Should “Tax Reform” in California be Connected to “Spending Reform”?

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Discussions have been underway in the media and certain political circles in California for sometime that there is a dire need for “tax reform” in the State of California. At the same time, there has been a separate debate in the media and other political circles about the need for “spending reform” in California, particularly […]

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Can More Money Help Solve California’s Major Public Policy Problems?

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

A quick review of the Governor’s January budget proposal illustrates that one common thread is spending more money, in many cases a lot more money, that is intended to address a variety of major public policy problems such as early childhood education, homelessness, and lack of affordable health care and housing. The new Governor Gavin […]

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Raising the White Flag to the “Tax and Spend” Interests Behind Prop. 55

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

There are some who believe that the passage of Prop. 55 is inevitable, the measure can’t be beat. Maybe these folks have been right all along.  But maybe they have really been just too afraid to take a strong stand against Prop. 55, for fear of fighting a losing battle. However, I would argue that […]

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Prop. 30 Extension Represent CA Taxpayer-Funded Bailout 

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Perhaps the best decision California voters can make at the polls this November is to vote “NO” on the initiative extending the Prop. 30 temporary tax increases that expire in 2018. Why?  The short answer is that extending the Prop. 30 tax extensions effectively bails out California State Democrat politicians for their inability to take […]

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Prop. 13 is California Taxpayers Only “Saving Grace” 

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Proposition 13 is certain to continue to be a hot topic in 2016 and beyond as “reformers” continue to work on mobilizing a statewide effort to enact a “split-roll” that raises billions of dollars in increased property taxes from California businesses. I have worked in and around Prop. 13 in one form or another for […]

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California Would Benefit from a True Two Party System

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Technically speaking, California’s political system is a “two party system,” but that is largely in name only in most places in the state. California has become a “one party state” controlled by the California Democratic Party and California Democrat politicians. Two key drivers was the decline of the Republican Party in the wake of Pete […]

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California Legislature Needs to Stop Punishing Business

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

A number of recent anecdotes suggest that the California Legislature, particularly the California Democrat Leadership, is out to punish the California business community for its legitimate policy differences. For example, the California Democrat leadership abused the political process by holding back a number of tobacco regulation and tax bills from reaching the Governor’s desk to prevent industry from […]

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Democratic Legislators Must be Fiscally Responsible

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Governor Jerry Brown put just about everything he could in the May Revise, except for the “kitchen sink,” to try to convince the Democrat-controlled Legislature to “hold the line” on new deficit spending. The Governor cited economic risks as the most important reason to spend less and build up the state’s reserves.  The state is […]

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Pension Reformer Chuck Reed Gearing Up California Pension Reform Measure

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Chuck Reed, former San Jose Mayor turned national pension reform advocate, is gearing up a new California pension reform measure for a big fight on the 2018 statewide ballot, according to a new exclusive interview. “We are spending so much more on retirement benefits.  That’s essentially the Department of the Past that is getting all […]

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CA Poised to Legalize Marijuana While Putting More Prohibitions on Cigarettes

David Kersten
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy (www.kersteninstitute.org). Kersten is also an adjunct professor of public finance and economics at the University of San Francisco.

Governor Jerry Brown just signed a package of tobacco regulatory bills sent to him by the California Legislature which is being billed as a “major victory for public health.” Among the bills signed yesterday, was an increase in the age at which one can consume tobacco products from 18 to 21 and banning the use […]

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