Service tax proposal is a veiled tax increase

California’s elected leaders are enjoying the fruits of a go-go economy, with record surpluses and record spending on education. So naturally there’s talk of tax increases. Californians have enjoyed nearly 10 years of economic growth, and one of the biggest beneficiaries has been the state budget.  Since the depths of the recession the state budget […]

California’s Private Economy Fuels State Budget Surpluses

Taxes continue to pour into the state treasury, like spring snowmelt into Lake Oroville. Thanks to the engine of California’s private economy – the creativity of business leaders and productivity of employees – and the wealth it creates, Governor Gavin Newsom last week announced that revenues exceeded earlier budget estimates by more than $3 billion, […]

Pay your taxes? Take a breath, more may be on the way

Today is Tax Day, so if you’re not up to your ears in forms and schedules, you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief. Just don’t get too relaxed. More than $15 billion in tax increases – mostly aimed at business taxpayers – await hearings and decisions in the Legislature. If the tax proposals get that […]

One Year Countdown to the Census

In just one year, the US government will fulfill its once-a-decade duty to count every American. April 1, 2020 is Census Day. Armed with a $15 billion budget, the Census Bureau will aim to gather a few key facts about all residents: location, age, race/ethnicity, home ownership, and household members. For the first time, the […]

Reclaiming the California Promise

California’s success recovering from the Great Recession masks profound challenges that will bedevil Governor Gavin Newsom and his fellow elected California leaders. During the teeth of the recession, California lost more than 1.3 million jobs and per capita income sagged by 6%. But since hitting bottom nearly a decade ago, we’ve added more than 3 […]

Why Tax Reform is Hard

Governor Newsom’s musings have set tax reformers buzzing. Deflecting a question at a budget briefing about where he stands on a ballot proposal to raise property taxes on business, the Governor disclosed his “desire is to use this as an exercise in bringing the parties together to see if we can compromise on a more […]

Newsom’s First Budget Goes Easy on Taxes

In his recently-released state budget proposal, Governor Newsom made two important and supportive statements on California’s business and economic climate. First, he reinforced the need for state fiscal stability. While enjoying the benefit of more than $20 billion in surplus revenues, he chose to direct most of the surplus either to bolstering the Rainy Day […]

Housing Woes Threaten California’s Middle Class

California’s housing crisis is the worst threat to our middle class lifestyle since the recession. Our median home listing price is nearly twice the national average, and besides Hawaii is higher than any other state. Our median rental rate is half again higher than the national average, and is also the highest in the nation (other than Hawaii). When […]

California’s Next Governor Will Have a Long “Want-List.”

On Day One of his new administration, Gavin Newsom or John Cox will enunciate his vision for California, and call on the Legislature to implement it, whether it’s spurring more housing, increasing school funding, eliminating the new “sanctuary” law, cutting taxes or “resisting” the Trump Administration. He will set the agenda for how to spend […]

#MeToo, But Maybe Not For You

Preventing sexual harassment and protecting victims has been a high priority for the Legislature – fallout from the #MeToo movement sweeping politics, the media and Hollywood, and especially on the heels of harassment scandals in the State Capitol. So it’s noteworthy that one of the signature bills to combat sexual harassment explicitly exempts the Legislature and other […]