Here are 6 things the Legislature can do to help California recover from economic devastation

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the California economy, especially public-facing businesses. Entertainment – including motion pictures, television, live shows and theme parks – restaurants, accommodations and retail sectors have been laid waste, evaporating thousands of jobs.  Few states depend on this sector as does California. Tourism, hospitality and retail also are the very sectors that […]


Triskaidekaphobia: noun – fear concerning the number 13. Failure is an orphan, but in politics its authors still need a fall guy. Hence the odd notion being advanced that the statewide school bond proposal heading for defeat was injured by its ballot designation: Proposition 13.  “If it passes, it was because it was a school […]

Can Californians afford California? How to flatten the cost curve

Yesterday I wrote of the persistent paradox in California: a state enjoying great economic success suffering depopulation by middle class and working residents. Today I identify some of the key affordability issues and how elected officials can address them.   Housing California’s infamous housing crisis lies at the center of much of the state’s ills, from […]

Can Californians Afford California (Part 1)

By many important measures, California has never been better off. Our state enjoys unprecedented wealth, employment and health.  Our economy created 3.4 million jobs in the ten years since the worst of the Great Recession, a 24 percent growth spurt, driving the unemployment rate to a record low 3.9%. Our job growth has accounted for […]

For voters, affordability concerns doom tax increase promises

Voters are anxious about the cost of living in California. One of the not-so-surprising consequences of this anxiety: they are reluctant to embrace new taxes to pay for even popular ideas, according to a recently released CalChamber poll, The People’s Voice, 2019. Nine of ten voters agree that “earning enough to enjoy a middle class […]

Voters anxious about public order and affordability

California voters are anxious.  Reports of steady growth and low unemployment cheer political leaders, but voters are disturbed by decaying public order and an unaffordable cost of living, according to a recently released CalChamber poll, The People’s Voice, 2019. Top of mind for voters is the erosion of public order.  Central to that perception is […]

Split Roll Vig

Proponents of the split roll property tax increase surfaced a third version of their measure last month, tweaking it in hope of assuaging assessors and others responsible for making sense of the behemoth.  At the time I complained that the new version “would siphon off tens of millions of dollars to support the crushing implementation […]

Three Time Loser

Oops, they did it again.  Proponents have submitted a third attempt at a ballot initiative to create a “split roll,” hiking property taxes by up to $11 billion. This latest version presumably won’t restart the clock, since it amends a month-old measure already being reviewed by the Attorney General and Legislative Analyst. But the changes […]

Five Questions for Split Roll Proponents

Proponents of an $11 billion statewide property tax increase re-filed their ballot initiative this week, claiming “notable improvements to implementation dates, expansive new small business tax relief, clarified education financing and stronger zoning language to ensure large corporations cannot avoid reassessment.” Breaking down the changes, one can’t help but conclude that proponents would not have […]

Tax study? I’ve got a commission for that!

Too often the California Legislature behaves like Alexander the Great on the march. It passes bills and never looks back. That the Legislature should study the effects of the legislation it passes should be obvious, and kudos when it chooses to actually take a look back. But once the decision is made to study an […]