In CA, Political Power Resides where Jobs are Strong

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

The California Business Roundtable’s monthly report on the state’s employment situation feels like a Jackson Pollock painting with bright colors here, dark spots there while containing hints to why the state’s political power resides where it does.

The Roundtable’s California Center for Jobs and the Economy reports the state’s unemployment rate is 5.4% in June, an uptick of .2% from May. While California ranked first in job creation from June 2015 to June 2016 with 388,211 jobs created (Texas is second with 234,004), California ranks only 22nd when the job creation is calculated as a percentage change. Employment growth per 1000 population California is 21st.

While job gains in the fields of Accommodations, Food Services and Health Care lead the list, job losses are most in the good paying fields of manufacturing and construction as seen in the accompanying chart.

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We Need A Prop 13-Style Ballot Initiative For Gasoline And Diesel Taxes

Kerry Jackson
Kerry Jackson is a Fellow at the California Center for Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

Attorney General Kamala Harris has reportedly opened an investigation of oil refiners over gasoline prices. But if she truly wants to know why gasoline and diesel cost so much in California, she’ll be grilling the wrong suspects. She should instead investigate the general assembly.

Politicians love to conduct oil industry inquisitions. They know that to some voters, it makes them look like bold warriors fighting on behalf working families. Whenever there’s a spike in gasoline prices, government probes spike, too. Oil companies are characterized as “greedy” multinational corporations “conspiring” and “colluding” to “gouge” customers just because they can. What these faceless, soulless firms are doing is an outrage that must be countered by government power.

Inevitably, these investigations find no villains and prices, primarily determined by supply and demand, soon fall off their highs. In some cases, the drop is precipitous. Do oil companies then garner praise from politicians and bureaucrats for declining prices? Never. It’s as if nothing has happened. Media are uninterested and elected officials look for the next bogeyman. Playing to the electorate is a never-ending task.

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The U.S. Cities Creating The Most White-Collar Jobs, 2016

Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires
Joel Kotkin, Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University, and Michael Shires, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University

The information sector may have glamour and manufacturing, nostalgia appeal, but the real action in high-wage job growth in the United States is in the vast realm of professional and business services. This is not only the largest high-wage part of the economy, employing just under 20 million people at an average salary of $30 an hour, it’s also one the few high-wage sectors in which employment has expanded steadily since 2010, at more than 3% a year, adding nearly 3 million white-collar jobs.

In many ways, the business and professional service sector may be the best indicator of future U.S. economic growth. It is not nearly as vulnerable to disruption as energy, manufacturing or information employment, and more deeply integrated into the economy, including professions like administrative services and management, legal services, scientific research, and computer systems and design.  In a pattern we have seen in other sectors, much of the growth is concentrated in two very different kinds of places: tech-rich metro areas and those that offer lower costs, and often more business-friendly atmospheres.

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Business Strategy on Prop 55

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Business organizations are beginning to line up against Proposition 55, the income tax extension, but is it a matter of showing the flag or engaging in full force? Long term strategy on business related tax issues is part of business’s calculation.

No question business is opposing the effort to extend for 12 years what was promised by Gov. Jerry Brown to be a temporary tax when initially placed before voters as Prop 30. The California Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business/California have already come out in opposition to Prop 55. Particularly significant is the case of CalChamber since it was neutral during the Prop 30 campaign.

The important question: will members of the business community raise big money to oppose the tax extension?

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Prop 53 Gives Taxpayers Less Say, Not More

Gary Toebben
President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

One of the myths of Proposition 53 – the Cortopassi ballot measure – is that it somehow would give taxpayers more control over the funding of major infrastructure projects.

In truth, Proposition 53 gives local taxpayers and residents less ability to decide what gets built in their communities.

One of the little-known details of Proposition 53 is that it will force statewide votes on some local projects. It specifically requires cities and towns that want to come together with the state and form Joint Power Authorities to issue revenue bonds to put their measure on a statewide ballot.

That means that if residents in Los Angeles decide they want to make bridge safety repairs, then voters from Redding to Bakersfield would have the right to veto that decision.

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Get Back, Loretta

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Let me start with an admission of error.

I recently chastised Rep. Loretta Sanchez in this space for going to Spain earlier in the summer, instead of campaigning for the U.S. Senate. I argued that she needed to make a real full-time campaign, for her own good.

I was wrong to say that. Sanchez on the campaign trail is actually worse than Sanchez off the trail. She should get back to Europe–or to any place she can find far from California and representatives of any of its media outlets.

The more she talks, the worse she looks.

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The Future of Latino Politics

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

The sad decline in race relations has focused, almost exclusively, on the age-old, and sadly growing, chasm between black and white. Yet this divide may prove far less important, particularly in this election, than the direction of the Latino community.

This may be the first election where Latinos, now the nation’s largest minority group, may directly alter the result, courtesy of the race baiting by GOP nominee Donald Trump. If the GOP chooses to follow his nativist pattern, it may be time to write off the Republican Party nationally, much as has already occurred in California.

Today, Latinos represent 17 percent of the nation’s population; by 2050, they will account for roughly one in four Americans. Their voting power, as the GOP is likely to learn, to its regret this year, is also growing steadily, to 12 percent of eligible voters this year, and an estimated 18 percent by 2028.

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A Tale of Two Conventions

Richard Rubin
He writes about political issues and is President of a Public Affairs Management Firm. He also teaches courses on the Presidential & Congressional Elections at the University of San Francisco and is Vice Chair of the California Commonwealth Club.

The decision as to which Party holds the first nominating convention is determined by the current White House occupant?

Advantage Hillary Clinton and the Democrats who have the benefit of knowing what was said and can now polish the rebuttals.

The over-riding theme of the GOP conclave was easy enough to identify. It was attack Hillary and keep attacking.

“Lock her up” was the resounding cry of the delegates who did not come to Cleveland for further affirmation of Trump’s presidential worthiness. The majority are already convinced despite questions that could shake that assumption to its core as the general election campaign begins.

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Hysteria Over Trump Hits California Media

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

The possibility that Donald Trump might win the presidency has set off high decibels of hysteria among the political establishment, and no more so than in blue California. Despite an historic level of unpopularity in California, it is quite possible Trump could be elected. The media and political establishment are already musing about what it would do if that happened.

Take for instance the California reaction of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s political attack on Trump. “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she told the New York Times.

This is not some alderman for the 3rd district speaking; this is a Supreme Court justice, one ninth of one third of the government of the United States. Ginsburg’s remarks were so unethical and out of line and she was forced to apologize a few days later.

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Direct Democracy Strategy Questions Raised by Gun Referendums

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Californian’s embrace of direct democracy continues to entrance those who want to legislate from the outside or to undo legislative actions. As explained in Laurel Rosenhall’s column Friday a bill intended to limit direct democracy has not reduced the number of measures that will appear on November’s ballot. Perhaps this is a result of circumstance—the lower signature count necessary to qualify measures or the decision of the legislature to crowd all initiatives on the General Election ballot.

The tools of direct democracy are available to those who want to set an agenda or to force the legislature into action, or to reverse legislative action. I’m guilty of this myself both in being a proponent of initiatives that changed laws, and in the case of the workers comp initiative that never went before voters, a measure that pushed the legislature into action it probably would not have taken without the persuasive power of a coming, popular proposition.

The power to undo legislative action is a course I never participated in, which brings me to try and understand the strategy to refer to voters the six gun related bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

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