Bill to unionize Capitol staffers is ridiculous, but cynics might find a bright side

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

If you believe that mandatory unionization is a solution to almost every state problem rather than the prime cause of California governmental dysfunction, then you’ll love an idea that one of the Legislature’s most union-friendly lawmakers is touting. “I will be introducing a bill this year to allow our legislative staff to unionize,” wrote Assemblywoman Lorena […]

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City services slashed to fund pensions, and now your taxes are going up, too!

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

In the coming months and years, California voters can expect to see a variety of tax increases pop up on their local election ballots. They will be called “public safety” taxes to hire more police or firefighters or “parks” or “library” taxes to pay for those popular public services. But don’t be fooled. Any new […]

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Will Bay Area political crowd trump LA yet again?

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

It’s been a fait accompli that Gavin Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor and current lieutenant governor, will be California’s next governor after the iconic Jerry Brown heads off into the sunset next year. Moonbeam is a hard act to follow, having served as the state’s youngest and oldest chief executive, but it’s too bad […]

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Realtors’ initiative could boost home sales, limit property taxes

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

Property-tax-limiting Proposition 13 has long been viewed as the “third rail” of California politics given its continued popularity among the home-owning electorate. Public-sector unions occasionally talk about sponsoring an initiative to eliminate its tax limits for commercial properties, but the latest Prop. 13-related proposal would actually expand its scope. The influential California Association of Realtors is launching a signature […]

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Some of Gov. Brown’s Vetoes Get Praise from the Right

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed only 118 of the 957 bills that came before his desk in the recently concluded legislative session, but some of his final vetoes earned a great deal of attention and praise – even from conservative Republicans. That’s an interesting turn of events given that Brown signed into law most of the main Democratic priorities […]

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Optometrists eye government to shut down app-based competition

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

Here we go again. Every time an innovative new industry pops up to take advantage of the boundless opportunities offered by phone applications and the internet, some threatened old-line profession responds with lobbyists and political donations. Those who can’t keep up with the upstarts turn to government to shut down the competition. The brick-and-mortar firms […]

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California Legislative Session Ends With Higher Taxes, Anti-Trump and Union Priorities

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

California’s legislative session, which completed its work in the wee hours Saturday morning, was one of the more controversial ones in years, given the degree to which the Democratic majority was able to secure various tax and fee increases. It was also one of the more divisive recent sessions from a partisan standpoint. The most significant […]

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CalPERS’ divestment goals in crosshairs as coal stocks soar

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

A newly released report from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System confirms that, fulfilling the Legislature’s directive to divest from coal-related investments, the pension fund has now largely exited from coal stocks. But as news reports this week suggest, this “socially responsible” investment policy has come at a price, as coal stocks soar under the Trump administration’s […]

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Democrats and Republicans see different solutions to California housing crisis

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

Before the recent legislative recess, California Democratic leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown announced their intention to tackle one of the state’s biggest crises: housing affordability. It’s the rare instance where virtually everyone in the Capitol at least is in agreement about the scope of the problem, even though there’s far less agreement on solutions. Real-estate prices have […]

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Is California Budget as ‘Balanced and Progressive’ as Gov. Brown Suggests?

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

The California Assembly and Senate have until Thursday to approve the budget deal announced by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, but there’s little uncertainty about the outcome. The general-fund budget is a record-setting $125 billion – something Brown describes as “balanced and progressive,” given that it spends more on social programs, but doesn’t bust the […]

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