Tag Archive: California Proposition 31

Aug 13 2012

California 2012 Propositions: Democrats Vs. Republicans – Part 1

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With the recent California Republican Party Convention over the past weekend in Southern California, endorsements are now complete for both California political parties.

I will summarize a few of the propositions in this post and highlight the contrast between the Democrats and GOP.

Proposition 30: Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment

Increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. Increases sales and use tax by ¼ cent for four years. Allocates temporary tax revenues 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. Bars use of funds for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are to be spent. Guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state revenues over the next seven fiscal years. Estimates of the revenue increases vary—from $6.8 billion to $9 billion for 2012-13 and from $5.4 billion to $7.6 billion, on average, in the following five fiscal years, with lesser amounts in 2018-19. These revenues would be available to (1) pay for the state’s school and community college funding requirements, as increased by this measure, and (2) address the state’s budgetary problem by paying for other spending commitments. Limitation on the state’s ability to make changes to the programs and revenues shifted to local governments in 2011, resulting in a more stable fiscal situation for local governments. (12-0009)

Democrats: Yes

Republicans: No

Proposition 31: State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Establishes two-year state budget cycle. Prohibits Legislature from creating expenditures of more than $25 million unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified. Permits Governor to cut budget unilaterally during declared fiscal emergencies if Legislature fails to act. Requires performance reviews of all state programs. Requires performance goals in state and local budgets. Requires publication of all bills at least three days prior to legislative vote. Gives counties power to alter state statutes or regulations related to spending unless Legislature or state agency vetoes changes within 60 days. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Decreased state revenues and commensurate increased local revenues, probably in the range of about $200 million annually, beginning in 2013-14. Potential decreased state program costs or increased state revenues resulting from changes in the fiscal authority of the Legislature and Governor. Increased state and local costs of tens of millions of dollars annually to implement new budgeting practices. Over time, these costs would moderate and potentially be offset by savings from improved program efficiencies.

Democrats: No

Republicans: Yes

Proposition 32: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.

Restricts union political fundraising by prohibiting use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Same use restriction would apply to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Permits voluntary employee contributions to employer or union committees if authorized yearly, in writing. Prohibits unions and corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidates and candidate-controlled committees. Other political expenditures remain unrestricted, including corporate expenditures from available resources not limited by payroll deduction prohibition. Limits government contractor contributions to elected officers or officer-controlled committees. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state implementation and enforcement costs of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, potentially offset in part by revenues from fines.

Democrats: No

Republicans: Yes

As you can see, with the first three propositions, the Democrats and Republicans are exactly opposite.

Californians need to read these ballot measures closely, since they deal with the issues that the Governor and Legislature deem too hot to handle.

The POLS prefer to allow either the Capitol special interests or their special interest surrogates to carry the political ball.

I will deal with the remainder of the California Propositions in subsequent posts.

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Jul 18 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: July 18, 2012

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San Bernardino, California

The California Legislature is not in session for a summer recess.

The California Assembly has adjourned until August 6, 2012 and the California State Senate is also in adjournment.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

SAN BERNARDINO: Bankruptcy decision back before the council

The San Bernardino City Council will meet again Wednesday to consider a declaration of fiscal emergency and an authorization to proceed with filing for bankruptcy.

Council members delayed making a decision after a more than three-hour hearing Monday, July 16, where many residents and city employees urged the city to seek an alternative.

But with concerns that the city will soon run out of cash and might not make its Aug. 15 payroll, city administrators say bankruptcy is the best course to buy the city some breathing room and get its finances in order.

Last week, the council majority agreed to seek bankruptcy protection due to a $45 million budget deficit. However, it must still approve a formal resolution authorizing the city attorney to file for bankruptcy.

Berman campaign puts Brandon Hall in charge

Brandon Hall, the Democratic strategist who joined the Howard Berman reelection campaign in March as a senior advisor, is taking full charge of everything, campaign sources say. That would be a big and serious shift in approach by Berman, who for decades kept his political campaign machinery tightly in the hands of his brother Michael.

Michael Berman’s deft targeting of voter segments and his media strategy have provided all the firepower and campaign guidance that the veteran congressman needed in the past. But this year, Howard Berman is in the reelection fight of his life. He’s up against another Democratic congressman, Brad Sherman, in a race that’s turning out to be the most closely watched and expensive intra-party battle in the country. In the June primary, Sherman finished ahead of Berman by ten points in the San Fernando Valley district they now share due to reapportionment.

Hall, who moved to Los Angeles with the reputation of having saved Nevada Senator Harry Reid’s skin when his 2010 reelection was in doubt, was in charge of Berman’s day to day operations during the primary campaign. He now will take over the Berman media strategy, messaging and all other key elements. In addition, for the first time in a long while, if ever, the Berman camp is employing an outside pollster. The Democratic pollsters Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin & Metz will now be helping out, a source close to the campaign confirmed.

Pension funds seriously underfunded, studies find

Corporate and public pension funds across the country are seriously underfunded, threatening the retirement security of workers and straining the financial health of state and local governments, according to a pair of independent studies.

In 2011, company pensions and related benefits were underfunded by an estimated $578 billion, meaning they only had 70.5% of the money needed to meet retirement obligations, according to a report by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Funds generally don’t need to have all the money needed pay future pensions because returns on investments vary over the years and people retire at different ages and with different levels of benefits, experts said. But a funding level in the 70% zone is considered dangerously low.

The looming shortfall, and the move by corporations to 401(k)-type plans in which the level of investment is controlled by employees, could keep many aging baby boomers from retiring, said Howard Silverblatt, a senior S&P Dow Jones Indices analyst and the report’s author.

“The American dream of a golden retirement for baby boomers is quickly dissipating,” Silverblatt said. “Plans have been reduced and the burden shifted with future retirees needing to save more for their retirement.

“For many baby boomers it may already be too late to safely build up assets, outside of working longer or living more frugally in retirement.”

Bid to curb union spending gets big Democratic backer

Proposition 32 just got a big Democratic voice.

Former state Sen. Gloria Romero, a Los Angeles Democrat, announced her support this week for the November ballot measure that would ban the practice of political contribution by payroll deduction, the primary method labor unions use to raise political cash.

“As someone who has been on the political front lines in Sacramento, I’ve seen first hand how special interests control the political process,” Romero said in a statement. “Through their vast resources, special interests are able to hold lawmakers hostage to their agenda. This isn’t a partisan or ideological issue — all Californians deserve elected officials who will work for them, rather than special interests.”

In some ways, Romero’s support is not surprising. Throughout her tenure in Sacramento she battled publicly with some of the state’s most powerful unions, namely the California Teachers Assn. and the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. In her statement, she cited education legislation that died in the Legislature because of union opposition.

Supporters note that Proposition 32 prohibits both unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates. Opponents argue that the measure disproportionately harms unions, which get most of their money through payroll deductions, and does nothing to curb the influence of independent committees and so-called super PACs, which are playing a burgeoning role in elections this year.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters Daily video: California’s battle over taxes is heating up

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