How far can Democrats go to help unions?

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


Undeniably, California’s dominant Democratic Party is joined at the hip with labor unions, even though scarcely a sixth of the state’s workers belong to unions. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Democratic politicians push laws and regulations to help unions expand their memberships. They are motivated, they say, by their belief that workers’ lives are improved by union representation. […]

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Brown, with nothing to lose, defies unions on pensions

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,” singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson philosophized in his classic blues song, “Me and Bobby McGee,” a half-century ago. Kristofferson’s tune would be an apt anthem for Gov. Jerry Brown as he winds down his own half-century-long career in politics – especially so since Kristofferson once campaigned for him. Unless something […]

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State budget seems healthy, but it isn’t

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


Mac Taylor, the Legislature’s top adviser on the state budget, delivered some superficially good news this month to his bosses. With no economic downturn on the horizon, he said in his annual survey of the state’s fiscal situation, there should be no problem writing a balanced 2018-19 budget next year. In fact, he said, with revenues continuing […]

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California also gives hefty tax breaks to business

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


There’s much political complaining in California these days over congressional plans to overhaul the nation’s tax system in a way that would cost many Californians, particularly those in high tax brackets, more money. The federal plans are still being finalized – if they can be – and are aimed at raising enough money to pay […]

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Four Democratic candidates want more spending, but not more taxes?

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


The San Francisco Chronicle assembled the four Democratic candidates for governor Tuesday to talk about the “state’s big issues” and whether they “have the ideas and resolve to meet them.” After 75 minutes of back and forth, moderated by Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz, it was clear that the four mostly believe that dealing […]

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It’s time for liberal Californians to take a chill pill

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


It’s time for liberal Californians – and that appears to be most of us – to take a chill pill. Their bitter disdain for President Donald Trump – and by extension everyone who voted for him, belongs to his party or even agrees with any of his bombastic pronouncements – is leading them into blind […]

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Accountability depends on transparency, which is under siege

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


If we – the California public – are to hold politicians and other government officials accountable, we must first know what they are doing or not doing. Thus, the first point of conflict is always access to records of official action or inaction. The current legislative session is the first one affected by a 2016 ballot […]

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California unions on a political roll, but see threats on horizon

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


California’s labor unions should be celebrating on this Labor Day because they’ve been on a political roll. Overall union membership in California, 2.6 million, is by far the most of any state, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and at 15.9 percent of the state’s workers, is one of the nation’s highest. Over half of […]

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Could uptick in California crime make it a political issue again?

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


In the main, issues that dominate any session of the California Legislature reflect what the public and news media consider at the time to be the most burning. That’s why, for instance, the state’s acute housing shortage will receive much attention during the final month of this year’s session. During Jerry Brown’s first governorship four […]

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Fake News: California voting rolls are riddled with ineligible voters

Dan Walters

Columnist, CALmatters


Travis Allen, a Republican assemblyman from Orange County and self-anointed candidate for governor, dropped this Twitter bomb the other day: “11 counties in California have more total registered voters than citizens over the age of 18. How is this possible?” As a matter of fact, it isn’t possible. Allen’s tweet just parrots a subtle falsehood […]

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