ACA 9 Will Protect California Families Climbing The Economic Ladder

Every parent wants to help his or her kids and protect them from hardship. Many families that started out with nothing were able to build, with hard work and sacrifices over two or three generations, a bit of economic security that they hope to pass on to the next generation.

This is the reason that Californians voted overwhelmingly to abolish state inheritance and gift taxes. In 1982, there were two competing measures on the statewide ballot that repealed and permanently banned the hated taxes. Both measures passed with more than 60% of the vote.

Meanwhile, Californians were frustrated that rapidly rising property values had turned property taxes into what was effectively a death tax. Under Proposition 13, passed overwhelmingly in 1978, property tax assessments may rise no more than 2% per year until there is a change of ownership, at which time the property is reassessed to fair market value. Children who inherited their parents’ property often found that they could not keep it, because the new tax bill was more than they could afford to pay every year.

As a result, in 1986, the state Legislature unanimously passed the measure that became Proposition 58. It changed the state constitution to say that the transfer of certain property between parents and children would not be considered a “change of ownership” and would be excluded from reassessment, keeping the property tax bill the same. Proposition 58 passed with the approval of more than 75% of voters statewide. Ten years later, the voters approved Proposition 193, to apply the same rules to transfers between grandparents and grandchildren if the children’s parents were deceased.

Under Propositions 58 and 193, families could transfer a home of any value and up to $1 million of assessed value of other property. That protected families that owned a small business, or a duplex that was rented out for income, or a vacation cabin. It meant the death of a parent would not trigger a sudden reassessment of those properties to market value, thereby raising the annual property tax bill so high that the children were forced to liquidate their inheritance.

That’s why it’s a tragedy that a slick advertising campaign for Proposition 19 tricked voters into repealing Propositions 58 and 193 without realizing the impact it would have on their own families. Prop. 19 replaced the parent-child transfer exclusion from reassessment, which has been in the state constitution for 35 years, with a narrow exclusion that only applies to homes that the heirs move into within a year and make their permanent principal residence.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Newsom Announces New Stimulus Checks For 2/3 Of Californians

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the state is projected to have a $38 billion discretionary surplus in 2021 — and that he wants to use it to expand the state’s stimulus program by sending additional checks to two-thirds of California residents.

California has the highest estimated debt of any state, with nearly $363 billion in liabilities in 2019, according to Forbes.

In January, Newsom announced that the state expected a $15 billion surplus, thanks to stronger-than-expected revenues in 2020. The recovery of the economy, and the stock market, meant that the state’s wealthiest taxpayers paid more to the fiscus.

At that point, the governor announced a $600 “Golden State Stimulus” for roughly four million low-income Californians. …

Click here to read the full article from Breitbart.com

Independent Report Clears OC DA Todd Spitzer

An independent report commissioned by the county of Orange has cleared District Attorney Todd Spitzer of shielding a retired high-level prosecutor from complaints of sexual harassment and retaliating against a victim.

The 160-page report, released Friday, substantiated allegations that former Senior Assistant District Attorney Gary Logalbo harassed four female attorneys under his stewardship.

“Based upon a preponderance of the evidence, the allegations of sexual harassment against Logalbo are sustained,” said the report by attorney Elisabeth A. Frater. “The conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive that its effect, whether or not intended, could be considered by a reasonable person in the shoes of the witnesses as intimidating, hostile or offensive.”

Four women prosecutors have filed financial claims against the county, Spitzer and Logalbo, who is a former roommate of Spitzer’s  and was best man at his wedding decades ago. …

Click here to read the full article from the OC Register.

Why I Left California

I’ve been fortunate enough to have hundreds of articles published on public policy, energy, national security, foreign policy, and California politics, but this is the most personal piece I have ever written and submitted to this noble, worthy publication. For that reason, I am not using one hyperlink, and if you know my writings, everything I write is heavily sourced. This is my emotional love letter explaining why I felt forced to leave Los Angeles, California for a suburb north of Dallas, Texas.

Let’s start with the obvious reasons. Highest taxes in the nation. Highest energy costs in the nation. Growing crime rates, without the unfettered ability to defend yourself. Homelessness left unchecked, backed by Democrat-controlled judges, courtrooms, and organizations like the ACLU, which have caused the problem. Uninformed voters, voting for men like Gavin Newsome and women like Nancy Pelosi. Over $1 trillion desperately needed for infrastructure improvements, upgrades, and replacements without factoring in a new electrical grid is needed. That is trillions more.

Unmitigated blackouts will continue growing over continued proliferation of solar panels and wind turbines for electricity. Schools that serve a teacher’s union whose sole job is to elect Democrats. No longer constructing single-family homes, because of climate change and anthropogenic global warming. Try buying a home for less than $800,000 in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco or Sacramento, because Democrats and stupid faux-Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger believe mankind is overly warming the earth.

I have two books on energy – Energy Made Easy & Just Green Electricity – debunking the entire framework of politicized energy polices based on global warming. And the list goes on and on for the reasons why California is rapidly descending into chaos; and anyone with a family is being forced to move somewhere else.

A few years ago, I flew back to Crowley, Texas where I grew up and went to K-12 for my 25-year high school reunion. The best part was reconnecting with childhood friends; but two classmates in particular gave me grave insight into the state of the U.S. and California. Both had served in the special forces and black ops for the U.S. military and Department of Defense. Both men recounted their service careers, which was laced in humility, bravery, loyalty and a sense of being deeply wounded – not with battlefield scars – but the wounds of seeing their country being led by California into the abyss. Feelings of rage, betrayal and an American public being an ungrateful lot was only tempered when they asked me to write about it for them.

Thell and Jeff this is for you.

Once COVID-19 shutdowns took place in La Canada where I formerly lived, these men’s words echoed in my thoughts daily. For the first time I witnessed Californians transformed into sheep led by unwise, evil shepherds. Add in mask mandates – please look up Stanford University quietly stating they don’t work – and this caused my family to move back to Texas. These two childhood friend’s words woke me up to the fact that the California I resided in, fought for, met my wife in, had my children, and gloriously lived over half my life no longer wanted ascending married couples.

The beginning of my eye-opening experience began from 2008-2012 when I was elected to the Studio City Neighborhood Council whose original mission was to be a local city council and voice for the various neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. Hard working folks and neighbors who care was my experience at the local level until you stepped into the swamp of Los Angeles City Hall and the administrative apparatus to realize it was a bunch of corrupt, greedy leftist Democrats who cared about nothing other than power, taxpayer money, and how much retirement and health care they could suck from Los Angeles residents.

But it was my run for the 43rd district seat for State Assembly against incumbent Mike Gatto, which left the biggest impression. First and foremost, the days of Democrats like Pat Brown, Scoop Jackson, President’s FDR, Truman, JFK, who cared about families, single-family homes, public education focused on students and parents before unions, public safety, national security, and foreign policy that stood for freedom and American values are over.

Stop kidding yourself that a Democrat and Republican are the same. They aren’t. Republicans aren’t perfect, I have insight into this more than most, but if a mean tweet makes you yearn for Reagan or caused you to vote for out-of-control “woke” Joe Biden then you are the problem. Republicans hating Trump was reason enough for me to leave. Grow up.

Those two classmates bled – literally shed blood for your freedom and mine – they deserve better from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. I lost, but my run taught me that people want to be spoken to like adults, and if they don’t like you, they don’t like you, but they knew where I stood. Additionally, you better fight because we are in a war for California and the U.S. While I may have moved to Texas, the communist-led, communist-backed, Marxist-movement, which sadly now controls California and U.S. Democratic Party, is out for power and blood. Make no mistake – we can become China, Cuba, or Venezuela in no time. Cities like San Francisco, Berkeley, Portland, and Milwaukee already have.

Then what did I learn during my run, and subsequent graduation from Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy?  California is in deep trouble and now the federal government is looking to California as the harbinger of success. That’s why I had to leave. I no longer felt safe and no longer felt I could protect my family. Unfortunately, none of these events really brought the moving trucks to my doorstep.

After George Floyd’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) targeted La Canada where I formerly resided and a 500-person protest (what neighbors told me, as I was out of town at the time) was 80 feet from my former home. Imagine if someone stormed my home while I was either in the home or away? Would insurance pay to restore a burned down residence? Would I be allowed to use a weapon against intruding protesters? Or would I have to sign over my life to an attorney (I know a couple of good ones) to keep me out of prison for the rest of my life?

The bigger issues are Democrats who control California and Republicans/Christians in churches to scared to speak the truth – and here’s the truth about BLM. If black men and women want to matter, then matter to yourself. Stop killing each other with black-on-black crime from handguns and assaults that is a leading cause of death. Larry Elder and Heather MacDonald have done great work on this tragedy killing black men, women, and children. I beg you to stop having children raised by single parents at over 75 percent of all births. I beg you further to stop having more abortions than Caucasians, Hispanics, and Asians. Begin demanding school systems like the L.A.U.S.D. teach your children instead of serving the goals of the U.S. and California Democratic parties.

Some of the greatest achievements in history have been accomplished by men and women of color. A wise pastor once told me that Christianity is an eastern religion, and Jesus Christ was more dark-skinned than he ever was a lighter skinned European type. Lastly, I plead with black men and women to stop voting for Democrats, stop attending churches supporting BLM, critical race theory, or any dogma that says you can only succeed with Democrats’ help, and take back your lives.

California, the U.S., and world needs you to succeed. Republicans aren’t perfect, but Democrats are using and killing you in record numbers. Donald Trump gave a damn a helluva lot more than Joe Biden ever has or will.

So, goodbye to the once golden state. If any of you folks still brave enough to live there want to experience what good old fashioned American freedom looks and feels like, come to Texas without your mask, and bring your California realtor’s contact information with you.

Todd Royal and is an energy consultant, author and columnist based in Dallas, Texas. He can be reached on Twitter @TCR_Consulting

The End Of Green Power Is Just Over The Horizon

It is more likely that the environmental and economic public policy pendulum will have to swing back to clean fossil fuels and green power will become obsolescent.

Part 1 of this two-part article presented evidence that refutes three green power lobbyists’ contention that green power did not cause California’s summer 2020 power blackouts. But neither were the blackouts caused by failure of natural gas power, the impacts from climate change or delay in rolling out a 100 percent green power grid, as they contend. This is because the power blackouts of 2020 had more to do with the California Independent System Operator’s (Cal-ISO) failure of its Energy Imbalancing Market, rather than fossil fuel or green power. California depends on imports for 25 percent of its electricity. 

Western Power Time Zones and the Solar Duck Curve

Not only were importers hoarding power, their states get darker earlier requiring conventional natural gas and coal power to kick in.

Michael Schellenberger recently stated:

“California couldn’t find any more power from Arizona, Nevada, or Oregon, which were also struggling in a heat wave with low wind speeds while being located to the east of California and therefore in the dark sooner.  – Michael Schellenberger, “Why Renewables Cause Blackouts and Increase Vulnerability to Extreme Weather”, April 20, 2021.

Because Arizona, Nevada and Utah are located easterly of California, they are in darkness sooner than California.  During heat wave of the summer of 2020, it couldn’t import enough backup power from those states because they needed it for their own needs as they had switched to a greater proportion of solar power in their energy portfolios. Before solar power penetrated the market, these states had no daily energy crisis due to solar power phasing out at the end of each day, called the “Duck Curve”.  

California has an Energy Imbalancing Market (EIM) run by its Independent System Operator (CA-ISO) to import power each day during the sunset hours when solar power fades out.  But during the blackouts of summer 2020, the EIM failed in part due to a time zone difference in the availability of solar power as well as out of state providers hoarding backup power because of their greater reliance on intermittent green power.

The Texas blackouts of the winter of 2020 occurred because of something similar. Texas’ power grid is self-contained and depends on the availability of wind power from its western sector, solar farms in the central and eastern sector and scattered natural gas power plants to be available if there is a sub-regional power outage.  But the snowstorm and freeze of 2021 was statewide, leaving no untouched backup power source to supply other areas. Cloud cover and snow blocked out solar power and froze wind turbines, as well as wind was nil. And the snowstorm hit west Texas harder.  Moreover, solar radiation varies vastly across Texas from west to east.

Solar Power Soon Sunsetting

Lobbyists are paid to lobby for their clients. And California has to continue to reduce air pollution in its peculiar smog traps.  So, the advocacy for clean power by the above-cited environmental lobbyists is acknowledged.  But soon there will be zero emission natural gas power plants that will be reliable 24/7/365 except for down time for maintenance.  Nat Gas power plants can be relocated back to near where customers live without costly transmission lines from solar farms located hundreds of miles away that have to run through forests where windstorms can cause deadly dropped power line fires in California.

And zero-carbon natural gas power plants can reduce the price of wholesale gas power about 55 percent from 4.2 cents to 1.9 cents per kilowatt hour without all the unreliability of solar power and mere 8 hour availability each day. The California Energy Commission projects the future price for concentrated solar power will be about 5 cents per kilowatt hour ($0.049) but that excludes the transmission and costly “smart grid” coordination costs and cost shifting. 

The lobbyists for zero emission Nat Gas power plants will be showing up at the CPUC soon and the game of political football will change.  Exacerbating the public policy problem is that green power has never delivered a public health payoff (other than from other personal health measures unrelated to cleaner air) as to asthma or lung cancer rates in California.  Such health maladies are primarily human immune system issues in the first place.    And the notion that climate change contributed to the overblown Coronavirus epidemic is just “batty”.  Physically, climate change (i.e., global warming) is not an air pollution issue but a theoretic upper stratospheric matter in the first place.  Countries located around the hotter equatorial zone don’t necessarily suffer from greater air pollution for air has to be trapped to result in pollution just as stagnant water is not safe to drink.

What will be the responsible environmental option once green power is challenged by lower cost, equally clean, natural gas power?  It is more likely that the public policy pendulum will have to swing back to clean fossil fuels and green power will become obsolescent. But political lobbying by special interests won’t become obsolescent any time soon.  Contrary to their call for phasing out gas power altogether, the three green power lobbyists I have engaged on this issue do not realize that the time to move on from green power is just over the time horizon in California.

Wayne Lusvardi, a recent émigré from California, temporarily resides in San Antonio, Texas, and worked on a task force dealing with the California Energy Crisis of 2001 for California’s largest urban water agency.

California Blackouts Resulted From Solarization of Nearby States

California energy and environmental cognoscenti have been myopically looking only at fossil fuel failure and climate change for its 2020 blackouts not more obvious failure of its Energy Imbalancing Market imports due to the spreading of solar power to nearby states.

The argument made by three environmental lobbyists that natural gas power failed during the California energy blackouts of the summer of 2020 and should be phased out itself fails for lack of empirical support and independent review and requires rebuttal – see “Gas Is Failing in California: Time to Move On”, Utility Dive, April 16, 2021.

These three lobbyists accuse the Wall Street Journal and natural gas “industry voices” of appealing to fear that renewable energy was mostly to blame for the blackouts resulting from the regional southwest summer heat wave of 2020.  

They point out that a report by the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) (which is not independent but totally controlled by one party political appointees) concluded that climate change and delay in implementation of a fully renewable energy grid brought about the summer blackouts.  They further contend that the blackouts were a “perfect storm of software errors that caused California to export power during the blackouts, gas plant failures, and unprecedented heat that left demand vastly outstripping supply in California”. But this is not supported by the data shown below.

No L.A. and AZ Blackouts Due to Nat Gas and Coal Power

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) does not support the lobbyist’s claims for the City of Los Angeles, which escaped rolling blackouts due to availability of imported natural gas and coal power.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) reports that normally it relies on:

  • Natural gas – 34% (three gas power plants in Los Angeles)
  • Green power – 33% (wind farm – Tehachapi, CA; solar power, Kern County)
  • Coal power – 19% (from Utah and Arizona)
  • Nuclear power – 9% (from Arizona)
  • Hydropower – 5% (Hoover Dam, Castaic Lake)

Additionally, Jill Hanks of APS stated in an article, “Insight into how Arizona Power Company Avoids Blackouts as California Remains on Flex Alert,” that the key to their avoiding blackouts in Arizona was a diverse energy mix, including 50 percent natural gas power, 18 percent coal power and a mere 10 percent solar power in their power portfolio. 

What is revealing in the data shown below is that APS relies on 50 percent natural gas power, compared to 29% for SDG&E, and 0 to 17 percent for PG&E (where the blackouts occurred). 

Blackouts Were Mainly a PG&E Thing

As indicated in the data table below, the 2020 California power shortfall had a geographic location: mainly in PG&E territory in Northern and Central California. There were 99 power outages in PG&E’s customer service area on August 18 at 7:15 pm, equating to one outage for every 51,515 customers. But San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) had only 3 outages.  No data was available from Southern California Edison, which had multiple outages but does not provide data or location of the number of outages online.

Snapshot – Power Outages August 18 – 7:15 pm

 SDG&E San Diego CountyPG&E North & Central CaliforniaArizona Public Service Urban AZMarin Clean Energy Marin County, CA
EntityPublic Utility
(CPUC)
Public Utility (CPUC)Public Utility
(Az. PUC)
Energy buying co-operative
No. Customers1.4 million meters5.1 million electric customers1.2 million customers470,000 customers
No. Power Outages on Aug.18- 7:15pm3992Not disclosed
Outage to Customer Ratio1 outage per 466,6671 outage per 51,5151 outage per 600,000Not stated
No. Community Choice Power Co-Operatives02101
Percent Green Power43%39%10% hydro + solar61% solar 13% hydro 74% total
Percent Nuclear Power0%34%22%0%
Coal Power0%0%18%0%
Natural Gas29%0 to 17%50%0%
Other – imports or RECS28%6%0%26%

Solarization Caused Power Shortage in Nearby States

What happened in the 2020 California blackouts is that the ISO Energy Balancing Market could not find enough alternative sources of imported power to serve PG&E during the heat wave because other nearby states had also shifted to using intermittent solar power and needed their reserves for their own customers. 

SDG&E, however, relied on 43 percent green power but avoided widespread blackouts while PG&E with 39 percent green power did not.  Marin Green Power, located in PG&E’s service area and dependent on its transmission/distribution line system, for example, depended on 74 percent of its power from solar and hydropower, both of which were in short supply during the heat wave.

The apparent difference between SDG&E and PG&E can be attributed to the greater proportion of decentralized green power cooperatives (confusingly called Community Choice Aggregators or CCA’s) in PG&E’s service area that relied on a greater percentage of green power. 

Preceding the blackouts, CCA’s had refused to comply with the ISO orders to buy more reliable gas power.  Stephen Berberich, then President of the Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) was critical of CCA’s not complying with orders from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to buy more adequate reliable power:

“The CPUC’s order for utilities and other “load-serving entities”, such as community-choice aggregators, to procure 3,300 megawatts of resource adequacy has so far been met with contracts to build battery systems to store solar power for injection into the grid in the evening.”

However, later Berberich contradicted himself, saying green power was not the culprit behind the heat wave power shortage. Berberich could not say otherwise because he created the ISO’s Western Energy Imbalancing Market that mis-assumed that backup imported power would always be available during heat waves. So, California’s explanations for the blackouts suffer from a case of selective perception.

The ISO asserted it was not grid congestion or downed power lines from wildfires, but a true lack of available power plants to come online when other plants failed, causing the shortage.  I obtained PG&E’s power logs from days when blackouts occurred, and it was mainly a loss of 1,000 megawatts of wind power and the unplanned shut down of natural gas power plants that precipitated the in-state problem. 

Contributing to the blackouts was that California depends on 25 percent of imported power from other states especially during sunset hours each day (Duck Curve), mainly hydropower to reduce smog in air basins. But the entire southwest was hot, leaving little surplus power available anywhere.

The crux of the power shortage resulting in blackouts in the summer of 2020 was a withholding of imported backup power from the market due to expansion of solar power in nearby states.  Moreover, contrary to the three lobbyists, it is green power, not natural gas power plants, that will be environmentally and economically obsolete in the near future (Part 2 of this article will be published Sunday, May 9).

Wayne Lusvardi, a recent émigré from California, temporarily resides in San Antonio, Texas, and worked on a task force dealing with the California Energy Crisis of 2001 for California’s largest urban water agency.

California #50 (again) in Chief Executive Mag’s Best & Worst States For Business 2021

In 2020, Tesla founder Elon Musk announced he had enough of California’s lockdowns and left California for Austin Texas, and took more than 10,000 jobs with him.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced its global headquarters move to Houston, Texas from California.

Oracle announced they had already moved their headquarters from Redwood City to Austin, Texas. Other big businesses already left California: Toyota Motor North America, Kubota Tractor Corp., Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr., Charles Schwab, Jamba Juice.

We know why California companies leave for other states: Chief Executive Magazine reports year after year that when CEOs across the country are surveyed, they name California as the worst state in the country in which to have to do business. California has the highest-in-the-nation taxes, one of the highest business tax climates, with the last Tax Foundation ranking California at No. 49 – the second worst in the nation, ahead only of New Jersey.

“For the 17th year in a row, Texas tops Chief Executive’s Best and Worst States for Business list. Number two? Florida, once again. And once again—yawn—California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts pile up at the bottom of our rankings.”

Chief Executive magazine graphic, The 2021 Best & Worst States For Business. (Photo: screen capture)

Chief Executive reports that even with the COVID panic and pandemic across the country, the states which remained mostly open for business, or worked closely with businesses on safety protocols, rather than shutting all industries down, fared much better in the 2021 survey.

The criteria CEOs use in ranking states are tax policy (37 percent rank it first), regulatory climate (35 percent) and talent availability (25 percent)—Texas and Florida outclass all comers, Chief Executive Magazine says.

Texas – #1

“For the 17th year in a row, Texas tops Chief Executive’s Best and Worst States for Business list, despite the freak mid-February winter storm and collapse of its power system. ‘These things aren’t going to affect our standing at all,’ Governor Greg Abbott tells Chief Executive. ‘People know one-off events occur, and what matters most is what our response is. Texas is responding very aggressively and strongly and will ensure a stable power-grid system that will be the most robust in the United States,’ especially after the state legislature finishes grappling with solutions in May.”

Florida – #2

“The Sunshine State is the clear winner in last year’s economic perception derby. Jonathan Chariff, CEO of South Motors Group, says Florida’s response to the pandemic has been ‘a tremendous factor,’ in his decision to expand there—some $40 million in new BMW and Honda dealerships in Miami. ‘Florida is blowing up. Except for the extra traffic, it’s great.’”

South Dakota – #12

“South Dakota, where Governor Kristi Noem was defiant about allowing businesses in her state to carry on, jumped 12 spots to No. 12 thanks to national headlines—and praise from business leaders. ‘We’ve been free to operate as we choose, not just through the pandemic, but long before as well,’ says Travas Uthe, CEO of Trav’s Outfitter, a big-box outerwear store in Watertown, South Dakota.”

Rhode Island – #37

“Rhode Island, which maintained a more open attitude than its neighbors, climbed to No. 37 from No. 40. ‘We never shut down our manufacturing sector or construction activities, which was rare among the states, because we partnered quickly with industry on safety protocols,’ says Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island’s commerce secretary.”

Rounding out the bottom:

#44 Oregon, #45 Massachusetts, #46 Washington, #47 New Jersey, #48 Illinois, #49 New York and California… some of these Democrat-controlled states are still in COVID lockdowns, or are partially locked down.

California – #50

“At the bottom? The usual bunch,” Chief Executive reports. “Despite powerful human capital, high costs remain a turnoff.”  Gas is up over $4.00 per gallon again in the Golden State, groceries are up more than 10%, businesses are still not allowed to open fully or operate at 100% capacity, there is high unemployment with millions of jobs lost, and expect energy prices to also go up with Gov. Newsom’s executive order to ban all new fracking permits in California by 2024; the governor has also said that the state is considering halting all oil extraction in the state by 2045.

Up For Grabs: The Best & Worst States For Business 2021

This article originally published by the California Globe.

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?

Half of Americans Say Their Tax Payments Are Too High, Poll Shows

Half of Americans say their federal taxes are too high, a slight uptick from the previous average of 45 percent over the past three years, according to a poll released on Thursday.

Less than two weeks from the deadline to file federal taxes, the Gallup poll found 50 percent found them too high, while 44 percent said they were just about right, and 4 percent said their tax payments were too low.

The survey also asked respondents whether they thought the amount they paid was fair: 55 percent agreed and 43 percent disagreed.

The poll showed the number of Americans who think their income taxes are too high began to fall after former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts in 2001. …

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

Court Upholds Gov. Newsom’s Use of Emergency Powers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s use of emergency powers to make far-reaching policies during the pandemic was upheld Wednesday by state appellate judges who rejected a lower court finding that the Democrat had done too much unilaterally.

Three judges from the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento ruled unanimously that the prior judge “erred in interpreting the Emergency Services Act to prohibit the Governor from issuing quasi-legislative orders in an emergency.”

“We conclude the issuance of such orders did not constitute an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power,” Presiding Justice Vance Raye wrote in ruling on a lawsuit brought by Republican state legislators.

The court already had stayed the earlier ruling by Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman that Newsom unconstitutionally usurped the Legislature’s power. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press.

Oversight Board Upholds Facebook’s Ban of Trump

Facebook-appointed panel of journalists, activists and lawyers on Wednesday upheld the social network’s ban of former President Donald J. Trump, ending any immediate return by Mr. Trump to mainstream social media and renewing a debate about tech power over online speech.

Facebook’s Oversight Board, which acts as a quasi-court over the company’s content decisions, ruled the social network was right to bar Mr. Trump after the insurrection in Washington in January, saying he “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.”The panel said that ongoing risk “justified” the move.

But the board also kicked the case back to Facebook and its top executives. It said that an indefinite suspension was “not appropriate” because it was not a penalty defined in Facebook’s policies and that the company should apply a standard punishment, such as a time-bound suspension or a permanent ban. The board gave Facebook six months to make a final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status. …

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