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Nov. 17, 2017

California posted strong job gains in October, as the Golden State’s economic engine pushed the unemployment rate down to 4.9% from 5.1% a month earlier.

In all, the state added 31,700 net new jobs last month, according to data released Friday by the Employment Development Department.

The report marked the first time since March that employers added jobs in consecutive months, boosting confidence in an economy that has slowed somewhat from last year.

News
Nov. 17, 2017

American climate-change activists point to Europe, and especially Germany, as the paragon of green energy virtue. But they ought to look closer at Angela Merkel’s political struggles as she tries to form a new government in Berlin amid the economic fallout from the Chancellor’s failing energy revolution.

Berlin last month conceded it will miss its 2020 carbon emissions-reduction goal, having cut emissions by just under 30% compared with 1990 instead of the 40% that Mrs. Merkel promised. The goal of 55% by 2030 is almost surely out of reach.

News
Nov. 15, 2017

The LAO’s outlook shows the state would finish its 2018-19 budget year with more than $19 billion in reserves – assuming lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown don’t make any more spending commitments. About $11 billion is obligated for the state’s rainy day fund.

Lawmakers could spend about $7.5 billion of the surplus, although analysts recommend that they save it to prepare for a recession.

News
Nov. 14, 2017

The itemized deduction for state and local taxes has become a flash point in the debate over the GOP’s tax plans.

The House and Senate proposals call for sharply limiting or eliminating the so-called SALT deduction. Critics say Republicans in high-tax states would have a hard time voting for any bill that included this provision, because the deduction is so valuable to their constituents.

And it is, to some. But many people in high-tax states get no benefit from this deduction because they don’t itemize deductions or they are subject to the alternative minimum tax, which doesn’t allow it. Another group of people get little benefit because they are subject to the phaseout of all itemized deductions that kicks in at higher incomes.

News
Nov. 14, 2017

One of Gov. Jerry Brown’s green-building directives drives up the cost of state construction projects while delivering an uncertain environmental benefit, according to a new study by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The study assessed Brown’s 2012 executive order directing that all state departments design new buildings in such a way that they entirely offset their energy use.

Those so-called “zero net energy” projects tend to include features that limit energy use as well as others that generate power, such as solar panels.

The analysis found that the zero net energy decree adds 17 to 29 percent to the projected cost of some new buildings.

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Nov. 17, 2017 / Andrew Khouri

Nov. 17, 2017 / The Editorial Board