Should Last Summer’s Business Tax Hikes Be Curtailed?

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Last June, the California Legislature passed the Governor’s proposals from his May Revise to raise $9 billion over three years by retroactively suspending the use of net operating losses (NOLs) for individuals and businesses, as well as retroactively capping the use of business tax credits. AB 85 (Budget Committee, Chapter 8), among its numerous provisions, provides:

  • For each taxable year beginning on or before January 1, 2020 and before January 1, 2023, the total credits otherwise allowable under the personal and corporate tax laws, with a few specified exceptions, may not reduce the taxes imposed by those laws by more than $5 million. The law provides that the amount of any credit that is not allowed due to the application of this law will remain a credit carryover amount. This provision was estimated to raise $2 billion in the fiscal year.
  • For each taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2020 and before January 1, 2023, subject to certain exceptions related to a taxpayer’s income, the disallowance of a net operating loss deduction. The law extends the carryover period for a net operating loss deduction disallowed by this law. This provision was estimated to raise $1.8 billion in the fiscal year.

AB 85 was the revenues budget trailer bill within the overall 2020-21 budget package that was enacted just seven months ago. At that time, a $54 billion budget deficit was projected, despite acknowledgement of the job loss and business closing due to the pandemic in this state. At the time, the business community also argued for AB 85 to only apply for two tax years, as had been the case the prior two instances when the state took similar actions.

Fast forward to January 8 and Governor Newsom announced that the state budget anticipates a $4.6 billion increase in total revenue compared to the 2020-21 fiscal year, including a 5 percent increase in personal income tax revenue, as well as over 4% increase in local property tax revenues. Moreover, total state reserves are projected to be $22 billion. This surge of revenues to the General Fund raises the question whether the second two years, or at least the third year, of these NOL suspensions and tax credit limitations should be repealed.

At the very least, no further tax increases are warranted for the foreseeable future. California already has the country’s highest personal income tax rate and the highest base sales tax rate. With a record exodus of businesses and citizens from this state, and such a high cost-of-living, we should not only reject any calls for higher taxes, but also the Legislature should not introduce such legislation during the 2021 Session as such measures will send a chilling message to businesses and economic development efforts in California.

This article was originally published by the California Globe.

The Next California Gubernatorial Recall Election Will Be Held In …

When voters replaced Democrat Gray Davis with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor in 2003, it was the first time in the state’s 153-year history (at that point) it had recalled a governor. A growing exasperation with the current occupant of the office suggests Californians might not wait that long before they try again.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, elected in 2018 with 62% of the vote, appears to be in trouble. Several recall efforts have failed, but one is still active, and it has until March 17 to collect the 1,495,709 signatures needed before a recall election can be placed on the ballot. Already more than 900,000 have been gathered.

Newsom’s and Davis’ circumstances are not that different. PRI’s Tim Anaya, who has worked in a governor’s office – he was a speechwriter for Schwarzenegger – says “there are quite a lot of similarities between the two.”

“Both Newsom and Davis inherited rosy state budgets with large surpluses amid an era of economic prosperity and roaring tax revenues being generated for the state.” Then, “almost overnight, each experienced a severe economic downturn that turned surpluses into massive deficits in the blink of an eye.”

Newsom and Davis also stumbled into unusual and unexpected – though this is arguable – political thickets. Among other troubles, Davis was overcome by a solvable energy crisis he declined to correct. Newsom has the coronavirus pandemic, his own energy problems and wildfires pulling him down. Davis’ responses did not inspire confidence among voters. Neither has the behavior of Newsom, who fueled recall fever with his visit to the French Laundry, where he attended an indoor birthday party with an unmasked group while nagging everyday Californians to stay home until, well, whenever he says it’s OK to go out again.

Despite the similarities, it seems unlikely history will repeat itself, with Newsom being replaced with a Republican as Davis was. As blue as California was in 2003, it’s even bluer in 2021. Only the wildest imagination could visualize a Democratic governor being turned out of office for a Republican. It’s almost inconceivable that voters in California, where Democratic Party registrations outnumber GOP registrations by 22 percentage points, would send a Republican to the governor’s mansion.

Put another way, by Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen, “a successful recall effort is like a three-legged stool – it requires an unpopular governor, unpopular policies, and, finally, a popular alternative. In present-day California, it’s that last leg that’s missing: a credible replacement for Newsom.”

Should the long shot materialize, though, expect arguments to emerge that the GOP has returned as a relevant political party in California.

But maybe the more material point would be what a Newsom loss would mean for the Democratic Party in California.

Former Republican congressman Tom Campbell recently wrote in the Orange County Register that Republicans “shouldn’t pretend” the GOP is resurgent in California just because three Republicans took Democrats’ congressional seats in the 2020 election. He’s probably right. Even if Democrats lost ground due to the rough politics of a recall election, the GOP isn’t necessarily in line to make gains.

Nearly 30% of Californians have no party preference by registration or are identified as “other” by the secretary of state’s office. Merely getting a recall on the ballot is likely to have some impact on that 30%. They might not suddenly become registered Republicans, or even vote GOP. But after a bruising recall campaign and all the damage done, they could stay at home in future elections, dissatisfied by Democrats, uninspired by Republicans. A significant portion of the 46% registered as Democrats might even be turned off as they learn more about Newsom’s conduct and policy missteps, which would be magnified by a recall election.

There are no “ifs” or “could be’s” about the heat being turned up on Newsom, however. On New Year’s Day, the San Francisco Chronicle reported the recall campaign is drawing large contributors. “The effort,” it said, “has received a jolt of seriousness in the form of big-dollar donors.” CNN has noted that the recall is gaining momentum. Based on the letters it’s receiving from readers, the Los Angeles Times is warning Newsom to “watch out” because “voters are angry and primed for a recall.”

No matter how it all turns out, it’s safe to say Newsom’s presidential aspirations will have been severely injured if not buried. A California politician who has lost the confidence of so many of his constituents would have little chance with voters in the rest of the country, despite how smooth he appears on screen.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute.

Tax Hikes Are Back On The Agenda In Sacramento

With 1 million signatures in and several potential challengers, the recall drive against Gov. Gavin Newsom may be causing him to reconsider some of his more progressive policy positions. In his recently unveiled $4.5-billion stimulus program, he offered — get this — tax relief, not tax hikes.

The so-called “Equitable Recovery for California Businesses and Jobs” plan includes $575 million for small business grants, $777.5 million in tax credits to businesses that hire or retain employees, some sales-tax exemptions and $600 checks to low-income Californians.

Of course, it also contains the usual slop like $1.5 billion in subsidies to buy electric vehicles but, nonetheless, we take victories where we can get them in Taxifornia.

Newsom’s September pledge to oppose new taxes was fairly explicit: “In a global, mobile economy, now is not the time for the kind of state tax increases on income we saw proposed at the end of this legislative session and I will not sign such proposals into law.” The irony is not lost on us that the governor said this while also endorsing Prop. 15, the failed $12 billion tax hike — and latest attempt at gutting Proposition 13 — on the November ballot. But his remarks did provide a bit of assurance to the state’s job creators.

On the other hand, there is no such hesitancy to push tax increases in the California Legislature. Proposing a “tax increase du jour” is in the DNA of Democratic legislators. Here are just a few of the bills causing anxiety among those Californians who want to keep at least some of the money they earn.

Assembly Bill 65 by Assemblyman Evan Low would create a California Universal Basic Income. It is like AB2712 presented last legislative session, which proposed to raise the necessary money either through a value-added tax, raising corporate taxes or implementing a tax on services.

To read the entire column, please click here.

California’s New Goal: Vaccinate a Million People in 10 Days

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

Getting the coronavirus vaccines into the arms of as many Californians as possible has become a race against time as COVID-19 cases continue to spiral upward and a more infectious variant of the virus takes root

Many questions remain unanswered about how the next — and much larger — wave of Californians will be vaccinated, even as doctors and other health providers in the first priority group are complaining to state officials that they still can’t get access to the vaccines.

At a vaccine community advisory committee meeting on Wednesday, state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan announced an ambitious immunization goal, acknowledging widespread criticism that the state has moved too slowly to vaccinate its first priority group of frontline health care workers and nursing home residents.

California now aims to immunize 1 million people within the next 10 days, Pan said. Officials are recruiting dentists and other health professionals to become vaccinators, and Gov. Gavin Newsom asked state lawmakers to approve $300 million to support the vaccination push. 

“We do need to move faster,” Pan said, “especially in the middle of this surge.” 

Nearly 530,400 doses of either the newly authorized Pfizer or Moderna vaccines had been given by the end of Wednesday, just over a quarter of the more than 2 million doses shipped to California hospitals and county health departments. …

Click here to read the full article from CalMatters.org

Could Los Angeles Or San Francisco Be The Next Detroit?

Few would have imagined in 1950, when Detroit was the country’s fifth-largest city, the undisputed car capital of the world and one of the most important cities of its era, that it would become synonymous with urban decay. Yet it happened there. Which means it can happen anywhere, even California.

Steep taxes, smothering regulation and a hostile business climate are leaving businesses with little choice but to escape from California. Residents, particularly from the middle class, are fleeing too.

But “progressive” economic and regulatory policies – identified by economist Thomas Sowell as “increasing taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions” – were not the only factors in Detroit’s decline. The Motor City was hollowed out in part by the flight of residents who’d had enough of the crime. Sowell said the riot of 1967, which killed 43, injured nearly 1,200 and damaged more than 2,000 buildings, “marked the beginning of the decline of Detroit to its current state of despair.”

Today, more than a half-century later, “Detroit’s violent crime leads the nation,” according to The Detroit News.

It’s vital at any time to recognize how crime can destroy a city. It’s even more so today, given that the elected prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco have clearly indicated that the peace and tranquility of their constituents is secondary to the political left’s social justice agenda.

Chesa Boudin was elected San Francisco district attorney in 2019 on an anti-incarceration platform that included a promise to end gang enhancements – increased prison time for gang-related crimes – the use of cash bail to ensure that defendants appear in court and application of the state’s three-strikes law.

Boudin, the son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, members of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist group responsible for bombings and murders, according to the FBI, is a former deputy public defender who had never prosecuted a case. From the beginning, Boudin announced that he would not prosecute quality-of-life crimes such as “public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc.”

Other crimes seem to be low on his prosecutorial list, as well. Through August, homicides were up 23% over 2019, burglary increased 43%, and car theft went up 34%. By December, home and commercial burglaries had soared by about 46%.

Authorities suspect the surge “is being driven in part by chronic offenders,” according to the San Francisco Examiner.

“Boudin’s lack of prosecutions is fueling a burglary epidemic,” the Marina Times reported in September. “Boudin’s term started with a 23% leap in robberies and upticks in burglaries and car break-ins. After the March 16 Covid-19 shutdown, with retail stores closing and tourists and rental cars disappearing, criminals transitioned to stealing cars, starting fires, and committing burglaries.”

Boudin took office after beating interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus, appointed after former District Attorney George Gascon stepped down, in a tight race. Gascon was next seen running for, and then winning in November 2020, the prosecutor’s job in Los Angeles County. Gascon doesn’t have a record in his new office, but he did leave behind a trail in San Francisco. Like his successor, he didn’t believe quality-of-life crimes should be prosecuted. Apparently, they are merely a “nuisance” to residents. Seems he didn’t think it worthwhile to separate criminals from society, either. Under Gascon, San Francisco incarceration rates were one-fourth of those in Los Angeles.

When Gascon announced his resignation, the San Francisco Police Officers Association’s response was “good riddance.” While “happy” he was leaving, officers still felt “horrible” he was “taking his record of failure to an even larger county where he can cause even more harm to public safety.”

Gascon, a former Los Angeles police officer and San Francisco chief, quickly introduced “reforms” at his new post. On the first day, he eliminated cash bail, told his prosecutors they are to no longer seek enhanced prison sentences, and are to show “leniency to many low-level offenders.” His deputies responded by asking a judge to relieve them of the limitations Gascon has placed on them, which they say are in conflict with state law.

To be fair, crime increased in a number of urban areas during the pandemic. But not all prosecutors have publicly declared they were going easy on crime, nor have all taken campaign cash from George Soros, the billionaire who is determined to disrupt American society. Boudin and Gascon have done both. And now they are part of the “progressive” movement that’s driving businesses and residents out of California.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute. Read More

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute.

Mick Mulvaney Resigns After Capitol Siege: ‘I can’t stay’

Mick Mulvaney, former White House chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, announced he is stepping down in what appears to be the latest in a stream of resignations following the chaos that was unleashed at the US Capitol by supporters of President Trump.

“I called [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mulvaney told CNBC in an interview Thursday.

“Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in,” Mulvaney said.

Already, several White House staffers — including Stephanie Grisham, first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews — have said they would step down.

White House social secretary Rickie Niceta and deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger also reportedly stepped down Wednesday. …

Click here to read the full article from the NY Post.

Radicals in the Classroom

The San Diego Unified School District has been radicalized. In recent months, the district has announced mandatory diversity training for teachers, added a new “ethnic studies” curriculum focused on racial grievance, and even abolished the requirement to turn in homework on time—all in the name of becoming, in the words of school board member Richard Barrera, “an anti-racist school district.”

Last month, I reported on one of these training sessions, focused on “white privilege,” in which white teachers were accused of being colonizers on stolen Native American land and told “you are racist” and “you are upholding racist ideas, structures, and policies.” The trainers demanded that the teachers “confront and examine [their] white privilege,” “acknowledge when [they] feel white fragility,” and “teach others to see their privilege.” After the story caused an uproar, school officials defended the training as a form of “racial healing.”

According to new whistleblower documents, San Diego Unified held an even more radical training program featuring a speaker who believes American schools are guilty of the “spirit murdering of Black children.” The school district hired Bettina Love, a critical race theorist who believes that children learn better from teachers of the same race, for the keynote address at the August Principal Institute and for an additional district-wide training on how to “challenge the oppressive practices that live within the systems and structures of school organizations.”

Though the school district explicitly forbade attendees from recording the session, one whistleblower took detailed notes of the speech and captured screenshots of the presentation. According to these notes, Love began her presentation by claiming that “racism runs deep” in the United States and that blacks alone “know who America really is.” She argued that public schools in particular “don’t see [blacks] as human,” are guilty of systemic “anti-Blackness,” and “spirit murder babies” in the education system.

The concept of “spirit murder” is at the heart of Love’s teachings. In a recent article in Education Week, Love writes that public schools are guilty of “the spirit murdering of Black and Brown children,” which she defines as “a death that is built on racism and intended to reduce, humiliate, and destroy people of color.” During the presentation in San Diego, Love added that supporting Black Lives Matter is a “cheap symbolic” gesture that will not stop the spirit murder of minority children in schools.

At the end of her presentation, Love told the teachers that whites are directly responsible for the plight of “dark children.” In a slide labeled “Teacher Education Gap,” Love argued that “Whiteness reproduces poverty, failing schools, high unemployment, school closings, and trauma for people of color.” She insisted that “white educators must take responsibility” because they created and derive privileges from “white supremacy culture.”

Declaring that “reform will not work,” Love argues for “abolitionist teaching,” a pedagogy designed to “remove oppression from its roots.” Whites, according to Love, must make a special effort. During the presentation in San Diego, as part of a list of “abolitionist teacher’s demands,” Love told white attendees that they must undergo “antiracist therapy for White educators” in order to overcome their racism, ignorance, and history of harm. Once they have proven themselves, they can become “co-conspirators” in the campaign for “abolition.”

According to standardized test scores, only 37 percent of San Diego’s fourth-graders are proficient in reading and only 42 percent are proficient in math. Black and Latino students perform substantially worse. The language of “spirit murder” and “abolition” might make for an emotionally charged Zoom presentation, but it won’t do anything to help struggling students. In fact, as charter school operator Ian Rowe argues, San Diego’s policies are a “modern day version of the soft bigotry of low expectations” that will “dumb down the grading system for all.”

Nonetheless, the “antiracism” narrative has tremendous momentum in modern educational institutions. It reduces complex phenomena to a simple explanation of white racism—and lets teachers of all racial backgrounds shift blame for failing schools to the abstract forces of “systemic oppression.” Eventually, however, there will be a price. School districts such as San Diego Unified can spend millions on trainings, speeches, and diversity audits, but none of these efforts is likely to result in better academic results.

While the leadership of San Diego Unified promotes the antiracist agenda, resentment is growing among teachers and administrators. The whistleblower described the district’s embrace of race trainings as “insidious” and said many employees are reluctant to speak out, for fear that they will be accused of racism. Some evidence also suggests that parents are beginning to mobilize, but they will meet stiff resistance from the radicals at the helm of many school districts. For now, we should expect these ideological campaigns to intensify.

Christopher F. Rufo is a contributing editor of City Journal and director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. Sign up for his weekly newsletter and watch his new documentaryAmerica Lost, which tells the story of three “forgotten American cities.”

This article was originally published by City Journal Online.

Big Tech Censorship Suppresses the Reopen California Movement

Photo by Richard Balog on Unsplash

“This isn’t just an event, this is a movement.”

That’s how Jack Frost, one of the organizers of the ReOpenCalNow conference, planned for this weekend, characterizes their effort. Presenters include a bipartisan group of politicians including Fiona Ma, California’s State Treasurer, a Democrat, and Congressman Tom McClintock, one of the most reliable conservative Republicans in America. Presenters also include sheriffs who will not enforce the lockdown, attorneys who are challenging the lockdown, and economists and businesspeople to explain how the consequences of the lockdown have been catastrophic for millions of Californians.

The conference will also feature presenters from the medical community, and for that, big tech has suppressed the organizers’ attempts to publicize the event. How they’re doing this offers an update on just how pervasive big tech suppression of dissent has become.

Because the ReOpenCalNow organizers are targeting a high level audience of policymakers, they assembled an email list of several thousand of California’s local elected officials. The list includes city council members, county supervisors, and members of school boards. Using MailChimp, they sent out three email blasts before receiving the following message:

“We received a direct complaint regarding a recent campaign sent from the account with the username ReOpen Cal Now. Direct complaints are serious because they indicate that a recipient contacted Mailchimp, our hosting facility, or a blocklisting agency about an unsolicited email.”

The MailChimp email went on to say:

“Because the content associated with your industry conflicts with our Acceptable Use Policy (mailchimp.com/legal/acceptable_use), Mailchimp is unable to serve as your email service provider and your account has been disabled.”

MailChimp went on to reject all appeals, and it is clear that the reason they would not reinstate ReOpenCalNow’s account was not because of spam. The laws protecting people from receiving spam do not apply to publicly available emails of elected officials. Every email on the list compiled by ReOpenCalNow were publicly available and corresponded to an elected official.

Tab Berg, whose consulting firm Tab Communications is assisting ReOpenCalNow to publicize their event, explained that by using MailChimp before the account was disabled, he was able to quickly verify that only four people out of over 3,000 recipients marked the emails as spam, and only one recipient logged a complaint directly with MailChimp. This would not be enough to trigger a cancellation of service, even if the emails were not going to public officials. Once MailChimp was informed as to the public nature of the email list being used, the account would have been immediately reactivated on appeal. The reason MailChimp cancelled ReOpenCalifornia’s account is because information about alternative therapies for COVID-19 is the target of organized censorship.

Evidence to support this version of what happened is found in how ReOpenCalNow was treated when they attempted to start an account on another major platform, Mailer Lite. Their application generated an immediate rejection from MailerLite. They wrote:

“The approval team determined that your account violates paragraph 9. of our Terms of Use on appropriate content. We are sorry to disappoint you. I could not be of more help but thank you for understanding.”

When ReOpenCalNow appealed, noting that they are a non-profit educational group that hosts public policy conferences, and that the content clearly falls under 1st Amendment expression, they received a second rejection:

“Thank you for your interest in Mailerlite however, unfortunately, your website’s type of content is not permitted on our platform. You can read more about this in our Terms of Use here:
https://www.mailerlite.com/legal/terms-of-service. Due to the reason outlined above we were unable to approve your account.”

In Mailerlite’s terms of service, the following applicable provision is found: “You are also not allowed to send content that encourages discrimination, bullying or actions that could impose health-risk, such as anti-vaccination material.”

This coordinated exclusion of dissenting medical opinions on COVID-19 was further evidenced in Facebook’s refusal to permit paid ads from ReOpenCalNow. Their initial refusal was based on their recent policy – inconsistently applied – to stop accepting political ads. Upon appeal, ReOpenCalNow was told “your website contains dangerous content that violates Facebook’s terms of service.”

Dangerous content. That is how a website, and the conference it promotes, is considered by the biggest social media and email platforms in the world. A conference that is organized and features individuals with impeccable reputations and credentials who dare to question the political and medical response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consider the primary transgression of the organizers: A panel scheduled for mid-day on January 9 that features four doctors, individuals with medical licenses, with extensive experience treating COVID-19 patients. Their crime? Claiming there are therapeutic early stage treatments for COVID-19 that yield a high percentage of cures.

What if these doctors are right? For that matter, what if they’re wrong? So what? Why is it that COVID-19 is arguably the first disease in history where the treatment opinions of licensed physicians are suppressed and their reputations are scandalized, and virtually no approved early stage treatments are even offered as alternatives? What’s going on?

What is happening to the organizers of ReOpenCalNow is emblematic of a large and multifaceted political sickness in California today. A grotesque misreading of medical data being used to justify a lockdown that has destroyed the livelihoods of millions while enriching a handful of gigantic corporations and their shareholders. In parallel, an organized suppression of treatment alternatives has occurred that quite possibly has cost thousands of lives.

This is a reflection of the arrogance of big tech, united with other powerful opportunistic special interests ranging from big pharma to a thoroughly corrupt political establishment. The consequences of mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be overstated, and yet expert debate over what to do is denied by the platforms that once, in a better and very recent time, represented an explosion of freedom.

One may hope the organizers of the ReOpenCalNow event this weekend will livestream to multiple platforms. Online viewing is free to anyone who registers on their website, but should YouTube or Facebook take a predictable next step and deplatform them, there remains – at least for now – robust alternatives the organizers should consider: DLive, Rumble, BitChute and Odysee.

Movements survived and grew in the days before the internet by using actual, physical newsletters, phone calls, and in-person gatherings. Perhaps it will come to that again, unless such activity shall itself be deemed too “dangerous” by the powers that be.

This article originally appeared on the website California Globe.

Get Ready for Redistricting Dominoes to Fall

With the beginning of the new year, work now begins on the drawing of California’s new legislative and congressional lines.

Several years back, voters enacted a ballot measure to give the power to draw district lines to an independent citizen’s commission.  They will produce final maps by fall 2021, which will be in place for the 2022 elections.

Depending on how the legal battles over the Trump administration’s policy to exclude the counting of illegal immigrants from the Census shakes out – the Supreme Court last month rejected a challenge as premature, but future litigation or the incoming Biden administration could change things – California is on track to lose a seat in Congress.

Given their dwindling political fortunes over the past decade, one might expect the new district lines might further disadvantage Republicans.  That may not necessarily be true.

Remember that this process is about ensuring the new district lines affect both the state’s population and demographic changes.  Expect to see shifts around the state under the new lines to reflect these shifts.

Looking at the most recent population estimates from the Department of Finance before the release of the 2020 Census, Republican-leaning areas of the state have been growing at a faster rate than traditional liberal power centers over the past decade.

Los Angeles County’s population, for example, has grown by just 3.6 percent since 2010.  Meanwhile, Placer County’s population has grown by 15.86 percent, San Joaquin by 12.89 percent, Riverside by 11.54 percent, Merced by 10.84 percent, and Fresno by 9.9 percent.  If those trends hold in the Census, a power shift toward the Central Valley and Inland Empire in Congress and the State Legislature would favor Republicans and business-friendly Democrats over big city liberals.

Additionally, as I predicted during our annual “PRI All Stars Year-End Awards” episode of “Next Round” podcast, look for the new district lines to favor new blood over long-time incumbents.

Consider that twenty members of California’s congressional delegation are 66 years of age or older.  Ten have served at least two decades in Congress.

Modest shifts in district lines here or there to reflect demographic or population changes could easily make one of these Members of Congress a prime candidate for a primary challenge.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rise to power knocking off a long-time Congressman who was a member of the Pelosi leadership team, ushered in dozens of well-funded primary challenges to establishment Democrat incumbents nationwide.  Good and faithful service is clearly not enough to fend off aggressive primary challenges any longer.

California’s incumbents are surely fearing the same thing could happen to them in 2022.

Central Valley Democrat Jim Costa, who is 68 and has been in Congress since 2005, faced an expensive though unsuccessful primary challenge from Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria in 2020.  Tweak his district lines in an unfavorable way and Costa may decide to head for the exits in 2022.

Rapidly changing demographics could also prompt retirements or party challenges.  For example, there are a host of Latino, Indian, and Asian would-be Members of Congress who live in South Bay districts represented by two white women – 73-year-old Zoe Lofgren and 78-year-old Anna Eshoo.  Will they all “wait in line” until the incumbents decide to retire, or might an ambitious pol or two decide to jump the gun in 2022 if they view the new district lines favorably?

The 2012 congressional elections, which were the first after the 2010 redistricting, were a wild affair resulting in several member versus member races and the defeat of six incumbents. The final returns sent 14 new Members of Congress from California to Washington.  If history is a guide, whatever the new district lines look like, get ready for a sea change in California politics come the 2022 elections.

Tim Anaya is the Pacific Research Institute’s senior director of communications and the Sacramento office.

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute.

California Should Stick To The Basics

In this time of New Year’s resolutions, here’s one for California: Stick to the basics. Unfortunately, our elected leadership believe that any problem needs a government solution. This mindset has caused California to lose focus away from important functions that are properly within the purview of government.

Here’s a short list of matters that our public institutions can and should address. Quickly forgotten, especially among modern progressive politicians, is that the first responsibility of government is to preserve liberty.

Second, no one disputes that government has a responsibility to protect its citizens. At the national level, we have a formidable military force and intelligence agencies to counter threats to the nation from foreign interests. At the local level, citizens expect their cities and counties to provide adequate police and fire protection.

Third, Americans also believe that education is a public function, especially in the primary grades. But here again, there is a wide divergence of views on the best way to educate our children. Public charter schools offer an independent alternative to established district schools. Quality education is available from private schools, and homeschooling is becoming more popular. This trend is a direct indictment of the failure of public education in many places.

There are more areas where direct government involvement is warranted. Public health, especially in the era of a pandemic, requires some government direction. That does not entail, however, heavy-handed edicts unmoored from legitimate legal authority.

At the state level, our elected leaders and bureaucrats have failed miserably to deliver on the most basic of government functions. The fraud in the disbursement of unemployment benefits has reached $2 billion. And our leaders can’t blame that level of malfeasance on the emergency nature of the pandemic.

To read the entire column, please click here.