Tag Archive: California Proposition 32

Sep 19 2012

The Ad Wars Begin for California Proposition 32 – Paycheck Protection

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California Propisition 32 Ad

The ad wars have begun on California Proposition 32, the Paycheck Protection initiative.

If approved, Proposition 32 will:

  • Ban both corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates
  • Ban contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them
  • Ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics

$ millions will be spent at this blatant attack on the funding of public employee unions who derive their political power by withholding dues from their employee’s paychecks.

When these unions want to push their political agenda (mostly to the LEFT), they simply ding their employees for a little more money.

The last few polls I have seen, this measure is passing. But, the unions have yet to begin their media saturation with non-stop television ads.

Here is the ad:

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Sep 14 2012

California Proposition 32 “Paycheck Protection” Passing 53% Vs. 37% in latest CBRT Pepperdine Poll

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California Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” Initiative is handily winning in the latest CBRT Pepperdine poll.

The poll found support for Proposition 30 holding steady, a slight drop in support for Proposition 32. “This poll shows that as the opposition to Proposition 32 begins its statewide campaign, the measure has lost some support,” said Dr. Michael Shires, Pepperdine University. “It seems some of the messages in the advertisements are sticking with voters. However, the ‘yes’ campaign is yet to launch their campaign which should impact the measure’s support.”

The election advertising deluge is just starting, but most Californians probably don’t like the idea of their paychecks being held hostage to their unions.

Now, whether the public employee and other unions can persuade their members and others to support forced withdrawals when given the choice is another story.

I say that employees should be given a choice over their own paychecks and say YES on California Proposition 32.

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Aug 14 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: August 14, 2012

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Mission San Francisco de Asís

Good Tuesday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

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

On to today’s California headlines:

Judge orders changes to Prop. 32 language

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge on Monday ordered the secretary of state to change language on the November ballot describing Proposition 32, the initiative that promises to eliminate special-interest money in politics.

According to the new ballot label, the measure “prohibits” unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates, as well as using payroll deduction to raise political cash. The label initially used the word “restricts.” The backers of Proposition 32 had argued that the original language, as determined by the attorney general’s office, was misleading.

“Voters deserve to be informed that Prop. 32 doesn’t just reduce direct contributions from corporations and unions to politicians, it eliminates them entirely,” said spokesman Jake Suski.

Judge Michael P. Kenny, however, denied another request by Proposition 32’s supporters to strike key language from the measure’s title and summary in state-printed voter materials. Backers had targeted a phrase that notes: “Other political expenditures remain unrestricted, including corporate expenditures from available resources not limited by payroll deduction prohibition.”

That’s the argument at the heart of the union-backed opposition campaign, which has been running statewide radio ads denouncing the initiative as “a deceptive proposition stuffed with special exemptions” for businesses.

Unions lost a separate challenge to ballot language that they said could mislead voters into thinking payroll deductions can be used with workers’ written permission. All payroll deduction is barred under the measure

ONLINE POKER: Legislation faces tough odds before deadline

Divisions among tribes with successful casinos have stacked the odds against legislation to legalize and license online poker in California, with less than three weeks left in the two-year session.

Some tribes support the proposal co-authored by the Senate’s top Democrat. Others support the concept but want changes to the legislation. And some tribes oppose the idea, saying it risks eating into the business of bricks-and-mortar casinos legalized by voters in 1998 and 2000.

Bill to close corporate tax loophole moves forward

Middle class Californians will get relief from soaring college costs if a bill passed by the Assembly Monday becomes law.

AB1500 would eliminate a $1 billion tax break for out-of-state corporations and use the expected windfall to reduce tuition.

It is the second component of Assembly Speaker John Perez’s “Middle Class Scholarship Act.” The Assembly previously approved the other part, which would reduce tuition by more than half for families whose annual household income exceeds the cap for getting a free ride at California’s public universities ($70,000 a year for the California State University system and $80,000 for University of California system) but is less than $150,000.

The Legislature approved the tax loophole in 2009 as a way to get a handful of Republican lawmakers to vote for the state budget.

On Monday, Republican Assembly members objected to what they described as an attempt by Democrats to undo the previous budget deal.

“This wasn’t a loophole, it was a product of careful, extensive negotiations and promises,” said Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine. “Promises made by one side of the aisle to secure the votes that they needed from the other side of the aisle. Promises that have now been completely undone.”

But Perez, D-Los Angeles, said there was no use preserving a two year-old status quo where “you are getting kicked in the head by other states.”

“This will help California businesses remain competitive while ensuring that California’s middle-class families have the same opportunities to succeed as our generation had,” he said.

The 2009 tax loophole deal allowed companies operating in multiple states to choose the cheaper of two formulas for calculating their tax liability in California. They can use an option that considers sales, property and payroll, or a formula that considers only sales.

Perez’s bill would force corporations to use only the sales factor. At least 11 other states, including Texas and New York, require that corporations calculate their tax obligations this way.

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, passed a single-sales requirement through the Assembly, but his measure failed to get GOP support in the Senate. Republicans say the change could drive job creating corporations out of California.

AB1500 passed the Assembly 54-25, barley meeting the two-thirds threshold. Assemblyman Brian Nestande, of Palm Desert, was the lone Republican supporter.

“I’m putting forth my vote to say we need to come together and work on some of these issues to bring businesses back to California,” he said.

Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, an independent, also voted yes.

California scrambles to pay its bills with more borrowing

Embedded in a Monday report from the California controller is a statistic showing just how much the state is straining to pay its bills before November’s vote on higher taxes.

Controller John Chiang, who manages the state’s cash flow, finished July with more than $18 billion in outstanding loans after using high-speed accounting to cover day-to-day expenses. That means he would borrow some money from the state’s 500-plus “special” funds, used it to pay a bill and promised to repay it later when more tax revenue rolls in.

It’s a standard maneuver, especially at the beginning of the fiscal year, when expenses outpace revenues. But the controller leaned more heavily than usual on this tactic last month, tapping 81% of the money available for short-term borrowing, up from 48.4% in July 2011.

A spokesman for the controller, Jacob Roper, had a matter-of-fact explanation for the borrowing: “That’s the amount of special fund borrowing necessary to carry out the state’s budget.”

The $18 billion in outstanding loans includes $9.6 billion left over from June, as well as $8.5 billion in new borrowing in July.

Cities refuse to hand over redevelopment money

Twenty-seven cities have not forked over all of the redevelopment money the state says they owe, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

The state says the cities owe $129 million total, but they’ve only returned $6.7 million.

The dispute involves an accounting shuffle that helps close the state’s $15.7-billion budget deficit. Because redevelopment agencies are being dissolved this year, Brown wants to shift $3.1 billion to schools, helping offset the state’s obligation to fund education.

Right now the state is trying to secure the first wave of money -– local tax revenue that officials say was mistakenly paid to redevelopment agencies in the first six months of 2012.

The Brown administration set a target of $685 million and has threatened financial penalties if cities don’t pay up, but they may not meet their goal.

“It may be half of that amount. It may be a third of that amount,” said Marianne O’Malley of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which has repeatedly warned that there may not be as much redevelopment money available as expected.

Enjoy your morning!

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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 24 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: July 24, 2012

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks to Beverly Oncology and Imaging CEO Ruth Lopez Novodor during a small-business roundtable during a campaign stop at Endural LLC, Monday, July 23, 2012, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)

Good Tuesday morning!

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:

Some investors worry Fresno might be California’s next bankrupt city

The recent bankruptcy filings of three California cities have U.S. investors worried that Fresno could be next to go down this road, according to a major Wall Street financial house.

Vikram Rai, strategist with Citigroup Inc., said bond investors are increasingly asking about the financial health of Fresno out of concern that the city will seek court protection from its debt obligations and that millions of investment dollars will be lost.

Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes have filed for bankruptcy protection this summer.

“Investors worry about contagion,” Rai told the Bee. “Many California cities are in a tough situation.”

Fears about Fresno in the trading world were reported in Citigroup’s investment strategy report, which this month said that “the harsh spotlight (of potential bankruptcy) has shifted to Fresno.”

More layoffs coming at Cisco Systems

Continuing to trim expenses amid growing competition and the sluggish economy, San Jose networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) said Monday it will lay off about 1,300 employees, a year after announcing 6,500 job cuts.

The layoffs come as Cisco’s sales have been relatively flat the past four quarters and some analysts doubted that they reflect a general weakening of the overall tech economy. However, others said the soured economic climate could have been a factor.

“We’re seeing slowing demand for IT equipment across the board,” said Brent Bracelin, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. Asked if it’s possible that Cisco might have to let more of its workers go, Bracelin said, “it depends on how much demand slows.”

Cisco’s own explanation gave few details.

“We are performing a focused set of limited restructurings that will collectively impact approximately 2 percent of our global employee population,” according to Cisco representative Kristin Carvell, noting that the company had 65,223 workers as of May when it reported its third-quarter earnings.

She added that the layoffs “are part of a continuous process of simplifying the company, as well as assessing the economic environment in certain parts of the world.”

Dan Walters: Prop. 32 will be a test for California voters

Warring factions will spend untold millions of dollars on political propaganda to sway California voters on Proposition 32 this year, and while each denounces the other as a pack of scoundrels, neither likes the media’s capsule description, “paycheck protection.”

Twice before, in 1998 and 2005, voters rejected measures that would restrict unions from collecting political funds via payroll deductions, so backers came up with a new wrinkle in 2012.

They expanded it into a ban on direct contributions to political candidates from both unions and corporations, while continuing to prohibit payroll deductions without specific permission from union members or corporate employees.

That means, its sponsors say, that it’s an evenhanded restriction on both labor and management, so the term “paycheck protection” no longer applies.

ut opponents contend that the corporate restrictions have loopholes so the real effect is still to curb union political power. And they prefer the term “special protections act.”

Whatever the term, it’s clearly part of a nationwide effort by conservative groups to hamstring union political influence. Several other states have adopted similar laws, and anecdotally, they appear to have sharply reduced the political money that unions, especially public employee unions, can collect.

The real issue for voters, therefore, is whether they believe unions have an unfair advantage in gathering money from payroll deductions to spend on friendly politicians, or whether restricting such fundraising would unfairly limit their ability to participate in politics.

El Monte seeks sugary-drink tax to shore up budget

Faced with a crippling combination of low revenues, high labor costs and decreasing funding from the state, El Monte is moving to declare a fiscal emergency and seek a tax on sugary beverages sold within the city.

The moves come as the city attempts to stave off the financial problems facing a number of cities across California. So far this summer, three cities — Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes — have moved to seek bankruptcy protection, and Compton officials announced the city could run out of cash in a matter of months.

El Monte officials said they are not at the edge of bankruptcy but need the sugary drinks tax revenue as a protection against insolvency down the road. In a sign of growing concern, Fitch downgraded portions of El Monte’s debt in May.

“People are looking for who’s the next one [to declare bankruptcy]. El Monte is not the next one … not today, not now,” Finance Director Julio Morales said. “What we’re doing is financial planning. We’re trying to take the right steps.”

The declaration of a fiscal emergency, which El Monte’s council members will consider at a meeting Tuesday, would allow the city to hold a special election this fall for the tax proposal, Morales said. If approved by voters, the tax would collect one cent per ounce of “sugar sweetened” drinks sold. It could generate as much as $7 million in total annual revenues, according to a city report.

The San Gabriel Valley suburb, which has a population of more than 113,000, was hit hard by the Great Recession. Car dealerships that had provided a steady stream of tax revenues struggled. Several folded.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters Daily video: Parks scandal could hurt Brown’s tax measure

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