Little Policy Innovation From Ballot Measures

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

The laboratories of democracy were relatively quiet last week. Voters in 35 states considered 154 measures on their ballots, but few broke new ground. Even California, often considered the bellwether for new voter-driven policies and flush with 17 measures on the ballot, behaved conventionally. The most far-reaching and unpredictable measures on California’s ballot failed. Proposition […]

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More transparency in politics and policy

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

“Transparency” may be more than just a buzzword come 2017. Proposition 54, teed up for the November ballot, would mandate the Legislature enforce a three-day public notice before voting on any bill, eliminating back-room, late-night deals that would otherwise shrivel in the light of day. Any citizen, regulated party or reporter could review and digest legislative amendments […]

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Economic growth has not “decoupled” from CO2 emissions

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

With the enactment of new climate change regulation through 2030, California leaders are closing ranks to make the economic and business case for more mandates. The new requirement will reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40 percent below 2020 emissions. On a per capita basis, that’s a reduction of one-half of GHG emissions from today’s […]

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Cap and Trade is Easy; it’s the Tax that’s Hard

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Governor Brown cited the major deficiency of new climate change legislation at a press conference yesterday, citing cap and trade as the major piece of unfinished business. He’s right. When the Governor signs the new climate change legislation rapidly nearing his desk, rather than clarifying public policy, California will be entering uncharted territory. The hard-fought […]

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California Has A Slow-Motion Housing Emergency

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

The state is under-building by tens of thousands of new houses and apartments each year that are needed to meet demand. As a result, home prices and rents are soaring and commutes are lengthening – especially in coastal metropolitan regions. If a fire or flood or earthquake had wiped out a thousand or five thousand homes and apartments, the […]

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Memo to Prop 53 Boosters: Curt Schilling Doesn’t Play for California

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Struggling to justify their claims that Proposition 53 plugs a “loophole,” proponents have launched a nationwide search for victims. This would be laughable if the consequences of fundamentally eroding local control, creating new litigation threats, and stalling needed infrastructure projects weren’t so serious. (Prop 53 would demand a statewide vote to approve large revenue bond issues.) Their latest […]

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Who will run the Coastal Commission?

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Why bother having public-facing commissions if they can’t deal with the public? A century-old hallmark of the Progressive Era, quasi-independent boards and commissions wield broad executive powers implementing and enforcing laws, permitting business operations and land development, and punishing wrongdoers within their jurisdictions. Some of the most powerful in California are the Public Utilities Commission, […]

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Three Deceptive Measures Head For Ballot

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

The shape of the fall ballot is a little clearer, with last Friday’s milestone for submitting petition signatures. As many as fifteen citizens’ initiatives, plus one referendum and a couple legislative measures may populate the ballot come November. But clarity on the size of the ballot means nothing when it comes to the clarity of […]

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New Rules To Promote Infill May Further Tie Up New Housing

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

California’s most influential and notorious environmental law, CEQA, has taken on more new forms than the Terminator. Originally written in 1970 to disclose local environmental impacts of government projects, the California Environmental Quality Act has morphed into a powerful tool requiring deep analysis and mitigation of a long list of environmental impacts of public and private […]

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Complex Politics Color Minimum Wage Debate

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Few issues defy consensus like the minimum wage. Voters strongly support raising it. Most business owners, especially in retail and hospitality, decry government-ordered wage hikes. Economists are decidedly mixed on the subject. California has raised the minimum wage five times since 1998, which was the last time voters themselves had a say in the matter. […]

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