Changing the Recycling Process Could Bring New Taxes

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

You can see it coming from a mile away. While the recycling program in California teeters on the precipice, expect solutions to fix it will involve more spending, including taxes.

The California Redemption Value, identified on your sales slip as CRV, is a fee placed on bottlers and canners that is passed through eventually to consumers. In turn, the charge is used as an incentive program for consumers to recycle by turning in their empty bottles and cans for money. Currently, the rates are a nickel for a container that holds less than 24 fluid ounces and a dime for containers that hold 24 fluid ounces or more.

Recent news reports on the closing of hundreds of recycling places by one company highlighted flaws in the recycling efforts. Mainly, but not exclusively, the fact that California’s recycling bulk product, which includes non-recyclable items, was sent overseas. However foreign ports are no longer interested in taking the stuff for financial reasons, among others. Chief problems are the cost of plastic bottle recycling doesn’t pay for itself and the sorting process to get the actual recycled goods is costly.

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The Trump-Inspired Tax Return Bill is Going to Court

Scott Lay
Publisher of The Nooner

The Supreme Court of California ordered the Secretary of State to show cause why the emergency writ of mandate to block SB 27 requested by the California Republican Party (CRP) and its chair Jessica Patterson should not be granted. The court asked attorneys from both sides to brief on a 1972 ballot measure, which added the “recognized” candidates, discussed below.

The timeline set forth by the court closes out briefings the week of September 16, so don’t anticipate a ruling before then. The federal Eastern District of California is scheduled for a hearing that Thursday, September 19 at 2pm.

I’ve written extensively that I believe that SB 27 violates the Qualifications Clause of Article II, Section 1 ¶5 and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. I between thinking of otter jokes yesterday, I read the CRP lawsuit and the state’s response to it. I do not expect a Supreme Court of California to grant the CRP’s motion for writ of mandate because of the language of Article II, Section 5(c) of the state constitution, which provides:

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A Small Business Success, and Some Reasons it Ended

Robin Salzer
Robin Salzer is a small business owner, a former City Council candidate, a former city commissioner, and founder of the Pasadena Hot Meal Program.

(Editor’s Note: Robin Salzer, who has contributed to this page in the past, closed his popular restaurant, Robin’s Wood Fire BBQ last weekend after 37 years in Pasadena. In an interview with the Pasadena Independent’s Terry Miller, Salzer had some things to say about his small business frustrations with government. Excerpts from the interview appear below.) 

“The most difficult aspect of a career in the food business has been dealing with government legislation written by [elected officials] who have absolutely no clue on how to run a small business. Often they write laws based not on what is needed or correct but on what makes them look good for the next level up. I’ve said many times that if these politicians had first worked in the customer service industry they most likely would be better as a politician. A good example of this is in how Mayor Tornek lost all credibility and respect from the Pasadena restaurant community in his misleading and mishandling of the Pasadena Minimum Wage Ordinance while running for election. His lack of communication skills, arrogance and temperament clearly show that he was not ready and equipped to handle an issue as impactful as the Pasadena Minimum Wage Ordinance.” 

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As Gun Control Efforts Advance in California Capitol, Opponents Bank on the Courts

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Brian Jones may be a California state senator, but as a Republican with an expansive view of the Second Amendment, he’s all but given up hope of holding back the wave of gun-control bills advancing in the Democratic-dominated Legislature.

Instead, like many like-minded advocates, he’s taking the fight to a more hospitable venue: the federal courts where, at last count, President Donald Trump has appointed about 17% of judges, including two on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

“The courts — unfortunately, in California, that’s what we’re left with,” said Jones, who represents inland San Diego County.

Meanwhile his Democratic colleagues in Sacramento — spurred by yet another round of mass shootings — are pushing nearly two dozen bills to expand and fortify the state’s already toughest-in-the-nation firearm laws. With little more than three weeks to go before the end of the 2019 legislative session, talks are underway with the legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office about a possible package.

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Harris’s Chances

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

A new national poll found California Senator Kamala Harris’s presidential bid faltering. The CNN poll shows she dropped 12-points since June taking just 5% of the current Democratic voters responding to the new survey. Harris has positioned herself between the far-left candidacies of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the “Old Reliable” campaign of former VP Joe Biden. Ironically, it’s a good place to be if, as could happen, Biden stumbles. But she’ll have to bounce back as the primary season heats up.

Kamala Harris hopes her home state and her position as favorite daughter propels her to the top of the Democratic presidential nomination race after California’s March primary. If she succeeds and Joe Biden comes up short, she would be a greater threat to President Trump than her more progressive rivals.

First, she has to show well in early caucus and primary states, particularly in South Carolina where she is putting in much time and effort. Her campaign hopes to gain strength from the large pool of African-American voters along with suburban women.  Yet, a poll in June showed African-American voters strongly backing Biden. The former Vice President has a commanding overall lead in the latest South Carolina polls with Harris fighting for third place with Bernie Sanders. 

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The New Split Roll Is Even Worse Than the Last

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

The newly filed split roll initiative is even worse than the last.

To be more precise, it’s even more complicated. Rather than splitting the property tax rolls between commercial and residential properties—hence, the name split roll—it actually breaks the roll into pieces. 

Call it splinter roll.

Specifically, the new initiative creates all kinds of exemptions and new rules so that the property tax rules for different commercial properties, depending on factors like the value of the property ($3 million is a big number in the initiative) or the percentage of a property is occupied by small businesses. The set-up will create all kinds of new arguments for the courts and new dodges for businesses trying to keep their property taxes low.

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Will The Democrats End Up Saving The California Republican Party?

Joel Kotkin
Editor of and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Left to its own devices, California’s Republican Party would be ready to be embalmed for display at the Museum of Natural History. But there’s one last hope for the state GOP: the growing lunacy among Democrats.

Many positions now taken for granted by Democrats should threaten their hold on the bulk of California’s middle- and working-class voters.

State policies that promote the idea of essentially open borders may not be popular even among Latinos born here or naturalized. Newsom’s move to expand Medi-Cal to illegal immigrants might not appeal to Californians at a time when the leading Democratic presidential candidates propose wiping out the private insurance held by the vast majority of unretired California households. Attacking the choices of middle-class residents, who tend to vote, in favor of greater generosity to undocumented immigrants who don’t may not be the most brilliant electoral strategy.

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Prop 13 Withstands Legislative Attack, Sign a Big Tax Deal will be Hard

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Governor Gavin Newsom says he wants to cut a deal to restructure California’s tax system— that would include changes to the legendary taxpayer protection measure, Proposition 13. But when the supermajority Assembly Democrats on Monday could not rally enough support to put a Prop 13 change on the ballot, you understand that such a task will be as difficult as predicted by Newsom’s predecessor, Jerry Brown. Even in left-charging, tax and spend California, the tax issue and Proposition 13 still have power.

The constitutional amendment up for a vote was ACA 1 that would reduce some local tax passing requirements for bonds and parcel taxes from a two-thirds vote to 55%. The final tally in the Assembly was 44 yes, 20 no, with 15 abstentions. The measure being a constitutional amendment, it needed 54 votes to clear the Assembly and fell considerably short.

Support for the bill came from those who want to make it easier to raise local taxes and claim that majority votes should rule in a democracy. 

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Housing California Doesn’t Have to be So Hard

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

When the first new home in the Centennial housing development goes on sale in 2021 it will have been 27 years since the project was submitted for local approval.  That’s over a quarter century, well more than two decades. It’s a full generation, or six college graduations. And, for many, it’s nearly half a lifetime.

With this in mind, it’s not a wonder why housing enthusiasts scoff at Governor Newsom’s expectation of constructing 3.5 million new units by 2025.  Instead, this report may help explain why housing starts are severely lagging this year.

It certainly isn’t good for a supply-starved California. 

We are all too familiar with the expense and difficulty of building higher-density housing in the state’s job centers.  So, to meet the need of working Californians – and to do it affordably – developers are forced to prospect previously undeveloped areas.  That’s where the trouble starts.  

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Insurers Respond to Dept. of Insurance Fire Non-renewal Data

Mark Sektnan and Rex Frazier
Mark Sektnan is Vice President for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association and Rex Frazier is President of the Personal Insurance Federation of California.

(Editor’s Note: The California Department of Insurance issued data that disclosed over four years, over 340,000 homeowners were dropped by insurance companies. in high fire risk areas. According to a Sacramento Bee article covering the issue, “The non-renewals increased by 6 percent last year, translating into 88,187 homeowners forced to find replacement coverage in 2018 alone — often at much higher prices.” In response to the data release, Mark Sektnan, vice president for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) and Rex Frazier, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of California (PIFC) issued the following reaction in a press release.)

“Recent data released by the California Department of Insurance shows a slight increase in the number of homeowners policies being non-renewed in the areas impacted by recent wildfires and in those areas with the highest risk of devasting wildfire.   The data, however, does not address the most important question — was the homeowner able to obtain insurance from another carrier? The data shows that in high-to-moderate areas the non-renewal rate has held steady at 2% (2.1% in 2015; 2% in 2016; 1.9% in 2017; 2% in 2018).  For new policies, we see that carriers continue to write a significant number of policies in these areas.

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