Tag Archive: California Taxes

Feb 04 2013

The California Flap: February 4, 2013

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Victor Davis Hanson warns Californians of higher user fees and traffic tickets to pay for California government

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 is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to today’s California headlines:

  • California Tax Move May be at the Local Level – Despite talk in Sacramento that pro-tax advocates might want to push for more statewide tax increases, the move to raise revenue through tax increases well could focus on local governments. Governor Jerry Brown has been clear that he wants the state to live within its means. The state already secured two tax increases through Propositions 30 and 39 last November.While the schools and state agencies will see revenue from those ballot propositions, local governments feel left out. Moreover, the governor’s pledge to keep a reign on the state finances does not reference local taxes.Already, legislation has been introduced to make it easier to raise local taxes. Bills to lower the two-thirds vote for earmarked local taxes have been introduced to allow for 55-percent votes for schools and libraries. Transportation interests are also waging a campaign to get a lower standard to pass transportation measures.
  • California lawmaker wants to banish sugary drinks from CalFresh menu – Californians who get help under CalFresh, the food stamps program, may soon be put on a diet by state lawmakers, who are considering barring use of the benefits to buy sugary sodas and other fattening beverages.State Sen. Michael J. Rubio (D-East Bakersfield) introduced legislation that proposes to modify the list of allowable food items that can be purchased under CalFresh to exclude many sweetened beverages containing more than 10 calories per cup.“With the diabetes and obesity epidemic in the Central Valley and throughout California, SB 134 is simply the first step in trying to reverse this alarming trend, particularly among children,” Rubio said.

    He said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “reports that over 20% of Californians are obese, but could well exceed 45% if trends continue.”

  • California abandons algebra requirement for eighth-graders – By falling in line with other states, California is abandoning its push for all eighth-graders to take algebra.Last month, the State Board of Education unanimously shifted away from a 15-year policy of expecting eighth-graders to take Algebra I. The state will allow them to take either Algebra I or an alternate course that includes some algebra. New state standardized tests will focus on the alternate course — the same one adopted by most states under the Common Core curriculum being rolled out across the nation.Supporters welcome the change as more in line with current practice, of schools offering two tracks of math for eighth-graders. But critics fear that the new standard will let schools avoid offering rigorous courses for all. They point to a report released last week showing that some schools are not placing black and Latino students in advanced math courses even when they’re prepared.

    The change is controversial because success in Algebra I is the single best predictor…

  • Bill would allow charging commercial properties a bigger parcel tax – A newly elected assemblymember has introduced a bill that could make parcel taxes more attractive to school districts by allowing them to impose different tax rates on residential and commercial properties.The bill, AB 59, by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would nullify a state Appeals Court ruling in December overturning an Alameda Unified School District parcel tax that levied one rate for residential and small commercial properties, and another for larger commercial properties. Bonta also represents Alameda.A product of Proposition 13, parcel taxes typically are a flat tax imposed on every real estate parcel regardless of its size or use. They are one of the few ways school districts can raise additional revenues on their own. Parcel taxes require a two-thirds majority to pass, although this year the Legislature will consider a constitutional amendment lowering the requirement to 55 percent.
  • Kevin L. James a Long Shot in Race for Mayor of Los Angeles – Kevin L. James, a conservative talk show host running for mayor of Los Angeles, was sitting in his campaign office recently pondering which was his bigger obstacle to victory: being openly Republican, or being openly gay.
  • California teachers pension fund faces $64 billion deficit – The trust fund that provides pensions to retired teachers has a $64 billion deficit and would need a $4.5 billion per year infusion of revenue to become fully solvent, according to a new internal study.The California State Teachers Retirement System produced the report in response to a legislative resolution.Its release came just days after the Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, indirectly chided Gov. Jerry Brown for ignoring “huge unfunded liabilities associated with the teachers’ retirement system and state retiree health benefits” in his new budget.
  • Vast Oil Reserve May Now Be Within Reach, and Battle Heats Up – Secure in this state’s history and mythology, the venerable Midway-Sunset oil field near here keeps producing crude more than a century after Southern California’s oil boom. Many of its bobbing pump jacks are relatively short, a telltale sign of the shallowness of the wells and the ease of extracting their prize.
  • Cardinal in Los Angeles Is Removed From Duties – Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who retired less than two years ago as the leader of the nation’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, was removed from all public duties by his successor, Archbishop José H. Gomez, as the church complied with a court order to release thousands of pages of internal documents that show how the cardinal shielded priests who sexually abused children.
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Jan 31 2013

The California Flap: January 31, 2013

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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 is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

Around the Capitol today:

Lawmakers are holding a press conference pledging their support for a federal immigration overhaul. Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, will be joined by Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens; Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella; Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo; Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento; and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo. Starting at 10:30 a.m. in room 317 of the State Capitol.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Controversial school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’ – The Napa Valley Unified School District had a quandary: The district needed a new high school in American Canyon, but taxpayers appeared unwilling to take the financial hit required to build it.So in 2009, the district took out an unusual loan – $22 million with no payments due for 21 years. By 2049, when the debt is paid, it will have cost taxpayers $154 million – seven times the amount borrowed.School board member Jose Hurtado said he stands by the deal. But if it were a mortgage, he acknowledged, “we would run.”Napa is one of at least 1,350 school districts and government agencies across the nation that have turned to a controversial form of borrowing called capital appreciation bonds to finance major projects, a California Watch analysis shows. Relying on these bonds has allowed districts to borrow billions of dollars while postponing payments in some cases for decades.
  • California taxes surge in January, report says – California was flooded with tax dollars in January, according to a new report, and the state received $5 billion more revenue this month than Gov. Jerry Brown had anticipated.The Wednesday report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office shows a stark reversal for the state budget. At the end of November, tax revenue had fallen almost $1 billion short in the current fiscal year, according to figures from Brown’s Department of Finance.Now the state appears to be $5 billion ahead, which could provide further evidence for the governor’s declaration that California has emerged from its financial crisis.The analyst’s office floated three possible causes for the surge in tax revenue. The most positive theory is also the simplest — the economy has improved and there’s more income to tax.The others are less optimistic. It’s possible that wealthy residents, fearful that federal budget negotiations would increase their taxes, decided to cash out investments early. If so, that means the s…
  • PPIC Poll: Californians fear shootings, support citizenship – A new statewide poll finds Californians fearful of mass shootings and strongly in favor of more gun control, while also supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.The poll from the Public Policy Institute of California released Wednesday night also finds more optimism about the state’s economy than at anytime since 2007.”Still,” says PPIC pollster and president Mark Baldassare, “many Californians are expressing concerns about the direction of the economy and the state budget situation.”But it’s the California reaction to recent news headlines that offers an early view on what could become potent political issues during the 2013 legislative season in Sacramento and next year’s statewide elections.65 percent of those polled say the government is not doing enough to regulate access to guns, and an equal number support a nationwide ban on semi-automatic style assault weapons.
  • PPIC Poll: Californians upbeat over future, budget plan – Californians are more optimistic about the future of the state than at any time since before the recession and are giving high marks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s budgeting approach after voters approved higher taxes to help balance the state budget, according to a poll released Wednesday.The Democratic governor’s job approval rating reached a record high 51 percent in the latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, with even a slim majority of Republicans giving a thumbs-up to his recent budget proposal.The poll also found broad support for increased gun controls and changes to current immigration laws that would allow a path to citizenship. A majority support the federal health care overhaul that already is under way in California.The percentage of adults who said the state is headed in the right direction was 51 percent, the first time a majority of people said that since January 2007.
  • For millionaire athletes, states with highest tax rates may not make the cut – Is Lefty’s stance on California’s tax hikes a sign of things to come for millionaire athletes?The Golden State’s new 13.3 percent income tax on top earners prompted golfer Phil Mickelson to say earlier this month he was considering a move, and according to the accountants who advise millionaire athletes, he was just saying what a lot of jocks were already thinking. Federal taxes on the top income bracket just rose by roughly 5 percent, and, while there’s nothing rich athletes can do about that, they are paying attention to which states dip into their game checks — and how much they take.“They’re going to have an exodus of people,” said John Karaffa, president of ProSport CPA, a Virginia-based firm that represents nearly 300 professional athletes, primarily in basketball and football. “I think they’ll see some [leave California] for sure. They were already a very high tax state and it’s getting to a point where folks have to make a business decision as well as a lifestyle decision.”
  • Legislation proposed to help California launch healthcare overhaul – The state Legislature gaveled in a special session on healthcare Monday, pushing forward with sweeping proposals to help California implement President Obama’s healthcare overhaul.The measures, including a major expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s public insurance program for the poor, would cement the state’s status as the nation’s earliest and most aggressive adopter of the federal Affordable Care Act. Beginning in January 2014, the law requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.Gov. Jerry Brown called the special session so healthcare bills that he signs can take effect within 90 days rather than next year.
  • Counties express concerns about Medi-Cal expansion – As state lawmakers propose a major expansion of Medi-Cal to help California implement President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, county officials are raising concerns that the proposal could siphon critical dollars from their safety-net programs.On Monday, legislative leaders in both houses sponsored bills that would dramatically expand the state’s public insurance program. Under the proposals, individuals earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level — or $15,415 a year — would be covered, potentially adding more than 1 million Californians to the Medi-Cal rolls.The federal government would subsidize costs for the first three years, phasing down to 90% afterward.Currently, counties receive state funding to care for the uninsured. But Gov. Jerry Brown has said that if the state were to administer the Medi-Cal expansion it may reduce the roughly $2 billion it gives to counties each year to cover the new costs. In his proposed budget, the governor said the state might also shift…
  • State ordered to pay back districts $1 billion for 20-year-old mandate – A state commission has ruled that the state must reimburse school districts about $1 billion in mandated special education costs dating back 20 years. But like many protracted mandate cases, the victory is largely one of principle. Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to include a small payback in next year’s budget, and the dollars will come from funding within Proposition 98, so it will essentially involve shifting education dollars around.The unreimbursed expenses are for intervention plans for special education students identified with behavior problems. In the early 1990s the State Board of Education, under orders from the Legislature, prescribed interventions that teachers should incorporate into individual education plans, known as IEPs, according to Paul Golaszewski, an analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s Office who has followed the case.
  • L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretary – L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretaryThe departure of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood raised new questions over what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would do if he is offered the job – either now or after July 1, when his term as mayor expires. | Also: Doug McIntyre on the mayor’s next moveVillaraigosa was in South Korea for the Special Olympics and is not expected to return until Thursday.
  • Phil Mickelson’s net state income tax increase: 83.6%!!!!! – Richard Rider, the dean of the small-government/low-tax movement in San Diego County, has come up with some stunning number-crunching on his blog:“Here’s the fact that EVERYONE (including me) initially undervalued concerning [Rancho Santa Fe pro golfer Phil] Mickelson and CA state income taxes. Starting in 2013, Mickelson’s NET state income tax has jumped 83.6%! And yes, this huge increase hits most Californians making more than $2 million income.“Here’s why. Until 2013, state income taxes were deductible for federalincome tax purposes. Starting in 2013, for the really rich, this deductibility largely goes away (as does deducting property taxes and many other deductions). For people with over $2 million of income, they lose 80% of such deductions.“With Proposition 30 passed in November, CA has raised its income tax on the wealthy by 29%. The combined tax increase is breathtaking. Do the math, and you find that in 2011 the net CA income tax for Mickelson was 6.7% In 2013 his net CA income tax is 12.3% — an increase of 83.6%.”This is mind-boggling. No wonder Phil said he was contemplating “drastic changes.”
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Jan 28 2013

The California Flap: January 28, 2013

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Thousand Oaks, California

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 is here.

An important deadlines to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Elections will bring a big shake-up on L.A. City Council – Voters across Los Angeles are poised to engineer the biggest shake-up on the City Council in a dozen years, sending seven newcomers into office in a series of contests that will unfold between March and July.Although the mayoral campaign has grabbed most of the attention this election year, with millions raised by the five leading candidates, the stakes are just as high for the city’s powerful 15-member legislative body.Term limits and other factors — illness and the election of a sitting councilman to higher office — have created the largest number of incumbent-free council races in more than a decade. Six current council members depart June 30 and a seventh — Tony Cardenas — already has moved to Congress.
  • Dan Walters: California pension funds still face huge liabilities – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has reported – with no small elation – that it has recouped virtually all of the $95 billion in investment losses it sustained during the global financial crisis.A steadfast investment strategy and a generally rising stock market are responsible for the recovery, CalPERS says.
    The good news comes just a few months after Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature enacted a pension reform plan they say will shrink the long-term liabilities of CalPERS and local pension systems.
  • Secret hearings in case of Chandra Levy slaying – A judge has been holding secret hearings in the case of the man convicted in the 2001 killing of Chandra Levy, the latest twist in a high-profile murder that went unsolved for years and captivated the public because of the intern’s romantic relationship with a California congressman.The meetings, held sporadically behind closed doors at the courthouse over the last several weeks, raise questions about what comes next in a criminal case that appeared resolved by the 2010 conviction of Ingmar Guandique. The illegal immigrant from El Salvador is now serving a 60-year prison sentence in Levy’s death, but the hearings could signal a problem with the prosecution of the case.
  • Brown puts former prisons critic atop oversight agency – Gov. Jerry Brown says it’s time for the federal courts to end their oversight of medical care and other operations within the California prison system, and he’s named a somewhat surprising ally to help him make the case.Jeffrey Beard, who testified four years ago that California’s prisons were dangerously overcrowded, began work last week as secretary of the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
  • California becoming less family-friendly – Sacramento lawmakers of both parties share some responsibility. The dominant progressives’ regulatory and tax agenda continues to reduce economic prospects for younger Californians, leading many young families to exit the state. In contrast, older Anglos, the bulwark of the now largely irrelevant GOP, are committed to massive property tax breaks because of Proposition 13. Add good weather and the general inertia of age, and it’s not surprising that families might flee as seniors stay.Other factors work against parents, prospective or otherwise. The knee-jerk progressive response to our demographic problems usually entails more money be sent to the schools.But they rarely include the student-oriented reform measures such as those enacted in New Orleans (where I am working as a consultant). The poor performance of public education, clear from miserable test results and dropout rates, makes raising children in California either highly problematic or, factoring the cost of private education, extremely expensive.
  • Mickelson and the Sports Star Tax Migration – America’s top-grossing golfer Phil Mickelson drove himself into a bunker on Jan. 20 when he said that federal and California state tax hikes had made him contemplate making “drastic changes” in his life—including, it was widely assumed, moving to a no-income-tax state such as Texas or Florida. But he was only stating publicly what many professional athletes are mulling privately.
  • Obamacare & California: State media ignore coming headaches – Gov. Jerry Brown’s eagerness for California to be the first state to implement the federal Affordable Care Act is being reported matter-of-factly by state newspapers. Completely absent is any big-picture explanation of what this will mean for health providers, companies and individuals in the Golden State. We’re less than a year away from the state implementing policies that give employers a financial incentive to stop providing health coverage and that give individuals, especially the young, an incentive to not buy health insurance. I wrote about these enormous looming headaches last week for the U-T San Diego editorial page:
  • California prison reform’s unintended consequences – The prison reform law that shifted responsibility for non-violent felons from the state to the counties is also affecting the management of more serious and violent offenders who have completed their prison terms, presenting a challenge for reform supporters and potentially undermining public support for the change.Since the passage of Assembly Bill 109, also known as prison realignment, people who violate the conditions of their parole go to jail rather than prison – including those with sex offenses and other serious and violent crimes on their records.But because of jail overcrowding, some county jails can’t house people for technical parole violations — including bad drug tests and missing appointments with parole agents. That lack of consequences can make it more difficult for parole agents to compel people to stay within the conditions of their release from prison and to keep track of offenders who are released from jail early.
  • LAUSD plans to add 1,000 new campus aides for security at elementary schools – The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to make more than 1,000 new hires to bolster security at hundreds of campuses in a move some critics have called “security on the cheap.”More than 400 LAUSD elementary school campuses are slated to receive 1,087 campus aides – a minimum of two on each campus – as early as March 1, LAUSD school board president Monica Garcia told the Daily News on Friday.The $4.2 million plan comes a month after the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. that killed 20 first-graders and six adults.

    “Another two people on each campus can help us maintain a safe environment that can ease the minds of our employees, parents and students,” Garcia said. “This way we can focus on reading and writing, teaching and learning.”

  • AEG, Koreatown developer help fund L.A. sales tax campaign – The developer of a proposed downtown Los Angeles football stadium and the company behind two planned apartment towers in Koreatown have provided about two-thirds of the funds for the group backing a half-cent sales tax increase in the city, according to the first report released in the campaign.The committee for Proposition A on the March 5 ballot reported that it had raised $185,000 by Jan. 19, with $100,000 coming from stadium developer Anschutz Entertainment Group. The City Council, which is seeking the tax increase to address a $220-million budget shortfall, approved AEG’s proposed stadium last year, which involves the demolition and reconstruction of a section of the city’s Convention Center.
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Jan 23 2013

The California Flap: January 23, 2013

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San Diego, California

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 is here.

Some important deadlines to remember:

  • January 25, 2013: Deadline to send bill ideas to the California Legislative Counsel for drafting.
  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Friends remember Bob Larkin, long-time Republican and Simi Valley activist – Bob Larkin, a gregarious, small business owner, who once headed the county’s Republican Central Committee and championed Simi Valley causes has died.Larkin, who served as the committee’s chairman in the early 1990s, was a moderate Republican who was critical of the very conservative branch of the party and in return received criticism for some of his opinions, but he was unwavering in his beliefs, friends recalled on Monday.

    “He was always dedicated to what he believed in,” former U.S. Congressman Elton Gallegly, a Simi Valley Republican, said. “He clearly was involved. He was not afraid of controversy. He was not afraid or taking a controversial opinion. He wasn’t one of these guys who was out on a soap box waiving his finger at anyone. He let people know what he thought.”

    Larkin, who was in his mid 70s, died over the weekend.

  • Amazon to build huge distribution center in Tracy – Amazon said Tuesday it will employ hundreds of full-time workers at a new million-square-foot distribution center it will develop in Tracy, part of its quest to provide next-day and same-day deliveries.”It’s great to be getting these jobs,” said Michael Ammann, CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership. “This is going to be a state-of-the-art facility. It is not just going to be a few people with forklifts in a warehouse. It is going to be a very sophisticated operation for Amazon.”

    Potentially 500 or more full-time Amazon employees could work at the Tracy site.

    Amazon in late 2012 opened a center to fill customer’s orders in San Bernardino. And in the Stanislaus County city of Patterson, Amazon is building a distribution center that could employ 350 to 400, according to estimates from the governor’s office and the city of Patterson.

  • Assembly Democrat wants grocery store ban on plastic bags – Assemblyman Marc Levine announced today he will revive a proposal banning all single-use plastic bags in California grocery stores.Under the proposal, most grocery retailers could no longer provide thin plastic bags for customers starting in 2015. For 18 months, retailers could offer paper bags made of recycled materials or reusable plastic bags for customers to bag their milk, eggs and other groceries.

    Starting in July 2016, grocery retailers could only provide reusable plastic bags, which many stores already offer at a fee. The new proposal, Assembly Bill 158, also leaves room for stores to provide recycled paper bags at a charge.

    Levine, a San Rafael Democrat in his first term, argues that the proposal would save marine life because he says single-use plastic bags account for roughly 10 percent of ocean debris. Environmental groups have backed similar bills in the past.

  • Herdt: Bob Larkin rang a bell; state GOP didn’t hear – Larkin died suddenly at his Westlake Village home on Saturday, and will be remembered as a civic-minded community leader in eastern Ventura County, as a dedicated businessman who continued to serve his customers every day until his death, a good-natured friend, a loving husband and a devoted golfer.
    As for his political epitaph, it can be written in four words: “I told you so.”

    Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, who benefited from Larkin’s support and mentoring, said recent history has proved Larkin to be something of a political prophet.

==========

R.I.P.

But, Herdt has the politics wrong and I will write about it another time.

  • Proposition 8: Backers of same-sex marriage ban make arguments to Supreme Court – Supporters of California’s Proposition 8 on Tuesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, firing the first legal volley of many to come before the justices hear arguments in the historic case in late March.In an 83-page brief, Proposition 8′s defenders decried a federal appeals court’s ruling last year declaring the 2008 gay marriage ban unconstitutional. California voters had a right to define “the vital social institution of marriage” as being between a man and a woman, the Proposition 8 legal team wrote.

    “In short, there is no warrant in precedent or precept for invalidating marriage as it has existed in California for virtually all of its history, as it was universally understood throughout this nation (and the world) until just the last decade, and as it continues to be defined in the overwhelming majority of states and nations,” they declared.

  • California sees a revenue bump after tax changes – After years of budget agony, California is seeing something strange this month: a heap of excess cash.The state is poised to finish January about $4 billion ahead of what forecasters expected in income taxes, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office – the biggest one-month overage that state fiscal experts can recall in recent memory.

    California also set a single-day record Jan. 16 when the Franchise Tax Board received $2.2 billion in taxes, mostly in payments from the 6 percent of filers who pay quarterly rather than have money deducted from paychecks.

  • Glendale City Council To Consider Gun Show Ban – City council members will consider a proposal Tuesday evening that would ban gun shows at the Glendale Auditorium.The Glendale Gun Show has been held at the auditorium since 1992 and is next scheduled to take place in March.

    Last year, three gun shows were held within city limits.

    City councilman Rafi Manoukian first suggested the proposal in December after the fatal shooting of 27 children and adults in Newtown, Conn.

    The council has several options for the ban: canceling rental contacts with the Glendale Gun Show for coming events, banning all gun sales on city property, and allowing the show to operate through the rest of 2013 and then enforcing a ban.

    But not all city residents believe a gun show ban will prevent violence.

  • Honda v. Khanna: Could Silicon Valley be ground zero for 2014 House Asian-American battle royale? – Ro Khanna — the former Obama Administration trade executive and Democratic rising star with a $1.2 million warchest — may be eying a big move: a House race against Democratic South Bay incumbent Mike Honda in 2014.That would be a 2014 Democrat v. Democrat battle worth watching.

    For one thing, it would represent a generational fight — pitting a 71-year-old, longtime political veteran of Japanese ancestry against a 35-year-old emerging leader of the South Asian Indo-American community, which is booming and flexing its muscle in the South bay.

    It would be a challenge of a longtime, traditional, respected Democratic labor favorite and party leader against an up and coming Democrat with tech saavy — and big Silicon Valley ties.

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Mar 08 2012

Poll Watch: California Governor Jerry Brown’s Tax Increase Proposal in Trouble

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California Governor Jerry Brown addressing the California Democratic Party in San Diego last month

Jerry Brown’s tax increase measure for the November ballot is not polling well.

Even though most Californians think the budget remains a big problem, just a slim majority of likely voters say they support Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiative for the November ballot, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Using the Democratic governor’s ballot title and summary for the first time, the poll found 52 percent of likely voters support temporarily raising the state sales tax and income tax on high-wage earners while 40 percent oppose doing so. Another 8 percent said they are undecided. That’s a drop from past surveys, which found majority support for his plan to temporarily raise taxes. PPIC found Brown’s proposal had 68 percent support in January, before the ballot language was finished.

Brown estimated that California faces a $9.2 billion deficit in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, which begins July 1, and has called for closing that shortfall with a near equal balance of spending cuts and the temporary tax increases he wants voters to approve in November. Most of the additional revenue from his tax initiative would go to K-12 education.

“A slim majority support Gov. Brown’s proposed tax initiative,” said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute. “Of those who plan to vote against it, most also say that their local governments have been affected a lot by recent state budget cuts and they would prefer to deal with the gap mainly through spending cuts.”

As I have said before, many of my friends in the Democratic stronghold of Los Angeles County feel the State of California must manage their tax money better and are leery of ANY tax increases. They say that all POLS claim an increase in taxes is temporary and then never repealed.

Also, the California economy is not well and people simply just don’t have the money to be spent on prisons and social welfare programs.

In many ways, California taxpayers are tired of being lied to and are tapped out. There is tax increase fatigue.

Brown’s measure may eek out a small victory in November, but with President Obama easily winning the popular vote some likely voters for this measure may never make it to the polls to vote.

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