It’s clearly aimed at Tesla at a critical moment in its brief history. It’s counting on sales of a new, lower-priced model to move into the mass market and become profitable, it needs rebates to entice customers, and it faces a potential loss of federal rebates.
Implicitly, politicians are telling Tesla to either cooperate with the UAW or be frozen out of rebates, which would still flow to customers of Tesla rivals.
Four years after Gov. Jerry Brown launched his signature program to boost California jobs by awarding tax credits to the businesses that create them, businesses have left two thirds of those available credits unclaimed—a sign that most expected jobs have yet to materialize.
Nor can the state say for sure how many of the administration’s 83,414 projected jobs over five years have actually been created. State offices responsible for awarding and monitoring the California Competes tax credits say they aren’t keeping count.
Three recent and seemingly discrete events neatly frame California’s political and legal war over whether the state’s six million K-12 students are being adequately educated.
The conflict pits the state’s education establishment against a coalition of civil rights groups, education reformers and charter school advocates over the “achievement gap” that separates poor children, particularly Latinos and African-Americans, from more privileged white and Asian students.
The battle has been waged in the Legislature, before the state school board and local boards and quite often in the legal arena.
It’s doubtful whether more than a relative handful of Californians have heard of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It is, however, one of state government’s largest activities – and a case study in political mismanagement. Currently, California employers pay about $6 billion in payroll taxes into the UIF each year. And currently, the state Employment Development Department annually pays almost that much to jobless workers. Superficially, that would appear to be a sustainable equation, but in reality, it’s not. During periods of high payrolls and low unemployment, such as this one, the UIF should be building reserves that could cope with an economic downturn, when claims for jobless benefits increase. That’s the way it used to work – until political expediency and recession undid it.
The package, which also includes some extra automotive fees, is expected to raise more than $5 billion a year for transportation projects, most of which are aimed at catching up on long-delayed maintenance work.
That’s one of the tricky aspects of the situation. To build public support, backers of the package hinted—but did not promise—that it would do something about the state’s worst-in-the-nation roadway congestion, but in fact it will do little, if anything, to relieve traffic jams.
Most of the proposed improvements won’t be obvious, like expanding a freeway would be, and motorists may wonder whether they are getting something tangible for the extra money they are paying.