongside Mother Teresa to help aid the poor.

It all must be quite devastating for true liberals like Noam Chomsky. Brown abandoned progressivism and went corporate. If Jerry can sell out, is there any hope for the progressive movement?

This piece was originally published on The Blaze.

James V. Lacy is the author of “Taxifornia: Liberals’ Laboratory to Bankrupt America.”