How to Replace the Gas Tax Law if its Repealed

Ronald Stein
Founder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine

Before the SB1 gas tax, fuel prices in California were already among the highest in the country with State excise taxes at the pump, and State sales tax at the pump, being among the highest in the country. With Californians also bearing the costs associated with compliance with various State environmental regulation laws, Californian’s are paying as much as $1 more per gallon than most folks in the country as all those costs trickle down to the consumer and are hidden within the posted price of fuel at the pump.

In November 2017, as a result of the SB1 gas tax that was passed by our legislature, but never approved by the voters, California’s base excise tax on gasoline went up 12 cents, increasing the total to 30 cents a gallon. Also, the diesel excise tax rose 20 cents, increasing it to 36 cents a gallon, with even more upward adjustments for inflation starting in 2020. The legislative bill SB1 for transportation Infrastructure funding has been projected to raise $52 billion over the next 10 years for infrastructure projects, and the recently passed Proposition 69 now protects the SB1 taxes just for infrastructure.

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What is a Democracy City?

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)

What Is a Democracy City? I’d Love to Hear Your Views

Nations have long been considered the first unit of democracy. To say you live in a democracy is to say you live in a democratic nation.

But that’s a sentiment that may belong to a different era, when democracy was rapidly expanding. Now its growth has slowed down, and some countries have seen democratic reversals at the national level.

Surveys around the world show people have more confidence in the local governments where they live, and the local democracy they experience. Should we consider the city, then, the preferred unit of democracy? And if so, what does it mean to be a democratic city?

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What California’s New Data Privacy Law Means for Marketers

Patrick George
Managing director at KP Public Affairs in Sacramento, California.

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. The new law aims to give consumers more control over their personal data, imposes limitations on how data can be shared with third parties, and forewarns harsh penalties for organizations that don’t comply.

The sweeping and complex law, to take effect in 2020, will affect any local, national, or international company that deals in or manages consumer data for marketing purposes in California — in effect, everyone.

For marketers, this development ushers in an era of rules and obligations.

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Big Gulp! A Soda Tax War is Coming

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

In the tit-for-tat battle over soda taxes, the ball is now in the industry’s court—how will it respond to the announcement that healthcare advocates plan to push a 2020 initiative to allow taxes on sodas?

A soda tax ban came about because legislators, prompted by city officials and union representatives, agreed to a bill to ban soda taxes for more than a decade if backers of an initiative that would require a two-thirds vote on all local taxes would pull the measure.

Gov. Brown’s signature on the bill was still drying when healthcare groups led by the California Medical and Dental Associations announced plans for a 2-cents an ounce soda tax that also would allow local governments to enact soda taxes, undercutting the recently passed bill.

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Arguing With Myself Over Janus

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)

What should we think after the U.S Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees?

That’s the question I keep arguing about with myself. Janus—which weakens unions by declaring unconstitutional requirements that public employees pay “agency fees” to unions they won’t join — is both good and bad, offering the possibility of democratic progress and authoritarian advance.

It’s good for freedom that people who don’t want to join a union and receive its representation don’t have to pay for it. They would be freer if they didn’t have to join the union at all, as in right-to-work states.

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California’s Oligarchs and Agitators

Ed Ring
Ed Ring is the vice president of research policy for the California Policy Center.

If one were to distill the essence of California’s Democratic party into a one-page document, it would be hard to beat a recent mail piece showing the SEIU’s candidate endorsements for California’s top jobs. According to its  website, the Service Employees International Union Local 1000 (SEIU) “is a united front of 96,000 working people employed by the State of California, making Local 1000 the largest public sector union in California and one of the largest in the country.”

Occupying the entire upper-right segment of the obverse side of this mailer is a portrait photo of gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom—a beatific smile revealing perfect teeth, coiffed hair swept back in an elegant pompadour, eyes shining with courage, equanimity, love. Gavin Newsom, the visionary leader, who will lead California into an even more enlightened future. And joining Newsom, the woke white puppet of the Getty oligarchy, arrayed in a row of eight portraits beneath his beneficent gaze, are his hardscrabble minions, the SEIU’s preferred candidates for California’s other state offices.

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Major Online Privacy Bill Becomes Law After Whirlwind Week

Chris Reed
San Diego Union Tribune editorial writer and former host of KOGO Radio’s “Top Story” weeknight news talk show

A far-reaching online privacy bill that got next-to-no vetting or legislative debate was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last Thursday – the product of a quickly hammered-out agreement among state legislators, privacy advocates, tech firms and a real estate tycoon whose qualifying of an even more sweeping privacy measure for the November ballot triggered a frenzy of action at the Capitol in the past week.

Assembly Bill 375 – the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 – would change the playing field in the relationship between users of some online services and the companies that provide the services. It would allow users to ask companies to delete their personal information and to be informed what information about them that the companies were collecting and selling. It would also allow online consumers to sue over some unauthorized breaches of their information – but only for up to $750.

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Happy 4th of July!

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

In celebration of Independence Day, F&H will not publish today.

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July holiday everyone.

Graphics by: Elizabeth Hanretty

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Initiative Reform Is Working – To Aid Extortion

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)

California’s governing and reform elite are far better at self-congratulation than actual reform.

The pattern appears again in the orgy of self-congratulation after three initiatives were removed from the ballot as the result of negotiations with the legislature at the end of June. The self-congratulation is over the 2014 reform that allowed for such removals up until a deadline for the ballot to be finalized. This change effectively created two more months for negotiations to avert ballot measures; previously, once signatures were turned in on an initiative (usually in late April), an initiative couldn’t be pulled off the ballot.

This change, like many other small-bore political reforms in California, was in and of itself a good idea. More time for talking and negotiation is a good idea. But the problem is that, in California’s governing system, small-bore reform is often out of context, and has unintended consequences.

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The Legislature Nose-to-Nose with Ballot Initiatives

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

The talk of the Capitol last week was of “the Hertzberg bill,” which changed the calendar for certain activities related to ballot measures, with the intent to ease legislative fixes to proposed ballot measures – if proponents were amenable.

Though the bill was enacted in 2014, the new process hasn’t been employed until this year, when three ballot proposals came under legislative scrutiny.

Here’s how it works.

The Constitution provides that all ballot measures qualified at least 131 days before a statewide election must appear on that ballot. Prior to 2015, proponents could pull the plug on their proposed initiatives only prior to submitting signatures to county election officials to count signatures. But once submitted to counties, the process was out of the proponent’s hands.

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