Why CTA Needs to Pull its Anti-Charter Ads Now

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)

Charter schools have their problems—some are high-performing. Some aren’t. Some are models that other schools should be mulating.. Some would be better off shut down.

But the idea that charters, which serve a fraction of students, represent a top priority in California is nuts.

So it’s maddening to see the California Teachers Association, in an ad campaign, targeting charters and the billionaires who have backed some of them. It’s not so much the points that CTA is making. It’s that CTA has picked this as a priority.

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Mainstream Political Commentators Question Value, Motivations of California Legislature’s Far Left Political Agenda 

David Kersten
Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy

The 2015-16 Legislative Session is in the books but some high-profile commentators are questioning what appears to be a far leftward drift in the policy agenda of the liberal California Democrat Legislature that has forgotten about the state’s middle class and the need to grow our economy.

The dust has not even settled on the end of session battles, and there is a pile of hundreds of liberal bills on the Governor’s desk, but analysts appear to agree that the 2015-16 was perhaps the most liberal or far-left legislative session in recent history.

George Skelton, a prominent left-leaning LA Times Columnist, opined “The California Legislature capped its two-year session by passing a load of liberal bills to help poor people, including farmworkers.  That’s good, but what about middle middle-class folks?” according to Skelton’s recent column.

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Brown Should Approve Oversight Bill on High-Speed Rail Project

Assemblyman Jim Patterson
Assembly Member Jim Patterson represents the 23rd District, which includes portions of Fresno and Tulare counties.

Democrats in Sacramento have developed a case of buyer’s remorse so strong that they joined Republicans to pass a groundbreaking high-speed rail accountability measure. Finally the Legislature is standing up for taxpayers and Governor Brown should take note.

I introduced AB 2847 to strengthen the public and Legislature’s oversight of the High-Speed Rail Authority. This bill implements two recommendations from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. First, it requires specific details about the cost, scope, and schedule of each project segment to make it easier to track changes. It also requires that business plans include the cost of borrowing associated with the project as a whole and for the construction of the various segments.

We can no longer accept the fantasy documents we’ve been receiving.

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AB-1889 (Mullin) – Caltrain sponsored legislation to take funds from High Speed Rail

Morris Brown
Resident of Menlo Park and Founder of DERAIL, a grassroots effort against the California high-speed rail project

In the last hour of the Legislative session on Aug 31, final approval was given to AB-1889, which was dispatched to the Governor for his hoped for signature.

Pushed though with Democratic caucus support, this bill takes $600 million in funding from the voter approved Prop 1A High Speed Rail bond act and will partially fund the Caltrain modernization project. In the future it would enable more funding to be used to fund any number of regional rail projects.

The bill started out as a “gut and amend” special in late June. It then was heard in the Senate’s Transportation and Housing committee, chaired by Senator Beall. There Beall suppressed a letter of opposition and refused to even allow opposition speakers to talk. Unexpectedly, committee member, Senator Cathleen Galgiani, a Democrat, and the Author of Prop 1A back in 2008, strenuously objected to the bill, but it passed through the committee anyway.

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Business Losses and Wins in Legislative Bills Battle

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

No one knows for sure what  Governor Brown will do with the 800 bills on his desk that await his signature, but for the business community the recently ended legislative session saw some successes and some big setbacks. Perhaps there are more to come.

Concerned with the idea of extending and increasing greenhouse gases reduction mandates, the business community’s protests about further loss of manufacturing might and economic disruption fell on deaf ears as the legislature passed SB 32. Brown has already assured Californians he will sign that bill and an accompanying measure that provides some legislative oversight of the California Air Resources Board.

Previously, to avoid an initiative and give governors a modicum of control in measuring the economic impact of minimum wage increases, the legislature passed and Brown signed an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Business opposed this dramatic increase claiming jobs would be lost. Time will tell, but there is little uncertainty that this measure put another large burden on the state budget because the state will have to increase the wages of its own minimum wage workers. That budget increase could possibly lead to new taxes for business and other taxpayers.

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Runaway Legislature Demands Return to Part-Time Operation

John Seiler
Former Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register

When the Legislature finally adjourned at the end of August, it again screamed the need for a return to part-time operations. The “reform” of the late 1960s that imposed a full-time gathering of busybodies in the Capitol was one of the state’s biggest mistakes.

Misguided voters passed Proposition 1A in 1966, the same year they put Ronald Reagan in the governor’s chair. The first thing the new full-timers did was pass a massive tax increase. Reagan had campaigned against any tax increase. He broke that pledge and signed $1 billion in higher taxes, equivalent to something like $20 billion more today, the highest state tax increase in history.

Fast-forward to 2016 and the Legislature passed one absurd bill after another, many supposedly “helping” the poor, but actually hurting them. The farm worker overtime bill has been covered by my colleagues and I here at Fox and Hounds.

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The EU Is Stealing Our Apple Taxes

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)

The European Union is trying to steal taxes that ought to belong, at least in part, to California.

The EU made news with its demand that Ireland collect $13 billion from Cupertino-based Apple, which has used its presence in Cork to avoid taxation.

But the taxation it’s been avoiding isn’t really European—it’s American and Californian. And what was striking about the controversy over the EU’s tax demand is that Apple effectively admits this.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a statement, argued that the EU is retroactively changing tax rules to get Apple to pay taxes to a country, Ireland, that says Apple doesn’t owe it taxes. But he went on to add the following:

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A Labor Day Update on the California Economy

Rob Lapsley
President, California Business Roundtable

Labor Day 2016 continues to show improving conditions within California’s economy.  The Legislature has just concluded a session that is being described as one of the most progressive ever for environmental and labor union policies. And Governor Brown is looking at over 700 new laws on his desk. His signature or veto will directly impact the fate of our job growth for years to come.

California Economy Continues Transformation

The revised June job numbers show that since the recovery began in February 2010, our state has regained  2.3 million nonfarm jobs.  Our seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.4% while higher marginally from prior months, put us at levels not seen since before the recession in the summer of 2007.  We see the benefits of this every day. New cars are on the road. New housing and home renovations are underway. The malls and restaurants are busy. It should and does feel good.

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Happy Labor Day!

Fox and Hounds Daily Editors
 

Happy Labor Day! Fox & Hounds will resume posting on Tuesday, September 6th.

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The Best/Worst Bills of 2015-2016 & A Critique of California’s Initiative System

Carson Bruno
Research Fellow, The Hoover Institution

Over the last two years, the State Legislature has introduced and considered over 5,000 bills, resolutions, and constitutional amendments. Over the last few months, I’ve taken a cursory look at some of these, nominating the best and worst bills under consideration.

Today, I announced the winners in each category.

BEST:

To recap, the nominees are SB 1248AB 650AB 1755, and  Budget Trailer Bill 707.  

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