The Census Citizenship Question: Tempest in a Teapot

Tony Quinn
Editor, California Target Book

Why is it that the Trump Administration is so adverse to telling the truth?  In their handling of a fairly simple decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 US Census they have lied to a federal court, stonewalled Congress, and may well sully the carefully crafted image of the US Supreme Court as above politics.

Asking about the citizenship of US residents was on every federal census from 1880 to 1950, during the great age of immigration.  It was dropped in 1950 because immigration had slowed and there were few non-citizens.

But from 1970 through today it has been asked on a census sample, currently called the American Community Survey, that goes to 30 million households during the decade.  This has never been controversial nor has there been any evidence of massive numbers of non-citizens refusing to answer the question. In fact, it is necessary in the redistricting process because the US Supreme Court has said that majority-minority districts must be drawn where there are high numbers of non-white citizen voters.  This question has been used to determine citizenship without controversy.

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California 2020: Census and Elections Are Important to Californians

Alyssa Dykman and Lynette Ubois
Alyssa Dykman is a Research Associate at the Public Policy Institute of California. Lynette Ubious is Director of Publications at the Public Policy Institute of California.

The 2020 Census is fast approaching. With political representation and billions in federal funds on the line, the importance of an accurate count cannot be overstated. Californians recognize this, according to our latest survey—but many have concerns about the confidentiality of the information they provide. Even more Californians say that the 2020 elections are important. Both are critical to the future of the state.

California has invested substantially in raising awareness and preparing local communities for what will be a monumental census effort. Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed adding another $54 million toward state census activities, on top of a previous allocation that was just north of $100 million. These funds—along with a sustained effort at building partnerships around the state—are meant to counter California’s particular vulnerabilities when it comes to ensuring an accurate census: large shares of immigrants and other hard-to-count populations.

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Update on 2019 Political Process Legislation: What Remains?

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Now that the house of origin deadline has passed, and we are basically at the mid-point in the California Legislative Session, we can take a look at pending legislation with particular attention to the bills that will continue along the legislative process in the second house. The focus of this article is on political process legislation. The following are the major political process bills of particular interest to the California business community:

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Smaller Footprint Should Equal Small Tax

Betty Jo Toccoli
President of the California Small Business Association

When you are renting a car, the rental fee is based on the number of miles driven and time utilized.  It makes sense that the small user pays less than someone who utilizes the car for a longer period of time.  The same should be true for the state franchise tax, small business owners who utilize fewer state services and require less oversight should pay a smaller fee than larger businesses that require more state resources.  Legislation (SB 349) by Senator Anthony Portantino, adjusts the franchise fee for small business to relate more to the size of the company rather than requiring the same fee for all businesses regardless of their size.

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Lessons Learned from Measure EE: Not a Blank Check

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

The dust has settled on Measure EE, the 16-cent per square foot property tax rushed onto a June 4 ballot by the LAUSD board and its union. Following last week’s election results, politicians, pundits and school boards across the state are pondering EE’s meaning – trying to determine whether the parcel tax’s defeat was a fluke or an indicator of something bigger. You be the judge.

Below find lessons learned from the No on EE campaign:

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Update on 2019 Environmental Legislation: What Remains?

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Now that the house of origin deadline has passed, and we are basically at the mid-point in the California Legislative Session, we can take a look at pending legislation with particular attention to the bills that will continue along the legislative process in the second house. The focus of this article is on environmental legislation. The following are the major environmental bills of particular interest to the California business community:

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Down the Rabbit Hole on Housing

John Mirisch
Mayor of Beverly Hills

At the end of his pro-SB50 piece, Scott Lay asks: “Could Scott Wiener become the next Howard Jarvis-like figure?”

A better question would be:  “Could Scott Wiener become the next Gordon Gekko-like figure?”

The notion of painting corporatist Scott Wiener — Wall Street and the CBIA’s strongest advocate in Sacramento — as a populist everyman figure who is fighting for small homeowners against government overreach takes us into truly Lewis Carrollian terrain, even within the truly bizarre world of Sacramento politics.

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In California, People Help Guarantee Fair Elections.

Elaine M. Howle
California State Auditor

Headlines across the country have detailed Supreme Court actions regarding various state gerrymandering scandals, the politicizing the Census, and attempts by some states to create new ways to draw district lines after receiving 2020 Census data.

California was not a part of any of those stories. More than a decade ago, California voters took the job of redistricting out of the hands of politicians and gave it to a first-ever citizens commission. The result is a process that ensures fairness and equity in campaigns. And we’re about to take our second walk down that very important road.

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A Budget with Loose Threads

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

The legislature is expected to pass the budget bill today thus satisfying the demand of 2010’s Proposition 25 that required the budget to be passed on time so that legislators may continue to get paid. But when legislators vote on the budget bill before June 15 are they really passing a complete budget?

Legislators admit the budget has placeholder language to be filled in later and will pass budget trailer bills that can have an impact on the state’s final spending plan.

Given those conditions can we really admit that the budget has been passed by the June 15th deadline?

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Can Bay Area Taxpayers Afford a New “taxpayer busting” $100 billion Transit Tax Proposal?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

Bay Area business leaders made headlines recently by floating a new $100 billion “mega tax increase” that would break the record for transportation tax increases in the region, and extract still higher tax increases from Bay Area commuters.  

New $1 increased Bay Area bridge toll hikes took effect on January 1, 2019, which increased tolls to $7 on the Bay Bridge during rush hour, and to $6 on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges.  

But if recent history in California politics tells us anything, it is that successful tax hikes beget higher and higher tax hikes, and still “bolder and bolder” tax proposals that will continue to increase the already exorbitant cost of living and doing business in the State of California.

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