Split Roll Debate Continues

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

While supporters of changing Proposition 13 to increase taxes on commercial property usually focus on raising the tax rate or frequently reassessing property, UCLA Law School professor Kirk Stark has a different idea – broaden the base of business property taxes by reassessing more often but at the same time lower tax rates on property and other business taxes. Stark made the proposal yesterday in Los Angeles at a panel discussion on the split roll that also featured Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Gina Rodriquez, Vice-President of the California Taxpayers Association. The event was sponsored by the Bisnow website, which covers people and projects in the commercial real estate business.

Stark suggested reassessing property on a regularly scheduled basis but lowering the 1% tax rate, eliminating property taxes on business equipment and reducing other business taxes. Stark said his goal was to harness the impulse to tweak Proposition 13 and gain sound tax policy rather than ratchet up the tax burden.

Read comments Read more

One More John Mockler Lesson for the Road

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 obituaries for John Mockler are focusing on his role in crafting California’s school funding guarantee, Prop 98, and the funding regime around it. That made sense—Prop 98 had a huge impact, and his command of the complicated measure was so great that I once suggested in print that California needed a constitutional amendment requiring Mockler to live forever. If only such a thing could be legislated.

But the focus on Mockler’s finance work, and on his public service and political work, shouldn’t distract us from recognizing the breadth of his commitment to California kids and schools. He thought about far more than funding. He was deeply grounded in the realities of kids – how they learn and how schools affect their educations and their lives.

Read comments Read more

New State Report Busts Proposition 63

Lloyd Billingsley
Policy Fellow with the Independent Institute (Independent.org) based in Oakland, CA

Promises Still to Keep: A Decade of the Mental Health Services Act, a new report by the Little Hoover Commission, notes that Proposition 63 raised a whopping $13.2 billion. But according to the report, the state is unable to document whether the $13.2 billion fulfilled any of the Act’s proclaimed intentions.

According to sponsor Senator Darrell Steinberg and other backers, the Mental Health Services Act would keep people off the street, out of the hospital, out of jail, and even help people “make the move from tax user to taxpayer.” But as Little Hoover Commission chairman Pedro Nava explained, it is “difficult, if not impossible, to analyze the measure’s effect.” This is not a new revelation.

Read comments Read more

Federal Bill To Curb Shakedown Ada Lawsuits Introduced

Tom Scott
Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

There has been a lot of focus on what will California do this year to stop the shakedown lawsuits associated with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Many bipartisan bills have been introduced at the state level (including AB 52, AB 54 and SB 67), but to solve the problem we also need the federal government to take steps to stop these shakedown artists.

Well, there’s good news on that front. Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) and Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50) have re-introduced the ACCESS (ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services) Act – . This legislation is designed to help small businesses comply with the ADA, and stop the abusive ADA lawsuits that have hurt so many businesses in California.

Read comments Read more

Don’t Tax Independent Expenditures, Eliminate Candidate Donor Limits

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

The bill authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) to tax independent expenditure campaign spending has a point, although the measure itself is likely to find resistance in both the halls of the legislature and in the courts. Levine’s goal is to see campaigns conducted by candidates who would be accountable for the political messages delivered during a campaign.

With independent expenditures, which legally cannot consult or inform a candidate’s campaign of its activity, messages sent out on behalf of a candidate may not represent the candidate’s view, or his or her opinion of an opponent. Yet, the candidate often has to answer for this unsolicited “help.”

Read comments Read more

Antonio Villaraigosa is Quintessential California

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)

It shouldn’t matter much to Californians whether Antonio Villaraigosa gets to be a U.S. senator or governor someday. We have no shortage of ambitious politicians, after all. But what should matter to us is whether Antonio Villaraigosa gets to be Antonio Villaraigosa.

Villaraigosa didn’t get that opportunity over the past six weeks as he pondered, and ultimately decided against, a campaign for the U.S. Senate. Instead, in the media coverage and public discussion of the political drama, he was portrayed as one thing above all: the Latino candidate.

Read comments Read more

LA Teachers Union: Striking Out?

Larry Sand
President of the California Teachers Empowerment Network

The case is being built for a teachers’ strike in Los Angeles. The next step in the contract negotiation process is mediation, whereby a state-appointed mediator will try to get the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) to reconcile their differences. If no progress is made during those sessions, scheduled for March 26th, April 6th and April 15th, the fact-finding stage is next. Anything that comes out of this part of the process is not binding, but could be influential in the last step in which the district makes its final offer. At that point, the union can accept the deal, or reject it and call for a strike vote.

There are a number of issues on the table, but the main sticking points are as follows:

Read comments Read more

Californians Deserve Better Protection When Shopping

Todd Ament
President and CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce

First it was our favorite one-stop-shop – Target – exposing the information of 110 million people. A year later, it was our iconic orange friend that helps us do it ourselves – Home Depot – leaving 56 million store credit card holders feeling betrayed.

Nearly 160 million people, doing what makes our economy tick – shopping – subjected to unwarranted angst and a feeling of helplessness in a nation where 43 percent of companies experienced a data breach in the past year. In California, home of the eighth largest economy in the world, the issue is even more profound – 17 percent of 2012 U.S. data breaches occurred here and reported breaches increased by 28 percent in 2013, according to a recent California Attorney General report.

Read comments Read more

Redistricting Case Before the Supreme Court: Will of the People in the Balance

Kathay Feng
Executive Director, California Common Cause

Justice Anthony Kennedy of California is the key to the Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission case heard before the Supreme Court this week.  Sitting in the Supreme Court on Monday, I think he asked questions that suggest he is in the middle and could go either way.

John Myers of KQED, veteran California politics watcher, reminded us of Justice Kennedy’s California roots. Long before donning a judge’s robe, Justice Kennedy drafted an initiative for then-Governor Ronald Reagan. Clearly, he is a person deeply familiar with how the initiative process is an integral part of California’s lawmaking process.

Read comments Read more

GOP Pulse Detected

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

News Flash: The California Republican Party appears to have a pulse. From all appearances, “Dr.” Brulte seems to be weaning the state’s GOP off life support.

Despite the party’s anemic scorecard in the last election, there was a new tone and heightened energy in the air at last weekend’s Republican convention in Sacramento. To paraphrase Monty Python, the CAGOP is “not dead yet.”

Even though Republicans lost every statewide office in the last election and appear nowhere near fielding a top tier candidate for Barbara Boxer’s open U.S. Senate seat, GOP State Chair Jim Brulte, and his cohorts touted the gain of enough Assembly and Senate seats in 2014 to hold Democrats under the two-thirds supermajority in the legislature. (These days, it doesn’t take much good news to bolster GOP hopes.)

Read comments Read more

Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.