Jim Lacy on Jim Acosta’s rudeness, midterm election results, and more – VIDEO on Weekend Breakfast

In this video airing on Saturday, November 10 on Australian Broadcasting Corporation, California Political Review publisher Jim Lacy comments on CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s rudeness at a recent White House press conference, the meaning of the midterm elections, and more.

 

 

Gavin Newsom and Impending Tax Increases

Gavin newsomIn his successful campaign for governor Gavin Newsom promised to advance a number of programs like universal pre-school, health care for all and education that will be costly. Where does he get the money while also considering how to reform the state’s tax system?

Shortly after the election, fellow Democrats, including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon are also talking tax increases.

If the Democrats secure the two-thirds supermajority in the legislature required to raise taxes—which appears likely at this time—the foundation will be in place for tax increases.

In a state notable for decades as the home of tax resisters, there are signs that voters may not object. In the last few statewide elections voters have raised income and sales taxes and rejected repeal of gas taxes and extending property tax breaks.

On the local level, voters continually vote to raise numerous taxes.

How many more tax increases are in the future and where will Newsom draw the line?

Is Newsom planning on confronting Proposition 13 when the split roll appears on the 2020 ballot—a position his predecessor, Jerry Brown, avoided?

Newsom is already listening to Senator Bob Hertzberg, re-elected Tuesday, to consider an overhaul of the entire tax system that would include some form of service taxes. If Newsom wants to spend political capital on such an ambitious effort it would likely come soon.

However, Newsom has said such an effort would take time. Look for another tax reform committee to be formed—which would be the fourth such committee over the last 20 years.

Or the incoming governor could rely on Hertzberg’s connection with Nicolas Berggreun’s Think Long Committee to do the heavy lifting on formulating a tax reform plan….or cut an overall tax package deal in the legislature that could include a move on commercial property taxes.

Another question: Will tax reform venture into the difficult area of spending issues, particularly the cost of pensions?

And what happens if the economy turns sour? Are all bets off on reform…or is that the time to go for it considering California’s current tax structure was birthed in the gloom of the Great Depression.

Look for early signs on tax questions in the budget and official announcements from the governor’s office.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Signs of Hope in California?

CapitolRonald Reagan is not coming back, but California may be avoiding a trip to the insane asylum. Yes, the GOP’s lackluster gubernatorial candidate, John Cox, lost by almost 20 points, and the only issue in the legislature is whether the Democrats regain their supermajority in both houses. But it could have been much worse.

The GOP lost only two or three congressional districts in southern California and appeared to be holding its own in the interior. In my own district, to my surprise, Mimi Walters, who was out-campaigned and outspent, managed to win. Others, like the more contentious Dana Rohrabacher, did not.

Without a change in approach, Republican growth potential is limited by changing demographics and an increasingly bifurcated state economy. At best, the GOP, running on its traditional anti-tax platform, can get up near 45 percent—as shown in the failed repeal of the gas tax, Proposition 6—but no further. This strategy still works marginally in places like Orange County and the interior but fails overall.

In a sense, California elections are now about how far left the state is willing to go. Proposition 10, a measure to expand rent control, was soundly defeated by a massive ad campaign targeting homeowners fearful of seeing curbs on the prices that they could charge to rent their homes. The outcome suggests that if the business community appeals to the middle-class without the Trumpian baggage, voters will support more moderate positions. Perhaps even more important was the victory of Marshall Tuck, a Democrat running with Republican support for Superintendent of Education against the candidate of the teachers’ union. But the limits of moderation are always evident.  Steve Poizner, a registered Republican running for State Insurance Commissioner, appears to be falling behind Ricardo Lara, a far-left Democrat best known for leading the fight for single-payer health care.

Despite improved earnings by lower-wage workers, Republicans remain in serious trouble in Latino and African-American communities. Simply put, a competitive California needs a racial realignment that adds to the shrinking base of white GOP voters. The best target for that goal is the Asian community, the state’s fastest-growing and arguably most successful ethnic group. Asians may be repelled by Trump’s immigration rhetoric, but they tend to be middle-class homeowners who care about schools and safety, and they won’t be happy if the Democrats move further left in terms of seizing zoning policy from communities or feeding the public sector with ever more middle-class taxes.

Southern California Republicans have worked hard to appeal to Asian voters; there are three Asian-American assembly members, two state senators, and three supervisors (out of five total), all Republicans. A highlight yesterday was the election of Young Kim in a northern Orange County congressional district. Asians now make up about 20 percent of Orange County residents, and Asian Republicans are common. They seem to be able to win in districts where Trump is unpopular. It’s hard to run on a racism charge against someone born in Incheon.

The question is where this potential white-Asian alliance is going. Michelle Steele, the politically aggressive supervisor in Orange County, where the board is majority-Asian, is considering a run for statewide office. If Republicans can pull Asians away from the Democrats, at least at the local level, they could restore a semblance of political competition in the state.

In the years ahead, the most important struggle in California will be within the Democratic Party. Two distinct factions increasingly predominate. One, close to the tech community, adopts the gender, environmental, and race agenda of the Left, but rejects income redistribution and is congenitally hostile to unions. Voters in this group tended to back Tuck for education superintendent, and many supported Poizner for insurance commissioner, but they remained cool to Cox’s gubernatorial bid.

The other, now-ascendant faction, comes from the hard Left, and is backed by public-employee unions, nurses, and other service providers. Their constant campaigning—particularly in the face of gross inequality in the Bay Area—has begun to reach the tech hoi polloi. As recent protests at Google suggest, the hard Left may not be ready to embrace the edicts of “the Brahmin Left,” which is fundamentally devoted to looking progressive while preserving, to use the Left’s terminology, their distinct, mostly white and male, privilege. Silicon Valley oligarchs, who have often funded “woke” activists in their native Bay Area, now face being awakened themselves by rising demands for “social justice.”

California’s Left today is not like that of the past. It is not interested in building usable infrastructure, meeting the aspirations of working- or middle-class families, or creating middle-skill jobs. These are exceedingly difficult tasks if you also want to adopt the state’s draconian green agenda. The new Left’s solutions to state problems, like housing, tend toward ideas like turning single-family neighborhoods into “vibrant” (read: crowded) apartment blocks, boosting housing subsidies, and imposing rent control.

Donald Trump’s presence in the White House and the GOP’s control of the Senate creates real problems for California. Under Barack Obama, greens could hope that the rest of the country would follow the California lead. But for the next two years, at least, other states will be busily picking off companies and individual talent eager to escape California’s high prices and regulatory restraints. As a result, the feudalization of the state will proceed, necessitating ever-more expansive subsidies for everything from housing and energy to education. The demographics certainly are in place for a potential lurch leftward. Proposition 10, for example, may have lost the votes of home-owning Democrats, but it was widely backed by their children, who have little choice, if they stay in the state, but to remain renters for life.

Ultimately, California’s battles over rent control — as well as single-payer health care, restrictions on driving, and expanding racial and gender quotas — will only intensify. These policies can be implemented only with huge tax increases, in a state that already imposes one of the highest taxation rates in the country. (Single-payer alone could double the state budget.) Silicon Valley may hold the purse strings and, increasingly, the means of communication, but the California that it has helped shape may soon choose other priorities besides virtue-signaling while the super-rich get still richer.

Will California Blue Wave Lead to Insolvency Faster?

However, California is another story, remaining as blue as can be, and headed right into insolvency. In the contest for governor, California voters chose Democratic politician Gavin Newsom over Republican businessman John Cox, who is not a politician.

California goes ‘Full Nuthouse’ as my friend Leslie Eastman reports at Legal Insurrection. In addition to electing Newsom, Eastman points out voters rejected a repeal of the gas tax, and says, “a majority of Californians are thrilled that Sacramento will squander more of their money.”

A friend pointed out “California is a state where everyone bitches about how poor they are and how they need rent control, and yet constantly vote to raise their taxes every chance they get. The voters of this state have never seen a tax increase or bond measure they didn’t love.”

Brilliant.

Californians also re-elected long-time incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, rejecting Democratic State Senator Kevin de Leon (Los Angeles). Dumb and dumber was the choice there.

There were some surprises as well. California Democrats flipped three Republican districts: Rep. Steve Knight, (CA-25th District) lost to Democrat Katie Hill, Republican Diane Harkey lost Rep.Darrell Issa’s 49th District to Democrat Mike Levin, and Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher lost his race in the  48th District to Democrat Harley Rouda.

In statewide races, it appears Marshall Tuck has beat Assemblyman Tony Thurmond in the race for Schools Superintendent. Tuck is a real reformer. “Tuck made a name for himself in Los Angeles turning around high-poverty, low-performing charter schools before then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recruited him to improve schools within the conventional public school system,” the San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board said in their endorsement of Tuck. “Marshall Tuck is the clearest and most emphatic voice for reform in the field.”

Democrat State Senator Ricardo Lara and Steve Poizner appear in a near tie for Insurance Commissioner.

California’s Legislative Democrats appear poised to regain their supermajority in the state Senate and retain the supermajority in the Assembly.

Democrat Assemblywoman Anna Caballero beat Republican Rob Poythress in the race to succeed outgoing Republican Sen. Anthony Cannella in the Central Valley 12th Senate District.

Incumbent Republican State Senator Andy Vidak surprisingly lost his reelection against Democrat Melissa Hurtado in Senate District 14.

“Picking up both seats would give Democrats 28 seats in the Senate and restore the supermajority they lost in June when voters recalled Josh Newman of Fullerton,” sacbee.com reported.

The ballot initiatives were another surprise. Proposition 3, the water bond, was thankfully defeated. “With millions of dollars of unspent water bond money from 2006 and 2014 water bonds, why is there yet another a water bond on today’s June Primary ballot, and another on the November ballot?” I wrote in June 2018.

Proposition 5 was defeated, which would have allowed homeowners age 55 and older to sell their current homes, purchase a replacement property anywhere in the state and transfer the property tax assessment from the home they sold to the home they bought. The opposition lied and claimed that the state would have lost millions of dollars if Prop. 5 passed. Not so – Prop. 5 would have encouraged empty-nesters to sell their large family homes and downsize without being penalized. And it would have meant more money with the sale to the new owners.

Proposition 6, the gas tax repeal was also defeated – California’s high gas taxes and high car registration fees will remain. Sadly. Prop. 6 would have also amended the state constitution to require voter approval of all future increases in fuel and vehicle taxes or fees.

Proposition 8, which would have authorized State Regulation of Kidney Dialysis Clinics, was defeated. Thankfully.

Proposition 10, repeal of Costa-Hawkins, was defeated. Prop. 10 would have allowed state government to regulate rent, and would actually have created an even worse housing shortage in California.

Sacramento’s Measure U sales tax increase, a slush fund for greedy politicians, was passed by voters, despite that Sacramento city revenues are more than $120 million up from 2010, and up 16 percent in just the past two years.

Measure U doubles the 2012 half-cent sales tax increase and makes it permanent, raising Sacramento’s sales tax to 8.75 percent.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg and most of the members of City Council can’t or won’t be honest about their gross spending and particular taste for other people’s money. Despite promising to spend the Measure U tax increase money wisely, the additional $50 million will likely go straight to unfunded city pensions, which are expected to increase by $60 million a year and are projected to hit $129 million by 2022-23.

What is needed is spending discipline rather than continuing to pick the pockets of the taxpayers and business owners.

Buried at the end of the SacBee article on Measure U’s passage, is this little gem:

“Even with Measure U’s passage, the city’s budget is still projected to be in the red. The city deficit is estimated to be $7.6 million in fiscal year 2019-2020 and $28 million in 2022-23, according to the city budget. If Measure U had failed, the city’s deficit was projected to grow to $47.3 million in fiscal year 2019-2020, and to $80 million in 2022-23.”

Will California’s Blue Wave lead to insolvency faster?

Costa Mesa Republican Sen. John Moorlach’s fiscal report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities” finds 2/3 of California’s 944 School Districts bleed red ink. That report follows his March 2018 reports on the state’s 482 cities that found 2/3 of them in the red; of 58 counties, 55 suffered deficits and only three enjoyed positive balance sheets. His May 2018 report on the 50 U.S. states found only nine were financially healthy, with California ranked among the worst, in 42nd place.

There is only so much we faithful, native Californians can take. How much beautiful weather is worth this leftist insanity, and/or before this leftism turns into liberty crushing authoritarianism? Just sayin’ …

This article was originally published on the Flash Report

California Voters Decide to Keep Democrats’ Gas Tax Increase

Gas-Pump-blue-generic+flippedAmong numerous measures that went before the state’s voters Tuesday, Californians rejected a proposal to repeal a gasoline tax increase that was passed by the Legislature to fund road and transportation projects. Proposition 6 failed Tuesday after Democrats campaigned to preserve $5 billion a year to fix roads and improve transit.

The state’s Republicans sought to repeal hikes in fuel taxes and vehicle fees that are expected to fund $52 billion in transportation projects over a decade. Their plan also would have required voter approval for future gas tax hikes.

GOP lawmakers argued that California has grown too expensive and tax dollars need to be spent more wisely. They hoped the measure would help drive Republican voter turnout in contested state and congressional races.

“It’s about whether working families will be given some breathing room and whether we can address the high cost of living in California,” Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman who led the effort, told the Mercury News. “That’s real money.”

Democrats and construction industry and union leaders maintained the revenues are vital to upgrade California’s crumbling roads and bridges. …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News

How Gov. Jerry Brown Made Juvenile Criminals a Privileged Class

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 27: California Governor Jerry Brown announces his public employee pension reform plan October 27, 2011 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, California. Gov. Brown proposed 12 major reforms for state and local pension systems that he claims would end abuses and reduce taypayer costs by billions of dollars. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

On September 30, 2018, California governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1391, which bars prosecution of those as young as 14 as adults, whatever the gravity of their crimes. The next day, in Yolo County juvenile court, public defender Andrea Pelochino requested that Judge Samuel McAdam advance case JD-18-332—that of Daniel Marsh—to January 1, 2019, when SB 1391 would take effect. The request was unusual in that the offender was not on trial, because Marsh, 21, had already been tried, convicted, and sentenced for torturing, murdering, and mutilating Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, in their Davis home in April 2013. Marsh drew a sentence of 52 years to life, but with a possibility of parole in his early forties.

Two years into his sentence, Marsh caught a break. In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 57, also championed by Brown, which barred prosecutors from filing juvenile cases in adult courts. California’s Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 57 could be applied retroactively, and California’s Third Court of Appeals “conditionally reversed” Marsh’s conviction pending a “transfer hearing” to determine if he was suitable for adult court. If not, he would be released when he was 25, a prospect that Northup and Maupin’s surviving families found chilling. As Northup’s daughter Mary noted, that would amount to only nine years served, for two murders.

At the Donovan Correctional Center near San Diego, Marsh began to prepare for what amounted to a new trial, with no new exculpatory evidence. The burden of proof would be on the prosecution to show that he was suitable for adult court. “I see myself as a resilient, loyal and kind-hearted individual who may not always say the right thing but always means well,” Marsh said in a TED talk put up on YouTube in May, but since removed. He showed no remorse for the murders and portrayed himself as a victim of sexual abuse. “There is no such thing as evil people in this world,” Marsh explained, “only damaged people.” In effect, this was advance testimony for his hearing, with no possibility of cross-examination.

In a surprise move, attorneys put Marsh on the stand. “I’m not who I used to be,” the convicted killer claimed. Asked if he had anything to say to the families of the victims present in the courtroom, Marsh protested that “nothing I can say will be enough.” He continued: “I’m sorry I took them away from you. I’m sorry for the pain I caused you. I can’t give you the apology you deserve. I can’t look at you.” Indeed, he didn’t look at them, and the words came out as mechanical and soulless as those uttered by the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Marsh grew more animated when grilled on details of the crime. Asked if he identified as a murderer, he said “I did,” adding, “I tried to kill more people.” Did he research psychopaths? “I wanted to be one,” he answered. Did he research serial killers? “I wanted to be one. I admired them for killing people.” His testimony recalled the first police report, which said that the murders had been committed with “exceptional depravity.”

Last week, McAdam ruled Marsh suitable for adult court, reinstated the original conviction, and sent him back to prison. The ruling represented a triumph in California judicial history: a convicted double murderer and aspiring serial killer would serve his original sentence. Victims’ families found some relief, but with SB 1391 soon to become law, what lies ahead is uncertain. As McAdam conceded in his ruling, “it will soon be the law of California that even a 15-year-old who commits a brutal double murder of strangers in his neighborhood will be adjudicated in juvenile court and not adult court, without any weighing of factors.” And that could make Daniel Marsh, an exceptionally depraved double murderer, the poster child for California’s criminal-justice system after Jerry Brown.

Props 1, 2 Will Fail to Mitigate State Housing Crisis

Housing apartmentIt’s been two and a half years since Gov. Jerry Brown jolted the debate on California’s housing crisis by saying much more private-sector construction was the only realistic way to address the crisis, not the old Democratic recipe of building a relative handful of subsidized housing units that help a small percentage of those in need. “We’ve got to bring down the cost structure of housing and not just find ways to subsidize it,” he said in January 2017 in criticizing previous state policies.

Brown sought to make it much easier for home-builders to clear regulatory hurdles. In September 2017, Senate Bill 35 by Sen. Scott Weiner, D-San Francisco – which reflected the governor’s priorities – was enacted. It holds that cities could not put up new obstacles to projects with proper zoning so long as they contained at least 20 percent of units at lower price levels.

And in the last two months, Brown has signed a series of new housing measures with similar goals – most notablyAssembly Bill 2923, which will make it much easier for the Bay Area Rapid Transit authority to follow through with its plan to build 20,000 new housing units by 2040 on 250 acres BART owns nears its transit stations.

Legislature renews emphasis on subsidized housing

But when it comes to Tuesday’s election and major housing initiatives, it’s back to the old Democratic playbook. Both the key measures meant to increase housing – placed directly on the ballot by votes of the Legislature – involve government-subsidized construction.

Proposition 1 authorizes the issuance of $4 billion in general obligation bonds. The biggest chunk – $1.8 billion – would go toward building apartment-type residences. $1 billion would go to loans to veterans. Both infrastructure and homeownership programs would receive $450 million each. And $300 million would go to build housing for farm workers.

The official state voting guide’s analysis estimates that this will create access to housing for 55,500 families.

Proposition 2 would allow the state to divert funds from 2004’s Measure 63 – which generates about $2 billion a year for mental health programs from an income tax surcharge on the very wealthy – to pay back over 30 years up to $2 billion in bonds to build housing for the homeless and those at risk of being homeless.

The official state voting guide’s analysis doesn’t estimate how many people would gain housing as a result. But based on Proposition 1’s estimate that $1.8 billion could create about 30,000 apartment units, $2 billion should be able to provide around 33,000 units.

Bonds would fund 88,500 units; 2 million needed

The combined net effects of the two measures: providing housing to about 88,500 families over the life of the two bond measures in a state that a 2016 McKinsey consulting group report said has a shortage of 2 million housing units.

The small increases in housing that Proposition 1 and 2 would create are consistent with the criticisms that have been made of California’s state housing policies since at least 2003. That’s when the Public Policy Institute of California released a report that said affordable housing programs focused much more on establishing a process for such housing than on actual results. It said it was “unrealistic” to think such an approach could have a significant effect in increasing affordable housing.

No recent polling has been done on Propositions 1 and 2, but they’re widely expected to pass easily. That’s in keeping with the record of bonds placed directly on the ballot by the Legislature.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

The “California Miracle” Economy Is a Fantasy

EconomyDemocrats and their MSM allies have been touting California’s “miracle comeback” from the recession. They love to reference 2015 statistics – the SINGLE year when CA did quite well compared to the other states. But as we’ll see below, three things are apparent:

1. 2015 was an aberration.

2. Since 2105, CA has slipped back into its moribund economic performance that has become the norm in the Golden State.

3. By just about any metric, CA is doing less well than the majority of the other states. Too often a LOT less well.

California’s unemployment rate (September, 2018) has improved significantly this year. Yet we are now tied for 32nd – with a 4.1% unemployment rate. The national unemployment rate is 3.7%.  The CA unemployment rate is 12.5% higher than the average of the other 49 states.

It gets worse. Using the lagging yet arguably more accurate U-6 measure of unemployment (includes involuntary part-time workers), CA is the 5th worst – 9.2% vs. the national rate of 8.1%. The national U-6 not including CA is 8.0%, making CA’s U-6 15.7% higher than other states. Remember: The federal standard used to count a worker as “employed” is working ONE hour per week. CA is indeed the “gig economy.”

Another factor to consider: This past year the number of Californians in the work force (employed and unemployed) remained stagnant – essentially a zero net increase in our Golden State pool of workers. Meanwhile the national work pool grew 0.5%. With no increase in workers, our CA unemployment improvement appears better than it really is. If our work pool had grown at the national rate, we’d have a considerably higher unemployment rate.

Yes, the number of California jobs has grown these past 12 months.  But the average job growth in the other 49 states is more than TRIPLE the rate of California’s jobs growth.

But wait – California has the 5th largest economy in the world! Aren’t we doing great compared to the other states? Short answer: no.

Longer answer: CA is a huge state with a HUGE population — over 38%% more people than the second most populous state of Texas. And CA has an uber-HIGH cost of living. Based just on GDP, CA does indeed rank as the 5th largest economy in the world. But adjusted for population (per capita) and cost of living (using the “Missouri” COL index in the URL below), CA ranks lower than all but 13 U.S. states.

Stated differently, if one took the GDP of an aggregation of randomly selected states whose total population roughly equaled California’s 40,000,00 people, and adjusted for those states’ cost of living, then they would likely have the 5th largest economy in the world — if not higher!

Liberals love to denigrate Texas, a “backwater state” which supposedly can’t keep up with the California juggernaut. Sadly for progressives, facts prove them wrong.

In the report below, there’s a comparison of job growth by state from September 2017 to September 2018. California jobs grew 81,100. But TEXAS jobs grew 251,500. Soooo, even though CA has a population that’s 38.6% larger than Texas, the Lone Star State created over TRIPLE the number of jobs that CA produced. As a percent of population, CA ranks a dismal 37th in the percent of job growth compared to the other states. And BTW, the population of Texas is growing over TWICE as fast as CA – and has been for years.

Another disheartening fact: Since the start of the recession (September 2007), the predominant CA job growth above pre-recession levels has been in low paying occupations. The top three dominating occupations – with the job growth in excess of 2007 levels, and the average salary:

  • Food Service *** 350,000 *** $22,000
  • Health Care *** 340,000 *** $66,300
  • Social Assistance *** 305,000 *** $19,100

Moreover, four occupations have failed to gain back all the jobs lost since 2007. All four are in high paying industries:

  • Logging and mining: $116,300
  • Construction: $67,700
  • Finance and Insurance: $123,100
  • Manufacturing (worst hit): $92,900

 

Of course, no discussion of California’s economy is complete without considering California’s sky-high cost of living – and the resulting hardship on the poor – the folks that the Democrats supposedly care so passionately about. California’s real (“supplemental”) 2017 poverty rate (the new Census Bureau standard, adjusted for the COL) is still easily the worst in the nation at 19.0%. We are 43.9% higher than the average for the other 49 states. Texas is 14.7%. The CA poverty rate is 34.6% higher than Texas.

Here’s a thought: The median Texas household income is 13.5% less than CA. But adjusted for COL, Texas’ 2015 median household income is 29.3% more than CA.

If the progressives still feel compelled to tout California, perhaps they should boast about the Golden State’s homeless rate – easily tops on the nation. Maybe they DO love the poor – and that’s why they produce so many of ’em in our “Workers’ Paradise”!

To see a more periodically updated, annotated set of facts comparing CA with the other states – using 35 criteria – check out my dreary online fact sheet.

More Than 100 Local Governments Pursue Tax Hikes to Meet Soaring Pension Bills

TaxesNine months after a League of California Cities report warned that pension costs were increasingly unsustainable, more than 100 local governments in the Golden State are asking voters for tax hikes on Nov. 6 – which Bond Buyer says is nearly double the record of 56 set in November 2016.

The Nov. 6 measures are on top of 36 city and county taxes that went before voters in the June 2018 primary.

Historically, local hikes in sales and hotel taxes are approved at least 60 percent of the time in California. They’re generally linked to a specific local need – not growing labor costs. With CalPERS’ bills to local governments on track to double from 2015 to 2025, such claims would seem dubious this election year.

Nevertheless – aware that voters likely would be cool to the idea of raising taxes to pay for pensions far more generous than those in the private sector – even now, many local elected leaders depict the hikes as necessary to pay for public safety or for fixing potholes and longer library hours.

Local officials assert hikes are about adding services

In the lead-up to the June primary, virtually the entire city leadership ranks in Chula Vista campaigned for a half-cent sales tax hike on the grounds that it was crucial to adding dozens of badly needed police officers and firefighters.

The tactic worked as Chula Vistans backed the increase. But city leaders’ claims of a coming public-safety hiring spree were impossible to square with the numbers from the city’s budget office. In April, it warned of “bleak” times ahead for San Diego County’s second-largest city, including an annual structural deficit that could reach $26.6 million by 2023 – with surging pension bills mostly to blame.

In Santa Ana, where voters are being asked to raise sales taxes by 1.5 percentage points on Nov. 6, the campaign for the tax hike rarely mentions pension costs.

But once again, a city bureaucrat framed the tax hike in more candid fashion.

“We’re not immune to the labor cost increases that are occurring throughout the state of California and throughout the country. We need to be able to provide additional services to the community. The question before the voters is what level of services do they want from their government?” Jorge Garcia, a top aide in the Santa Ana city manager’s office, told Bond Buyer.

Santa Ana’s pension bill is expected to go from $45.1 million in 2017-2018 to $81.2 million by 2022-2023 – an 80 percent increase.

‘The cause of this point-blank is CalPERS’

But some politicians have no patience with misleading narratives. “The cause of this point-blank is CalPERS and our pension fund,” Lodi Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce said in June when the Lodi City Council decided to put a half-cent sales tax on the Nov. 6 ballot.

As the League of California Cities reported in January, “With local pension costs outstripping revenue growth, many cites face difficult choices that will be compounded in the next recession. Under current law, cities have two choices – attempt to increase revenue or reduce services.”

The severity of the pension crisis is illustrated by the fact that it is sharply worsening in a period in which there is often seemingly good news on the fiscal front.

State revenue is expected to go up in 2018-19 for a 10th straight year.

County assessors report a 6.5 percent increase in property taxes this year. That’s triple the rate of inflation and comes even with Proposition 13 preventing increases of more than 2 percent on homes, businesses and other properties that didn’t change hands.

In July, CalPERS announced a second straight year of above-average earnings on its investment portfolio, which rose in value to $357 billion.

This prompted a news release from a top state union leader disputing talk of CalPERS’ poor health.

“While it’s important not to focus on one-year returns, these returns continue the long-term trend of CalPERS performing above or near its long-term discount rates and once again defying the sky-is-falling predictions of system critics,” wrote Dave Low, executive director of the California School Employees Association.

But despite the good returns, as of July, CalPERS only had 71 percent of funds needed to pay for its long-term financial liabilities, the Sacramento Bee reported. That’s far below the 80 percent funding level that is considered the absolute minimum for a healthy pension system.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

10 Reasons NOT to Vote

vote-buttonsWe live in divided times. Polls tell us that about equal numbers of voters prefer Democrats and Republicans. Only about 5 or 6 percent of the electorate consider themselves truly undecided and persuadable. That means little things can make a huge difference in the election’s outcome.

With just 2 weeks to go, polls tend to show that high enthusiasm among Democrats will result in historic turnout levels. Republicans, on the other hand, appear more complacent, more satisfied with the way things are and less motivated to turn out.

Given that just a 2 or 3 percentage point drop in turnout among Republicans mean Democrats take control of Congress next year, I thought I’d list a few reasons why Republicans might want to consider skipping this election. Here goes …

1. If you like higher taxes, and you hate the explosive growth, new jobs, and higher incomes, that have lifted every American family — especially the poor — then don’t vote.

2. If you enjoy the polarization, blame shifting, and finger pointing in Congress, don’t vote. It seems like the moment the results of the last election were announced Democrats have been doing everything they can to create chaos and stop any progress at all. Imagine the congressional investigations they’ll launch if they take control of Congress. With Democrats in charge, expect even more resist, disruption, and delay.

3. If you want more violence in the streets, stay home. Groups like ANTIFA attack regular Americans with Democrat encouragement. Black Lives Matter regularly advocates for violence against police. Put Democrats in control and voters will send a clear message to these groups that their approach works and they should step it up in time for the 2020 Presidential elections.

4. If you want to replace rule of law with rule by the mob, don’t go to the polls. We all watched while Democrats found now Justice Kavanaugh guilty by allegation without the slightest shred of proof. They sought not to prevent confirmation by appealing to reason or argument. They worked to destroy a man’s reputation, career, and life — along with his wife, 2 daughters, and distraught mother — without presenting even a hint of justification.

5. If you want to stop the confirmation of conservative judges and appointees, forget about voting. Democrats have successfully stopped or delayed more presidential appointments than any congress in the last hundred or so years. Put them in charge of Congress and the trickle of confirmations will grind to a total stop.

6. If you think open borders for anyone who cares to enter is a good idea, then do nothing on November 6th. If you hate the idea of a wall, border security, or immigration enforcement; then Democrat control is for you. Don’t vote, let Democrats win, and we’ll see millions of new migrants enter America scot free. Not only that, but we’ll also see many billions more in spending on things like welfare, health care, and education for immigrants who flock here.

7. If you want more sanctuary towns, cities, and states that protect criminal illegal immigrants, then ignore election day. Crimes committed by illegal immigrants include murder, assault, rape, robbery and many more. But in sanctuary states and municipalities, police are banned from cooperating with federal authorities responsible for prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes. If you want more places where violent criminal immigrants are protected, vote Democrat in November!

8. If your heart’s desire is more government-controlled everything, then don’t vote. If you agree Obamacare doesn’t go far enough and that only a total takeover of healthcare by government is acceptable, then stay home on November 6th. Health care is only the beginning. Democrats now openly advocate socialism as a better approach than allowing free people, freely choosing, to decide our economic well-being.

9. If you’re ready to dispense with the Constitution and the freedoms it protects, forget about voting. If you agree with the left’s view that things like respect for personal freedom, individual dignity, and limited government are old-fashioned, then don’t vote. The Kavanaugh hearings were only a single shot in their assault on justice, rule of law, and freedom. They’ve been clear they also want to repeal the 2nd Amendment — by legislation or court decree. And it won’t stop there. With them in charge, our constitution and guaranteed rights will be little more than a memory.

10. If you like the idea of breaking the budget and running up even bigger deficits, don’t vote. Obama ran up our deficit by trillions of dollars — more than all the other presidents in America’s 200 year history COMBINED. More Democrats in Congress will make sure Trump and Republicans don’t return to the old-school idea of discipline and restraint in spending, that they can’t cut the size of government, make it more responsive, or bring new efficiencies.

These are just a few of the reasons you may want to stay home and let Democrats run rampant over the election this November.

Or, you can go to the polls and stop Democrat Socialist policies that will hurt our future, damage our economy, and destroy our freedom.

In this highly polarized, divided environment, every single vote counts, and with this election everything is on the line.

November 6th, it’s up to you.

John Philip Sousa IV is an entrepreneur, political activist, author and accomplished business person. John has worked in the financial services industry for over 40 years, built a highly successful marketing company, ran for congress at age 24, and in 2016 created and led the successful movement to draft Dr Ben Carson into his candidacy for President of the United States. John is author of John Philip Sousa, A Patriot’s Life in Words and Pictures and Ben Carson, RX for America.

This article was originally published by Stars and Stripes Forever PAC