Sacramento Arena Bill Rushed through Last Days of Session

Strange bedfellows are camping out under the bleachers to oppose an arena in Sacramento for the Kings pro basketball team. They’re united in opposition because of the lack of public debate, the dubious numbers put out by the city and the growing public subsidy. Now they’re opposing legislation by Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, […]

Hearing Uncovered Abuse of CA Special Funds

Only in government is borrowing considered a legitimate way to balance a budget. In California it has become standard operating procedure. To address this growing problem, the state’s Special Funds were the subject of a hearing last week in the Legislature, which I attended. The 500-plus special funds have been routinely raided over the last […]

AB 917 Would Send Charter Schools to the Back of the Class

The popularity and success of California’s 900 charter schools aren’t making everyone happy. Union leaders have tried to organize the non-union schools, but unsuccessfully. New tactic: Hamper the charters’ spread. AB 917, which just passed both houses of the Legislature, might accomplish that. If it becomes law, it also could be the first volley in […]

Will CA Trust SF Bay Bridge Re-opening

After months of controversy over the 36 cracked bolts on the new eastern span of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge, the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee made the decision in July to delay the Bay Bridge opening. But that decision was tossed and other “officials” voted to adopt a “temporary fix” to the new bridge, to […]

Would a New CA Tobacco Tax Decrease State Revenues?

I received two calls from the Board of Equalization late this week claiming information in a story I wrote about the latest tobacco tax bill was wrong. The calls were from Venus Stromberg, spokeswoman, and Brian Miller, tax counsel. SB 768, by state Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, would increase the state’s cigarette tax another […]

AB 10 Would Boost CA Minimum Wage

SACRAMENTO — Obamacare is forcing businesses to slash the working hours of many employees below 30 hours a week. But the workers will be hurt even more in California as Democrats push into law Assembly Bill 10, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas. It increases the state minimum wage from $8 an hour to: * $8.25 an hour in […]

Fracking survives CA Legislature — for now

After sitting through several recent marathon sessions in the Assembly, it was shocking to witness the powerful California environmental lobby lose its attempt to ban oil and gas hydraulic fracturing For this, Californians can be thankful. That got me thinking. What if California’s powerful environmental lobby had been as powerful during the 1849 Gold Rush […]

Dems Water Down GOP Pro-Small Biz Bill

A bill “bait and switch” reveals a lot about attitudes toward small business in the Legislature. A pro-small business Assembly Resolution started out authored by Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, authored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 48, which praised small businesses, designated May “Start a Small Business Month” and advanced some easy fixes to government burdens placed on small […]

Six Bills Would Make It Easier to Pass Tax Increases

SACRAMENTO — The Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Wednesday passed six constitutional amendments to make it easier for local voters to pass various tax increases on property owners. “California didn’t knowingly vote for centralized power,” said Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, speaking about the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, as she opened the committee […]

Republican and Latinos Agree on Education Reforms

Politics makes strange bedfellows. This we know to be true, but Latinos and Republicans should not be. Many demographers predict Republicans will steadily pick up Latino voters as Latino assimilation increases, and Latinos succeed economically. But one area is a natural for Republicans — education. Many Latino voters say education is a leading issue for them, […]