Is Proposition 30 Reducing Inequality in California?

Anthony York
President and Publisher of Grizzly Bear Media, covering California politics since 1997, most recently for the Los Angeles Times

A recent item in the New York Times pointed out an important fact: for all the talk of economic inequality as a growing problem, it is also true that inequality has not risen since the Great Recession.

That is not to say we should be crying for the very rich. Only to point out that, while inequality remains at or near its highest levels than at any time since before the Great Depression, it is also true that recent government policy may be taking the edge off – if only a little bit.

That seems to be the case in California, where voters approved higher tax rates on the highest income earners by passing Proposition 30 in 2012.

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California in the Black Without Prop 30 Tax Hikes

James Lacy
Co-founder and managing partner of Wewer & Lacy, LLP

When Gov. Jerry Brown kicked off the campaign for Proposition 30, his tax hike solution to California’s spending problems, he predicted a doomsday scenario if the tax measure failed.

“What do we do?” Brown wondered in the summer of 2012. “Do we dismantle the schools? Do we end the Highway Patrol? Do we open the prison doors?”

California voters, after $40 million of fear-mongering by Brown and his union allies, finally relented. But it turns out the quarter-cent increase in the state sales tax and four new income tax brackets weren’t needed after all.

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A Very Early Start is Appropriate for Governor

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 may seem a bit strange that Gov. Gavin Newsom has already declared he is running for governor in 2018, more than three and a half years before the actual election. Or it may just seem strategic, given the advantages of getting out in front in a state that doesn’t pay much attention to politics.

But let’s also be clear – starting early in running for governor of California is also the right thing to do.

Right in the moral sense, right in the sense of being appropriate, right in the sense of preparation.

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UC Students Call for Divestment Could Become Entangled in Tuition Debate

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

The University of California Student Association board voted to support a resolution to divest from companies that do business in certain countries including the United States. While college students often make statements and take action on political matters, the timing of this advocacy could see the action become tangled up with the ongoing debate over tuition increases and funding for the University of California system.

The vote was in conjunction with the on-going Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement designed to divest from companies doing business in Israel. Student governments at UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UCLA and UC Davis have already passed nonbinding resolutions supporting divestment.

While the resolutions have no power, students intend to make an issue of divestment with the Board of Regents.

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Minorities Have Big Stake in Oil Industry Success

Aubry Stone
President/CEO of the California Black Chamber of Commerce and Director of the California Black Chamber Foundation

Special interests pushing for oil extraction taxes seem to falsely think the oil and gas industry does not pay its fair share.   Let’s set aside the reality that consumers will ultimately pay higher oil taxes and focus on the truth that in California alone, oil and gas companies paid more than $22 billion in state and local taxes in 2012.

Kern County has become the focal point in just how much energy companies’ tax revenues play in local government budgets. Kern County Supervisors recently declared a fiscal emergency due to a $61 million drop in property taxes as a result of falling oil prices.

In order to triage this rapid unexpected revenue loss, local officials are tapping their reserve funds and looking at budget savings within fire services.  The County Fire Department must absorb nearly one-third of this budget hit.

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Secession Pushers Once Again Taking Center Stage

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.

Secession is a word we do not bandy around lightly. The last meaningful attempt was in 1860, when within three months of President Abraham Lincoln’s election; seven states lead by South Carolina decided to leave the Union. Ultimately 11 states took that path thus helping to trigger the Civil War.

Before the outbreak of the war, southern Californians sympathetic to the Confederate cause actually approved a plan to secede from northern California, though the drive fizzled.

But a growing number of modern day variations on the idea of secession have taken root once again and some adventurous social engineers and politicians are advocating radical revisions of the American map.

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Presidents’ Day Holiday

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors

Fox and Hounds Daily is taking the day off to celebrate Presidents’ Day.

And speaking of presidents, if you have some time on the holiday, might we suggest–

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Please visit to learn more.

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Understanding the Meaning about Green Jobs

Rob Lapsley
President, California Business Roundtable

Given the upcoming proposals on the next generation climate policies, it is critically important to start understanding exactly what the green economy means to California’s long term jobs future. According to a recent review from the Center for Jobs and the Economy, multiple studies indicate that 2% of all California jobs are classified as green jobs.  There is evidence that California has gained temporary jobs around construction and installation of solar facilities and consulting work for government and private employers, but it appears that the green sector has not yet developed substantial permanent, middle income jobs for a long term employment base.

We need to put the numbers into perspective and understand the unique role they will play and how we can develop state policies that recognize their importance while growing the other 98% of our current jobs in other sectors.

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Remembering Don Clausen

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

Former Congressman Don Clausen of Santa Rosa died last week at the age of 91.  Not many people would remember it, but his entering politics, and his leaving it, tells us much about what has transpired in California and American politics over the past half century.

Don Clausen ran for Congress as a Republican in 1962 in a marginally Republican district running from Marin County to the Oregon border.  His opponent was Democratic Rep. Clem Miller, but just before the election Miller was killed in a plane crash.  Claussen, the gentleman that he was, stopped campaigning, but Democrats urged a sympathy vote for Miller, and on Election Day the dead Miller bested the live Clausen.

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Taft-Hartley Act an Option for Ports Labor Dispute

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

For nine months, negotiators for the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have been unsuccessful in crafting a labor agreement to replace the contract that ended on July 1, 2014.  The PMA represents the shippers that use the West Coast ports of the United States to import and export products. The ILWU represents 20,000 longshoremen that work the ports.

Last week PMA and ILWU engaged in dueling press releases to communicate with the public. PMA cited its most recent contract offer and statistics about labor slowdowns at the ports. ILWU said that negotiators were very close to agreement and that PMA was threatening the process.

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