All Taxes Are Temporary

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)

Here’s yet another example that California politics is an entirely different universe that is decidedly not our own: the debate over “permanent” versus “temporary” tax increases.

The context is the 2016 ballot and the various tax-hiking ballot initiatives that may or may not end up on it. Temporary taxes are thought to be more popular, and political “wise men” (I use the quotes because many are women and many aren’t all that wise) advise people to make their tax hikes temporary. In response, anti-taxers warn darkly that temporary taxes end up being permanent.

A note to California political elites: this is stupid stuff, even for you.

I just got a text from Planet Reality and it says: all taxes are temporary.

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Is There a Willie Brown in Congress?

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

The battle in the Republican congressional caucus over choosing a leader just might open an opportunity for a strategic, politically savvy Democrat to take a shot at the speakership. Very unlikely, certainly, but the situation in Washington must remind some Californians of the wily moves by Democratic Speaker Willie Brown to keep hold the reins of power in the Assembly a couple of decades ago even when Republicans seemed to take the majority.

A little history.

First, let’s go back to Willie Brown first taking the speaker’s gavel as a surprise candidate in 1980. Assemblyman Howard Berman challenged fellow Democrat, Speaker Leo McCarthy, for the post. With the split of the Democratic members over who should take the speaker’s gavel, Brown was able to cobble together a deal securing Republican minority votes along with less than half the Democratic Assembly members to become speaker. Brown promised to consider Republicans for committee chairmanships and vice-chairmanships and also offered a budget for Republicans to create a team working on the decennial redistricting effort, then controlled by the legislature.

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Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Reform Cause for Optimism in Capitol

Assemblyman Tom Lackey
California State Assembly, 36th District

For all of the talk of partisan gridlock in Washington and the shortcomings of America’s political system, people would do well to take notice of what is happening here in California on an issue you would hardly expect bipartisan agreement.

Governor Brown recently signed a package of bills which will provide a statewide framework for medical marijuana—something that has been lacking since 1996 when voters first approved it.

I was proud to be part of this effort—not because I support marijuana use but instead because it was an opportunity for lawmakers to come together and work pragmatically toward a solution.

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Silicon Valley Moving Toward Alliance With Big Labor

Ed Ring
Executive Director, California Public Policy Center

Back in the late 1970’s something happened to the Santa Clara Valley. Increasingly it became referred to as the Silicon Valley, because the emerging silicon based semiconductor industry found its first home in plants nestled along the southern shores of the San Francisco Bay. Boasting what are among the finest universities in the United States – Stanford and Cal Berkeley – and the best weather in the world, high technology companies began choosing the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1940’s and never looked back. Where once there were endless orchards of Prune, Apricot and Cherry trees, a sprawling ecosystem of high tech companies and venture capital firms now attracts talent from everywhere on earth. The Silicon Valley became, and remains, the epicenter of the most dramatic technological advances in history.

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GO-Biz Kicks-Off a Series of Statewide Small Business Summits

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

(Editor’s Note—the following release on Small Business Summits was issued by the Governor’s GO-Biz Office) 

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) is holding a small business summit in Clovis on Tuesday, October 13, from 7:30 a.m. to noon, to help small business owners and entrepreneurs access resources to expand and add jobs.

It is part of a series of small business summits that will be held statewide, according to California Small Business Advocate Jesse Torres. “We are starting the summits in Clovis to help the center of the state continue to grow its economy and create jobs after the recession,” said Torres.

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Too Bad for Kevin McCarthy, Very Bad for California

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s problem in capturing the Speakership of the House of Representatives was bigger than the gaffe he made is describing the effect of the special Benghazi committee– although that certainly greatly contributed to his downfall. The fact that he could not unite a fractured GOP caucus that sees increasing fissures daily proved not only a hurdle for McCarthy but portends more dysfunction in Congress. That’s bad for the country.

McCarthy’s failure to secure the speaker’s office is also bad for California. Having the leadership of both parties resting with California representatives (San Francisco Representative Nancy Pelosi leads the Democrats) could possibly help the Golden State, which is often ignored by Washington, especially in the area of sending back money that California taxpayers pay into the national treasury.

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A New Political Power: Mod Squad & Business

Luke Phillips
Research Associate for the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and Senior Correspondent at Glimpse From the Globe

Another day, another story in the quixotic Green crusade to kneecap California’s lower and middle classes by jacking up the price of fossil fuel energy. The California Air Resources Board voted 9-0 two weeks ago to carry out the low-carbon fuel standard, a regulation requiring “a 10% cut in the carbon content of transportation fuels sold in the state by 2020.” As usual, California is leading the way over the cliff again- no other state in the country does this. Experts in the oil industry, of course, have been the first to protest- such a regulation will inevitably eat into their profits. But Big Oil isn’t the only player who will suffer. The millions of lower and middle class Californians who depend on moderate energy prices will ultimately pay for this new regulation in their gas receipts and utilities bills. The cost of living will rise, and social mobility will stall.

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Pension Reform Initiative Reworked

James Poulos
Staff Columnist, Orange County Register

The leaders of California’s pension reform movement have scrapped their previous effort, introducing two new schemes instead.

The news added a fresh twist to the state’s long-running game of political cat and mouse, which has seen state officials labor to cast would-be reforms in a negative light.

Switching gears

Previously, former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio had forged ahead with a proposal that would subject all pension increases to voter approval.

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Facing the Challenge of Violence in South LA

Constance L. Rice
Founding Co-Director of Advancement Project and a civil rights attorney

Recent coverage of crime spikes and “cyber banging” as new phenomena have missed some important aspects of what the LA basin is actually experiencing. Now that is not to say that recent articles are entirely wrong, but just missing the right context and some key facts.

Are shootings rising in some gang-ridden neighborhoods of LA? Yes. Are most of those shootings gang-related? That has always been the case and is nothing new. Is LA failing to respond? No. The local press has that wrong. LAPD, the Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, gang intervention, neighborhood groups and advocates like Urban Peace Institute are doing a lot of what is possible. But some missteps and backsliding are occurring, and the groups are not doing everything they could in the most effective way. Here’s what’s missing:

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The Tab for SB 350 Becomes Due

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Now that SB 350 has been signed into law we will found out what SB 350 really costs. The law requires that 50 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources in the next 15 years and that buildings double their energy efficiency over that time.

Concerns about increased costs to implement this bill were a major part of the debate. Those objecting to SB 350 did not let up on their criticism once Gov. Brown put his signature on the bill.

Senator Jim Nielsen commented: “Senate Bill 350 will drive up the costs for our energy, food and all things that require abundant affordable energy to produce and transport, particularly hurting those California families least able to afford it.”

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