State May Face $29-43 Billion Budget Deficit In 2020

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

In Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State Address last week, he noted that California’s budget has repeatedly failed to prepare for recession, resulting in “painful and unplanned-for cuts” to schools, child care, courts, social services and other programs. He added, “I don’t want to make those mistakes again.” But the governor’s proposed $170.7 billion budget ($122.6 billion general […]

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Chuck Reed: Reform Measure Will Bite Pension Liability ‘Elephant’

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed acknowledged at a recent taxpayer forum that his latest proposed pension reform initiatives won’t solve California’s $350 billion unfunded retirement benefit liability problem. But he thinks they’ll help. “Sometimes you have to eat the elephant one bite at a time,” Reed told the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association at an Oct. 30 luncheon. “So […]

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Chamber Warns Arbitration Bill Will Kill Jobs

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

When you take a job, should you be required to waive your right to have a future employment dispute adjudicated by the state labor commissioner or in civil court? That has increasingly become the case for job applicants. Forty-three percent of companies nationwide now require employees to sign arbitration clauses precluding class-action suits, according to […]

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Assembly Passes Grocery Employment Mandate

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

If you purchase a grocery store that is going out of business because its employees have not provided good customer service and sanitary conditions, should you be required to hire those same employees? The answer is yes, according to Assembly Bill 359, which recently passed the state Assembly. AB359 places a number of mandates on the […]

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Assembly Subcommittee Flunks UC Budget

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

Tuition hikes marched to the head of the class at a recent hearing of California Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance. Assembly members balked at a 28 percent tuition hike advanced by UC President Janet Napolitano and approved by the University of California Board of Regents. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Neither the governor nor the […]

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Entrepreneurs Fret Over CA Business Climate

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

Although California’s economy is finally picking up after seven years of recessionary blues, many small business owners continue to feel government is hurting more than helping them. That was one of the messages from entrepreneurs at a Feb. 11 hearing by the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy. Regarding the economy, there […]

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State Senate Democrats Crack Down on Fracking

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

Despite the more than three-decade safety record of hydraulic fracturing in California, Democrats served notice last week that they will be cracking down on the energy-production method in the coming year. The frack fight was led by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, at the Jan. 9 Senate Rules Committee hearing. The committee was […]

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Studies Predict AB 32 will Crash Calif. Economy

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

Crossposted on CalWatchDog Two new studies are predicting economic devastation in California as the myriad regulations and costs resulting from AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, take effect in the next eight years. The hit to state residents will total $35 billion in 2020 —  exceeding California’s combined revenue from sales taxes, corporation […]

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State May Consider Taxing Services

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

Crossposted on CalWatchDog Hold on to your wallet — Sacramento may be hatching yet another way to reach into your pocket: a state sales tax on services. Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, has authored AB 1963, which calls for a study of the revenue impacts of a service tax. Huber said she’s looking for […]

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Chapter 4: Bond Holders Seek Governmental Transparency

Dave Roberts
Contributing editor to CalWatchDog and long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter

Once upon a time buying a municipal bond was considered a safe bet. A decent rate of return with little risk ­– just the thing for junior’s college fund and grandma’s retirement account. But that was before Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. government’s credit-worthiness, sending shock waves through the bond markets. And before governmental […]

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