Revenue windfall creates political dilemma

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

As Gov. Gavin Newsom makes the final decisions on writing a 2021-22 budget, he’s receiving some good revenue news from his beancounters. During the first four months of the 2020-21 budget cycle, which began on July 1, state general fund revenues were more than $11 billion higher than the apocalyptic estimates on which the budget […]

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What will tax increase advocates do now?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Proposition 15, which would have boosted property taxes on commercial real estate by billions of dollars a year, finally bit the dust last week. It wasn’t a surprise. Although its advocates — unions, mostly — may cite the COVID-19 pandemic and recession as causes for failure, the measure never polled strongly even before the twin […]

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How long will Newsom have one-man rule?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

California has been a one-party state for the last decade, with Democratic governors and supermajorities in both legislative houses doing pretty much as they pleased without paying any attention to the relative handful of Republican legislators. However, one-party rule gave way to one-man rule eight months ago when Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency due […]

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Does more money mean better schools?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

It’s by no means certain that California voters will pass Proposition 15, but if they do, it would be the largest tax increase in the state’s history. That said, it would provide a relatively small down payment on the long-standing desire of the state’s educational establishment for a massive increase in spending that’s needed, advocates […]

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Misusing taxpayers’ money for campaigns

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

California voters are not only voting on presidential, congressional, legislative and local government offices and a dozen statewide ballot measures but deciding the fate of 234 local tax and bond measures. The California Taxpayers Association estimates that if passed, the local tax measures would raise about $1.5 billion a year in new revenues. The proposed […]

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Most ‘job killer’ bills bite the dust again

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

As COVID-19 slammed into California a half-year ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a partial shutdown of what had been a high-flying economy to combat the deadly virus, plunging the state into its worst recession since the Great Depression. In turn, the pandemic and the recession spawned a flurry of legislative bills aimed, their sponsors said, […]

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Legislature leaves much undone

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

When the Legislature reconvened in January, the stage was seemingly set for a year of sweeping action on California’s most vexing political issues, such as a chronic housing shortage, homelessness and an embarrassingly high poverty rate. Democrats enjoyed overwhelming majorities in both legislative houses, the Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, was fond of pursuing “big hairy, […]

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California’s crisis of competence

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Year by year and article by article, Ralph Vartabedian has revealed to Californians the woeful shortcomings of the state’s largest public works project, a north-south bullet train. Vartabedian, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, has made a virtual career of uncovering the project’s managerial, financial and political failings, lending factual credence to the conclusion […]

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Misusing taxpayer dollars for campaigns

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Four of the 12 measures on California’s November ballot were placed there by the Legislature. Let’s assume that legislators had also appropriated $100 million in taxpayers’ money for campaigns to persuade voters to approve the four. It would have been an outrageous and likely illegal misappropriation of public funds under several laws. Using public funds […]

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State tech failures hit home again

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

While marking time as lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom wrote a book about how technology could transform government. “I want to make government as smart as Google,” Newsom told an interviewer after the book, “Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square and Reinvent Government,” was published in 2013. While technology “is flattening major institutions” and transforming […]

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