Small Business Releases its 2020 Legislative Agenda

John Kabateck
NFIB State Director in California

Not in any of our members’ memory has NFIB California needed to shape and refine its legislative agenda for the coming session so soon, but these are extraordinary times.

The fate of thousands of people who have freely chosen to be their own bosses, the further legal life of the only tax that has done more for economic stability than anything else, and the threatening potential from even more lawsuit abuse are just a few of the things hanging in the balance when California legislators reconvene January 6, 2020. 

For 76 years, it’s been the National Federation of Independent Business’ primary educational mission to remind legislators and policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of big businesses. They have different struggles in remaining solvent. 

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San Francisco’s ‘homeless tax’ helps spur departure of another high-profile company

Chris Reed
San Diego Union Tribune editorial writer and former host of KOGO Radio’s “Top Story” weeknight news talk show

Will Uber be the next tech company to bail on San Francisco? 

Less than a year after losing by far its biggest-grossing company to Texas – the pharmaceutical giant McKesson Corp. – San Francisco is losing another high-profile firm. Stripe, a financial software company that is the second-highest valued start-up in the U.S., is moving to South San Francisco.

Both McKesson and Stripe were unhappy with Measure C, the “homeless tax” approved by San Francisco voters last November that requires companies based in the city, which have more than $50 million in annual revenue, to pay a levy based on their gross receipts. McKesson moved to Irving, a suburb of Dallas, which has no such tax and much lower overall corporate taxes. While South San Francisco is not as cheap as Irving, it doesn’t have anything akin to San Francisco’s tax, which has helped the city attract many tech firms, in particular biotech giant Genentech.

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Does California Really Need Yet Another Statewide School Bond?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state leaders have been bursting with self-congratulation about the new state school bond they’ve just placed on the March 2020 ballot.

And they have some reason to do so. This school bond is designed to address some problems of previous such bonds, especially around equity. In the past, school bond money, which requires matching funds, has gone disproportionately to communities with wealth and strong existing plants. This new bond is designed to make things a little more even, and put more money into modernization of school plants—to make drinking water safety, address health and safety, and update structures for seismic reasons. 

But those improvements don’t address the larger question: Why does California need yet another state school bond? Much less a $15 billion bond, the largest in the history of the state. 

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Senator Warren’s Wealth Tax Example Hit Home in CA 40 years Ago

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

While Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is gaining attention and objections on how she proposes to pay for her Medicare-for-All plan, let’s focus on the initial defense of her wealth tax proposal which proves to be a succinct explanation for why middle class Californians embraced Proposition 13’s property tax protections.

Warren defended her wealth tax on rich taxpayers with the following argument: “Middle class America has been paying a wealth tax forever. It’s called a property tax on their principal accumulation of wealth, which is their home.”


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Summary of Plastic Recycling Ballot Measure

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

(Editor’s note: Chris Micheli provides an analysis of the recycling initiative filed Monday.)


Filed November 4, 2019

SEC.1. Title

This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of 2020.”

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How Should PG&E be Overhauled

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Almost daily, Newsom denounces PG&E for shoddy maintenance of power lines that sparked devastating wildfires and abrupt blackouts in suburban and rural areas to prevent more conflagrations.

Late last week, he ratcheted up his war on PG&E, appointing a trusted aide to study how the utility might be transformed and suggesting that if it doesn’t satisfactorily reform itself and/or change ownership and emerge from bankruptcy, some kind of state seizure is a possibility.

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SF DA’s Race Foreshadows Coming LA DA’s Fight and Continuing Battle Over the Criminal Justice System

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

Today’s vote in San Francisco will not merely fill the District Attorney position but provide insight on where California stands in the national movement to change the criminal justice system. That effort, spurred on by progressives, will extend to Los Angeles next year when the county’s voters will likely decide between two candidates who will represent different views on how rapidly the criminal justice is changed with public safety the key question in the debate.

It seems laughable to say in the left-leaning bastion of San Francisco that the DA battle is over progressive politics. But San Francisco, like many cities, has seen a rise in street crimes. More and more citizens there are speaking up against activities such as open drug use on the streets and growing rash of property crimes like car break-ins.

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Can The Russians Take Palmdale?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Never surrender the high ground to your enemies. Which means we ought to be wary of what the Russians might want with the high desert city of Palmdale.

U.S. Rep. Katie Hill’s implosion and resignation have attracted a motley collection of potential candidates into the race. Among them is George Papadopoulos, who served the Russia-aided and Russia-penetrated presidential campaign of Donald Trump. He was eventually sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.

Papadopoulous has no ties to the district, and media reports indicated he was registered to vote at his mother’s place in Chicago. So it’s fair to be highly suspicious of his sudden interest in the seat. 

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Can We Stop The Santa Anas?

Ralph E. Shaffer
Professor Emeritus of History at Cal Poly Pomona

As the devastating Santa Anas roared through Southern California last week, everyone was talking about the wind but nobody could do anything to stop it.  But once, well over a century ago, a Los Angeles editor revealed a plan to block those already dreaded Santa Ana winds from decimating the region. What went wrong?

The idea generated by Isaac Kinley, editor of SoCal’s first daily, The Star, appeared in an editorial in 1879. It may be the earliest reference to the Santa Anas in print. Although Kinley didn’t call them by that name, referring instead to “the Cajon invasion,” everyone knew what he meant. 

By 1879 the Santa Anas were already considered a threat to the infant citrus industry. Kinley’s idea originated in part out of the concerns of orchardists whose trees and crops were at the mercy of those winds. Without citing any figures, he argued that the monetary loss through damage by the Santa Anas would more than pay the cost of blocking the wind. 

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A Few Good Questions for the Next Democratic Debate

Tony Quinn
Political Analyst

The Democratic National Committee has announced that UCLA will host the sixth Democratic debate in California in December.  Given California’s outsized role in the Democratic Party, the candidates should be asked questions unique to our state.

A good question to start with would be: Why is California, the most liberal and most Democratic of the big states, also America’s number one impoverished state?  Our poverty rate, when adjusted for inflation, is the highest in the nation.  How could this be in this state of such great wealth? The quick answer is that we do not produce the good blue collar jobs we did 50 years ago.  High school graduates find it hard to get good paying jobs in California. With outrageous home prices, they also cannot afford a place to live.  

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