The LA Teachers’ Walkout from a Teacher’s Point-of-View

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

This site has featured commentaries from two of our bloggers (Joe Mathews and Matt Klink) on the one hour walkout of the Los Angeles teachers union to protest the education funding proposal in the governor’s budget. Now comes a look at this issue — as well as a broader view of teachers’ unions — from an insider. Doug Lasken, an English teacher in the LAUSD, penned this article for the Los Angeles Daily News. It’s well worth the read.

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New Majority calls for Real Budget Reform at Media Roundtable

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Individuals from the New Majority, the powerful and well-heeled business executives’ organization dedicated to electing mainstream Republicans, could support revenue increases but only if accompanied by real budget reform.

While not an official position of the organization, some of the Orange County chapter’s leaders said at a media roundtable in Costa Mesa yesterday that if a revenue increase were the price for true reform to solve the continuing budget crisis, then the organization would consider such a package.

Membership Chairman Paul Folino compared fixing the state budget mess with turning around a floundering company. He said one has to be mindful of both the short-term fixes as well as making things work in the long term and getting away from the circumstances that plagued the company.

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A Split Property Tax Roll is a Bad Idea

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Not surprisingly, considering the size of the projected state budget deficit, some are calling for tax increases that are unique or rarely heard: A tax on beer, on iTunes and movie downloads, even on strip clubs. Then there is the old standby—raise business property taxes; Peter Schrag called for an increase of business property taxes in his column yesterday in the Sacramento Bee.

This effort is commonly called the “split roll” because the idea is to split the property tax roll placing residential properties in one category and business properties in another while increasing the tax rate or assessment requirements that will tax business properties more heavily.

Even when Proposition 13 was on the ballot in 1978 an alternative was offered to the voters to treat business property differently from residential property. That measure went down to defeat. Since then a number of efforts to create a split roll have gathered signatures. The one to reach the ballot was defeated.

A split roll has not been passed for very good reasons. Those reasons have not changed even with the shadow of a large budget deficit hanging over the state. In fact, considering that the budget deficit is the result of a sour California economy there are even more sound reasons to reject the idea of a split roll.

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Back to the Future to Solve Budget Delays?

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Perhaps, the way to fix future budget delays is to go Back to the Future. The character Marty McFly in the movie by that same name went back in time to re-adjust happenings in the past that would make life better in the future.

Since no time machine has been invented yet to change the past, maybe we should simply borrow an idea from years ago that could help with passing budgets in the future.

From 1933 to 1962, a simple majority vote to approve the state budget was required if the yearly budget increase were 5% or less. If the yearly increase was more than 5%, a two-thirds vote was required. Bringing that provision back may solve many a budget impasse and at the same time provide a reasonable spending cap.

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Controller’s Report Shows Business Taking a Hit

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Some interesting information appears in the Controller’s Report on revenue issued this week. Those who think taxing business is the way to solve California’s budget problem should especially take notice.

The Controller reported that while income tax came in a surprising 12.1% above May Revise projections (a plus $283 million), the increase in dollars was greatly offset by a 3.5% drop off in projections in sales tax ($124 million off)and a whopping 36.1% below projections for the corporate tax ($90 million lower than expected).

Compared to May a year ago, corporate taxes are down 49%.

Yet, with business clearly suffering some think the answer for California’s budget woes is to tax business more. Adding a tax on business will just slow business even more, which means revenue for government will likely decrease not increase.

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Exclusive Interview – With the Voting Ghost

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

With all the controversy this week about ghost voting in the state legislature, Fox and Hounds Daily attained an exclusive interview with the Ghost about his voting practices.

F&H: So, you’re the ghost who votes on these bills. Tell me Ghost, why do you do it?

GHOST: Someone has to vote. Do you realize how many bills need to be voted on? Thousands! If you waited for all the legislators to be present for all those votes they would never get anything done around here so I help out.

F&H: So what political philosophy guides your voting practices?

GHOST: Political philosophy? Please. Liberal or conservative doesn’t matter to me. What matters is an unguarded vote button I can push. Sometimes I vote the opposite way the member would vote just to have fun.

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Joel Kotkin Warns: Global Warming Issue Could Lead to Social Engineering

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Noted Urban Studies scholar Joel Kotkin argues that some in the environmental movement are using the issue of global warming to further an agenda to regulate land use and force people to move back into cities, creating high density living conditions.

Kotkin, Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange, California and author of THE CITY: A GLOBAL HISTORY, spoke at a recent conference on California Public Policy sponsored by the Claremont Institute.

A self-described life-long Democrat, Kotkin spoke of how the global warming issue is being used politically by those with an agenda. Kotkin said in this case the issue is not about energy or environmental effects but rather about compelling people to act in a certain way. “Its a social agenda.”
Kotkin charged that “urbanists” want people to move to the central city to cut down on driving miles. Kotkin noted that in Los Angeles only 4% of the population works in the central city as compared to 50% in New York City.

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Representative Government?

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

First, there was the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Survey, which asked voters if Proposition 13 thirty years after it passed had been a good thing or a bad thing for the state. 59% said it had been mostly good; 27% said it had been mostly bad for California.

Then came Arnold Steinberg’s poll, which had Prop 13 favored by 48% to 20%. When Steinberg described the features of Prop 13 – placing limits on property tax increases and requiring voter approval of tax increases — the numbers jumped to 60% in favor of Prop 13, 26% opposed.

Then came the Field Poll. Prop 13 had an advantage here, too, 57% to 23%. When the voters were asked if they wanted to change some features of Prop 13 like raising property taxes more than 2% a year or reducing the two-thirds vote to raise state taxes, these proposals were rejected by over 70%.

Meanwhile, in the Legislature resolutions were proposed that would honor Proposition 13 on its 30th anniversary. The legislative majority buried these resolutions.

Which begs the question—Who do the representatives in our representative government represent?

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An unused pen is pretty mighty, too

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

It has been said that the "Pen is mightier than the sword." But, apparently an unused pen is pretty powerful, too. In a study just released by the Milken Institute’s California Center on the 2007 Hollywood Writers’ Strike, it is claimed that the strike will cost California’s economy a staggering $2.1 billion and 37,700 jobs by the end of this year.

The authors of the study, Kevin Klowden, Anusuya Chatterjee and Ross DeVol, say that the writer’s strike was one of the factors that tipped California into a recession.

According to the study, the strike rippled through the economy to the following effect:

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Governor Schwarzenegger in the Cabinet? We Asked John McCain.

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Will John McCain have a spot in his cabinet for Arnold Schwarzenegger if he wins the presidency? Fox and Hounds Daily had a chance to ask John McCain a few questions and we started with that one. Here are our questions and Senator McCain’s responses.

1) Will you consider offering Governor Schwarzenegger a position in your cabinet or a prominent role in a McCain Administration?

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