Educating Voters on Education Spending

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

The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll reflected a similar finding from previous PPIC polls that’s puzzling: When it comes to actual state spending priorities versus the knowledge voters have of those spending priorities the lineup is nearly reversed.

California spends the most money from its General Fund budget on K-12 education (42.6%), the next largest amount on Health and Human Services (27.7%), next comes Higher Education (11.9%) and finally Prisons and Corrections (9%). That’s reality. Here’s voter perception when it comes to state funding in order of most to least according to the new PPIC poll: Prisons, Health and Human Services, K-12 and Higher Ed.

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California: Time for a Major Change in Course

Lewis K. Uhler and Jon Coupal
Uhler is Founder and Chairman of the National Tax Limitation Committee (NTLC) and National Tax Limitation Foundation (NTLF). Coupal is the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA).

Governor Brown, California Attorney General Becerra, legislative and other government officials are fixated on battling the new administration in Washington with almost total disregard for California’s major problems and unmet needs. Failure to address these pressing problems threatens the viability of a state whose status is rapidly being transformed from “golden” to “tarnished.”

To help the political class refocus on the important, here is a list of the most exigent problems accompanied by modest solutions, as compiled by a couple of veteran taxpayer advocates who speak with, and hear from, thousands of California taxpayers.

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U.S. Government vs. California – Let The Battle Begin!

Jon Fleischman
Publisher of the FlashReport

On Tuesday, former Attorney General Eric Holder, one of President Barack Obama’s longest serving Cabinet members, paid a visit to one of his newest clients: the California State Legislature.

Holder, who returned back to private practice as a partner with the law firm of Convington and Burling in the fall of 2015,  was hired by the California legislature as part of an aggressive posturing by California’s Democratic leaders against the presidency and policies of Donald Trump.

On November 9, the day after Trump won the election, State Senate President Kevin De Léon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon issued a strong joint statement that began with them saying that they “… woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land …”.

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Trump suggests yanking fed dollars if California’s a ‘sanctuary’—can he do that?

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

The burgeoning political standoff between California and the Trump administration took another step into unprecedented terrain this week when, on a pre-Super Bowl televised interview, the President denounced California as “out of control” and contemplated cutting its federal funding. The threat came in response to moves by the Democratic-controlled Legislature toward providing additional legal protections for undocumented immigrants and labeling California itself a “sanctuary state.”

But with President Donald Trump issuing an executive order to defund sanctuary jurisdictions, and San Francisco suing to have the order declared unconstitutional, a number of questions remain—not the least of which is “can the President really defund an entire state?”

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Foundation Journalism and Caesar’s wife

Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt writes on California policy and politics. He formerly covered the Capitol for the Ventura County Star

As a career newspaper man, it has been with unspeakable pain over the last decade or so that I have watched the demise of the institutions that made it possible for people to know their communities, indeed to exist as communities. Local newspapers, large and small, have either disappeared or become shells of what they once were, with decimated staffs and precious little news space.

I get the economics, understand the impact of Digital Age, and appreciate that only fogies sit around and lament the passing of the way things used to be. The important question now is whether there is model that will sustain print journalism, a model other than the for-profit, publicly owned newspaper companies that simply cannot maintain enough revenues to satisfy stockholders.

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Improving a good thing: making regulatory reform better

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

One of the few significant pro-business reforms to emerge from the Legislature during the recession was a more robust cost-effectiveness requirement for administrative regulations.

Authored by Senator Ron Calderon but written and shepherded by then-Senate staff and now Assemblyman Ken Cooley, the measure required agencies to analyze regulatory alternatives more diligently, provide more extensive economic analysis of major regulations, and require the Department of Finance to provide guidance to agencies on how to best assess cost-effectiveness of regulations and giving the Department limited oversight of agency regulatory analysis.

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NFIB/CA Reveals Initial “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” Bill List

Tom Scott
CA Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business

With the Legislature back at work for the 2017-2018 legislative session, NFIB California released a new “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” bill list which identifies new and developing policy issues in the State Capitol affecting small business. Bills included in this list represent those which will have the greatest impact, either negative or positive, to the 3.5 million small businesses across California.

The California Legislature wasted no time introducing hundreds of new bills affecting a wide range of public policy issues, many of which will have a direct impact on small business owners across this state. With over 600 bills already introduced in just the first two months of the two-year session, small business owners have the daunting challenge of tracking significant public policy issues moving through the State Capitol. At the same time, small businesses are facing very different challenges than big businesses on a daily basis, and our The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly bill list serves as the pulse on these unique issues affecting small business owners in California.

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Grow Up, Sacramento!

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)

Are you finally growing up, Sacramento?

I pose that question not to our state government but to the real Sacramento, by which I mean the Sacramento Capital Region. It’s a query that should be aimed at all of the Central Valley’s big urban areas. Are you ready for civic adulthood, Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto?

The maturity of these cities is more than a regional question. The Valley persistently lags California as a whole in employment, access to health care, and educational attainment. If California is going to make big gains in the decades ahead and reduce inequality, Valley cities will have to lead the way.

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Rendon Endorsement of Chiang Matters

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

The relatively early endorsement of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for gubernatorial candidate state Treasurer John Chiang is important for a number of reasons.

A prominent Latino leader endorsing Chiang shows that former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a previous Assembly Speaker himself, can’t be seen as the candidate that Latino voters and leadership will coalesce around.

The endorsement could awaken donors outside of Chiang’s circle to the viability of his candidacy.

In Chiang’s short email to supporters announcing Rendon’s endorsement, the word “progressive” was used three times. Chiang, known for his fiscal management, wants to emphasize his progressive credentials to California’s decidedly leftward Democratic voters. Key Democratic rival in the governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, has moved his campaign left and Rendon’s endorsement for Chiang helps balance that move.

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L.A. County Consumers Survey Impacts Economy – On Mark Or ‘Trump Effect’?

Billie Greer
Public Policy Advisor, She served as a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s senior staff.

An index assessing consumer sentiment in Los Angeles County, recently released by the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at Claremont McKenna College, sounds a warning signal that could impact the prospects of the local economy.  The index reveals a marked downturn in consumer attitudes in the County which is problematic, given that consumer spending accounts for about 70% of economic activity in the United States.

Believed to be the first of its kind conducted in a major U.S. city, the index shows a 12% decline of consumer optimism in Los Angeles County in the fourth quarter of 2016 versus third quarter 2016 results when there was a sharp rise. The decline was across all ethnic groups and consistent across most age groups, with the exception of senior citizens where there was a significant uptick and in the 45-54 age category. Survey questions focused on the respondent’s current situation, perceived future prospects and spending plans.

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