Stunning Shift on High Speed Rail

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Nothing epitomizes the abject failure of California governance more than the so-called High Speed Rail Project or, as it has been derisively labeled, High Speed Fail. To recap, in 2008 voters narrowly approved a $10 billion down payment for the construction of a high speed rail network between the Bay Area and Los Angeles that […]

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Repaying This State Borrowing Goes Up in Smoke

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Sacramento politicians and Japanese censors during WWII share a similar philosophy — they do their best to prevent the public from learning of their leaders’ mistakes. The turning point of WWII in the Pacific was the battle of Midway where the Japanese fleet suffered a catastrophic defeat with the loss of four aircraft carriers. The […]

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Stop Special Interest Money

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Unless one is wearing Brown colored glasses, it is easy to see that California is a mess. We rank second in unemployment and millions of Californians have fled the state since the millennium — most as economic refugees seeking to carve out a better life for themselves where taxes are lower and job opportunities are […]

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Jerry Brown As Insurance Commissioner?

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Wait. We know that Jerry Brown is California’s Governor and Dave Jones is our Insurance Commissioner. So what’s up with the title of this column? The fact is, Brown isn’t so much insurance commissioner as he is in the business of selling insurance. To understand this, realize that a major oil company, casino Indian tribes […]

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Split Roll Measure Will Be Defeated

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

The latest attempt at a massive tax increase is unlikely to gain traction. A split roll to raise taxes on commercial property was filed yesterday.  As the Field Poll recently made clear, Prop. 13 remains remarkably popular and there is simply no way the proponents can sell this as anything but a repeal of 13 […]

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HJTA Threatens Lawsuit Over Governor Brown’s New “Fire Tax”

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association announced its intention to sue the State of California if it attempts to collect a new fire tax that could cost homeowners an additional $150 per year. The State’s largest taxpayer organization plans to file a lawsuit on the grounds that the new fire tax qualifies as a tax increase […]

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Jerry Brown Can Be a Hero

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

As part of his ongoing campaign to raise taxes, last week Jerry Brown made a pilgrimage to a major labor confab in Las Vegas. There he delivered a fiery speech to thousands of union delegates, touting his labor credentials and lashing out at Republicans and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, blaming the minority party and […]

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What Citizen Taxpayers Should Know about the Single Sales Factor Dispute

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Last week, Governor Brown made a big splash pushing a business tax reform proposal. This issue involves how national and international corporations are taxed under California law. As the result of the budget deal crafted two years ago (a deal that hit citizen taxpayers hard) corporations were given a choice over how they were taxed. The details aren’t that important for normal people and the issue is a bit complicated. (There was a humorous moment when Darrell Steinberg said “this is simple” and, moments later, Jerry Brown said this is a “complicated issue” and he wasn’t even sure he understood it.)

Whether corporations should be given the opportunity to elect how they are taxed might very well be a legitimate discussion to have. (But Joel Fox makes the valid point that the absence of predictability due to these radical changes in tax policy every few months is a contributing factor to the perception that California is anti-business, if not outright weird).

What is clear is that the elimination of the right to elect would be a tax increase. Pure and simple. Moreover, any such proposal requires a two-thirds vote of each house. The good news is that compliance with Prop 13’s requirement on this issue appears to be a given – even among the Democrats.

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The People’s Initiative Power is in Danger

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Democrats in the Legislature are pushing another power grab and, if they win, California voters lose.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, introduced by Assembly Democrats Mike Gatto and Mike Feuer, would radically enhance the power of the Legislature and two unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats while severely limiting the People’s right to put initiatives on the ballot.

ACA 6 would prohibit any initiative from even being voted on if, in the opinion of either the Legislative Analyst or the Director of Finance, the measure did not “pay for itself.” No exceptions. And if the voters at a future date tried to repeal ACA 6 outright, these same two unelected bureaucrats could determine that such a measure itself ultimately would have a “cost” to government in excess of $5 million and, as such, could simply order that the measure not be placed on the ballot. Under 100-year-old constitutional law in California, only the courts have had the power to order something off the ballot.

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Victory for Taxpayers in San Diego

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

The names of San Diego County public employees retiring with six-figure pensions are a matter public record, according to a court ruling in a case brought by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association with amicus briefs filed by the Small Business Action Committee and a number of newspapers.

The 4th District Court of Appeal held, in a published decision that applies statewide, that public employee retirement systems must disclose the names and pension amounts of retired public employees.

This is a significant victory, and a vindication. Even when we have won lawsuits, retirement agencies across the state of California have refused to release their data unless under the threat of lawsuit. Today’s published appellate precedent settles this issue once and for all.

The decision is significant because it requires for the first time that the worksheet of how their pension amounts was calculated must be made public. The worksheet reveals details that explain how some public employees are able to retire with pensions significantly higher than the salaries they earned while employed.

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