Can Bay Area Taxpayers Afford a New “taxpayer busting” $100 billion Transit Tax Proposal?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

Bay Area business leaders made headlines recently by floating a new $100 billion “mega tax increase” that would break the record for transportation tax increases in the region, and extract still higher tax increases from Bay Area commuters.   New $1 increased Bay Area bridge toll hikes took effect on January 1, 2019, which increased […]

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Does California’s Minimum Wage Make Economic Sense?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

A new study on California’s minimum wage policies raises serious questions about whether the state’s minimum wage makes good economic sense. The April 2019 study, titled “The Minimum Wage: An Analysis of the Impact on the Restaurant Industry,” was prepared by the UC Riverside Center for Economic Forecasting and Development for the California Restaurant Association. […]

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Can California find a “third way” set of successful economic policies?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

One of the greatest current impediments to the State of California’s long-term success, both economically and socially, is its lack of a coherent, consistent, and viable set of economic policies. For example, how should California government handle the economy?  At what level should we tax private property, goods and services to provide the optimal level […]

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Should the State of California eliminate Proposition 13?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

In November 2020, California voters will be given a chance to weigh in on one of the most dangerous and sweeping economic propositions in the state’s history.   A well-funded public employee union coalition has qualified a measure that would dismantle Proposition 13 by removing taxpayer protections for non-residential property. We are told the measure […]

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Can California government hold the political center?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

In an increasingly polarized and chaotic political world, this week U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) demonstrated her political knowledge, wisdom and leadership skills by making a series of comments that encourage the Democrat Party and its elected Congressional delegation to “hold the political center.” Pelosi made a series of very interesting and insightful remarks […]

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Can the State of California Survive “Inclusive Capitalism”?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

The art of politics is often about successfully hiding the truth to promote a particular cause, ideology, or political agenda. Mark Twain famously said if we had truth, we would not need politics. That is why the Newsom Administration’s new talk of “inclusive capitalism” caught my attention because of what its true pursuit would actually […]

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What Should the Role of State Government be in the California Economy?    

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

Perhaps the most important underlying question with regard to both political science as well as economics is what should the role of government be in the economy? At the same time, this central question is rarely given the objective attention, study, and public debate it deserves, particularly in California. The best analysis and conclusions I […]

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Should CEQA Reform be Given a “Fair Hearing?” PART II

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

The accidental result of the new UC Berkeley academic studies and testimony presented at the March 12 joint legislative hearing appeared to clearly implicate CEQA as a major driver of the state’s skyrocketing housing development costs. The first panel was intended to give an overview of CEQA and its streamlining provisions.  It was composed of […]

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Should CEQA Reform be Given a “Fair” Hearing?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

The evidence suggesting the dire need to reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) appears to have reached a critical mass in recent months, but there appears to be at least a few holdouts in the California State Senate, state-funded academic community, and political stakeholders who benefit from the status quo. The key argument for […]

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How Much Should We Pay Our Public Sector Workers?

David Kersten
David Kersten is an independent political consultant who lives in the Bay Area. Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public budgeting at the University of San Francisco.

Public employee compensation issues are never far from the headlines in California, but both 2019 and 2020 appear likely to continue the recent trend of increasingly contentious negotiations and the accompanying highly charged public debate. At the local level, in recent months we have already seen teacher strike authorization votes in the major urban school […]

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