Smaller Footprint Should Equal Small Tax

Betty Jo Toccoli
President of the California Small Business Association

When you are renting a car, the rental fee is based on the number of miles driven and time utilized.  It makes sense that the small user pays less than someone who utilizes the car for a longer period of time.  The same should be true for the state franchise tax, small business owners who utilize fewer state services and require less oversight should pay a smaller fee than larger businesses that require more state resources.  Legislation (SB 349) by Senator Anthony Portantino, adjusts the franchise fee for small business to relate more to the size of the company rather than requiring the same fee for all businesses regardless of their size.

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Lessons Learned from Measure EE: Not a Blank Check

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

The dust has settled on Measure EE, the 16-cent per square foot property tax rushed onto a June 4 ballot by the LAUSD board and its union. Following last week’s election results, politicians, pundits and school boards across the state are pondering EE’s meaning – trying to determine whether the parcel tax’s defeat was a fluke or an indicator of something bigger. You be the judge.

Below find lessons learned from the No on EE campaign:

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Update on 2019 Environmental Legislation: What Remains?

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Now that the house of origin deadline has passed, and we are basically at the mid-point in the California Legislative Session, we can take a look at pending legislation with particular attention to the bills that will continue along the legislative process in the second house. The focus of this article is on environmental legislation. The following are the major environmental bills of particular interest to the California business community:

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Down the Rabbit Hole on Housing

John Mirisch
Mayor of Beverly Hills

At the end of his pro-SB50 piece, Scott Lay asks: “Could Scott Wiener become the next Howard Jarvis-like figure?”

A better question would be:  “Could Scott Wiener become the next Gordon Gekko-like figure?”

The notion of painting corporatist Scott Wiener — Wall Street and the CBIA’s strongest advocate in Sacramento — as a populist everyman figure who is fighting for small homeowners against government overreach takes us into truly Lewis Carrollian terrain, even within the truly bizarre world of Sacramento politics.

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In California, People Help Guarantee Fair Elections.

Elaine M. Howle
California State Auditor

Headlines across the country have detailed Supreme Court actions regarding various state gerrymandering scandals, the politicizing the Census, and attempts by some states to create new ways to draw district lines after receiving 2020 Census data.

California was not a part of any of those stories. More than a decade ago, California voters took the job of redistricting out of the hands of politicians and gave it to a first-ever citizens commission. The result is a process that ensures fairness and equity in campaigns. And we’re about to take our second walk down that very important road.

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A Budget with Loose Threads

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

The legislature is expected to pass the budget bill today thus satisfying the demand of 2010’s Proposition 25 that required the budget to be passed on time so that legislators may continue to get paid. But when legislators vote on the budget bill before June 15 are they really passing a complete budget?

Legislators admit the budget has placeholder language to be filled in later and will pass budget trailer bills that can have an impact on the state’s final spending plan.

Given those conditions can we really admit that the budget has been passed by the June 15th deadline?

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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 tolls to $7 on the Bay Bridge during rush hour, and to $6 on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges.  

But if recent history in California politics tells us anything, it is that successful tax hikes beget higher and higher tax hikes, and still “bolder and bolder” tax proposals that will continue to increase the already exorbitant cost of living and doing business in the State of California.

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On Housing, California Reaches for a Formula, Not a Solution

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)

It’s an iron-clad rule of California governance: why bother to solve a problem when you can just create a formula to make it more complicated.

That approach to a big problem—those of renting in our era of high housing costs—is now being advanced in the state legislature.

AB 1482, a compromise bill that now seems likely to pass, doesn’t produce more rental housing to limit rents. It doesn’t protect renters from evictions. And it doesn’t do anything to improve rapidly declining quality of rental housing, a huge issue that is largely being ignored in the state. (If anything, the bill may further reduce housing quality).

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Most ‘job killer’ Bills Already Dead

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Going into this year’s legislative session, it appeared that the California Chamber of Commerce’s long string of wins on bills it labels “job killers” might end.

Over the previous two decades, the chamber and its allies in the business community had killed or neutralized about 90 percent of the bills on the annual list. In 2018, just one targeted bill reached then-Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk and he vetoed it.

The list is a fairly reliable annual guide to the big conflicts pitting business and employer groups against unions, environmentalists, personal injury attorneys and consumer advocates. They typically involve business tax increases, additional civil liability, higher employee compensation and/or more governmental regulation with multi-billion-dollar financial stakes.

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The CA Bullet Train is Not Dead, Just Ask Joe Biden

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

In the pundit and prognostication business you sometimes have to own up when you get a prediction wrong and I find myself in that place in relation to California’s high-speed rail. Less than a month ago, I wrote a column under the headline: Don’t Look for the Next President to Rescue the Bullet Train.

Then Joe Biden announced his environmental platform.

Biden environmental plans included: Spark the second great railroad revolution. Biden wants to improve American rail to be the safest, cleanest and fastest in the world. Specific to the California high-speed rail project, Biden’s report states, “He will make progress toward the completion of the California High Speed Rail project.”

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