‘Job Killer’ Bills May be More Difficult to Kill

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

For two decades, the California Chamber of Commerce’s annual descriptions of certain legislative bills as “job killers” have framed the Capitol’s sharpest economic conflicts. The chamber, working in concert with other business and employer groups, has been remarkably successful in modifying or killing the two or three dozen measures that find their way onto the […]

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Are Big Tax Increases Coming to California?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Gavin Newsom’s election as governor and the expanded Democratic Party majorities in the Legislature have raised hopes in some quarters and fears in others that big tax increases may be on the horizon. During his campaign for governor last year, Newsom pledged support for a variety of expensive public services, including universal health insurance coverage […]

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Slowing Economy Could Hit State Budget

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal, unveiled two months ago, took a surprisingly conservative approach, given his promises of high-dollar spending during his campaign for the governorship. While he proposed token appropriations to expand health insurance for the poor and pre-kindergarten care and education, his 2019-20 budget would devote most of the state’s hefty surpluses […]

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A Crackdown on Misusing Public Funds for Campaigns?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

When Yuba County’s Board of Supervisors asked its voters to hike sales taxes last year, it wasn’t alone. Hundreds of California’s local governments, cities and counties primarily, were doing so, promising voters that the new revenues would be used to enhance popular services, such as parks, police and fire protection. Yuba officials also were not […]

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Long Alliance of Democrats and Police Union Erodes

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

California’s crime rates soared in the 1970s and became a potent political issue that Republicans used, with great effect, against Democrats by accusing them of being soft on crime. More or less simultaneously, a Democratic Legislature and governor, Jerry Brown, enacted collective bargaining for California’s public employees. Those two seemingly discrete events spawned a clever […]

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L.A. Unified Digs a Deeper Hole

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

The union that represents teachers in the state’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, is claiming that its six-day strike produced a victory, and local media are echoing that line. It may be, however, a pyrrhic victory because it could drive LA Unified, which is already in a deep financial hole, mostly of its own […]

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Finally, a Crackdown on Misuse of Taxpayer Money

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Although state law specifically prohibits public officials from using taxpayers’ money for political campaigning, they have been doing exactly that throughout California. Local governments hire “consultants” to poll voters on what tax and bond measures they would find acceptable, to draft those proposals accordingly and, finally, to run so-called “information” campaigns to persuade voters to […]

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Legislature, Newsom have an Ambitious Agenda

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

The Legislature reconvened this week with Democrats celebrating sweeping election wins that give them immense majorities in both sides of the Capitol and they are intending to use them. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom presided over the state Senate’s opening session, saying, “the world is looking to us.” Newsom will be inaugurated as governor a month […]

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Where Do Middle-of-the-Road Voters Go Now?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

California Democrats’ massive victory in last month’s election made their party even more dominant at all levels of government and in doing so, confined Republicans to relatively tiny redoubts, mostly in rural areas. Calmatters political writer Ben Christopher summarized the GOP’s exile last week in this sentence: “This year, 26 percent of Californians are represented […]

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Is a Deal Possible on Split-Roll Property Tax Measure?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

The stage is seemingly set for a very expensive political battle in 2020 over changing Proposition 13, the iconic property tax limit that California voters enacted 40 years ago. A coalition of civic and stakeholder groups, led by the League of Women Voters and  calling itself “Schools and Communities First,” has qualified an initiative ballot […]

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