11/18/2018

News

Statewide Polystyrene Ban Would Bring Unintended Consequences

Supposedly civic-minded prohibitions on consumer conveniences always have unintended consequences. California’s single-use plastic bag ban, for instance, has led to a surge in E. coli infections, created a swarm of thicker plastics bags that are a greater environmental hazard than the outlawed single-use plastic bags, boosted shoplifting, and been the cause of countless broken eggs […]

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Election boosts advocates of higher taxes

This month’s election was good news for those who believe Californians’ taxes, while already among the nation’s highest, should be increased. Voters elected Gavin Newsom, who has an expansive and expensive agenda, as governor, and also solidified Democrats’ supermajorities in the Legislature, giving them, at least on paper, unfettered power to raise taxes for that […]

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California’s Fiscal Outlook

The Budget Is in Remarkably Good Shape. It is difficult to overstate how good the budget’s condition is today. Under our estimates of revenues and spending, the state’s constitutional reserve would reach $14.5 billion by the end of 2019‑20. In addition, we project the Legislature will have an additional $14.8 billion in resources available to […]

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California’s state budget is so flush words can’t describe it

Gov. Jerry Brown’s parting gift to Gov. elect Gavin Newsom is a state budget so flush with unrestricted tax revenue that top fiscal analysts struggled to find the right words to describe it. “The budget is in remarkably good shape,” reads the annual fiscal outlook by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. “It is difficult to overstate […]

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Rethinking the 1991 Realignment

1991 Realignment No Longer Meets Many LAO Principles. Due to the various changes to 1991 realignment programs without corresponding changes to the funding structure, 1991 realignment today no longer meets many of the core principles of a successful state‑county fiscal partnership. Today, counties’ share of some program costs exceeds their ability to control those costs. […]

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Dan Walters: State-county conflict could flare up again soon

Counties’ primary role as local service providers continued until the latter half of the 20th century, when they evolved, not always willingly, into managers of an ever-expanding array of health care and social services created by state and federal governments. This bifurcated role created obvious conflicts. Local services, such as parks and police and fire […]

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Schools, cities and counties will ask California voters to OK taxes and borrowing totaling $20 billion

The ballot California voters will tackle on election day is a long one, with dozens of candidates and 11 statewide propositions. While a lot of attention has been devoted to those choices, little has been given to scores of local ballot measures asking for permission to borrow or tax in communities — proposals totaling some […]

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The High Costs of Affordable Housing

San Francisco already has built or conserved over 20,000 units of affordable housing of various types, which is about 5% of all units in the city. Also, about 40% of housing units citywide are rent controlled, making them more affordable than market rate units. With its high land acquisition costs, expensive labor and complex regulation, […]

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Opinion: A Green Ballot Trouncing

Tuesday’s election highlighted that more voters like Donald Trump’s policies than like him. Consider this week’s voter embrace of Mr. Trump’s pro-growth energy positions, via nationwide rejection of initiatives to raise energy costs. Most notable was Washington State’s defeat of a carbon tax for the second time in two years. Climate activists designed the 2016 […]

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Most California school construction bonds, parcel taxes pass

With all precincts reporting but not all ballots counted, voters passed school construction bond measures in 89 of 112 K-12 and community college districts. And they passed parcel taxes in eight of the 13 school districts that had placed them on the ballot to create new sources of revenue or to extend existing parcel taxes. […]

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The electric car market didn’t have to turn out to be such a corrupt, subsidized fiasco.

But there is a villain in this story — and his name is Uncle. He committed two heinous crimes, for which he deserves to be frog-marched to the dock, tried, convicted and (cue Judge Alvin Valkenheiser from Nothing But Trouble) sent for a ride on Mr. Bone Stripper. The first of his offenses is the […]

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Understanding California’s Housing Affordability Crisis

According to an October 21, 2018 Los Angeles Times article, experts “agree that the fundamental issue underlying the state’s housing crisis is that there are not enough homes.” In contrast, according to the article, is that “the public doesn’t believe it.” Only 13 percent of registered voters cited “too little homebuilding” as a principal reason […]

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Colossal collapse’ in gas prices expected heading into midterm elections

Gas prices are expected to plunge sharply in the final days leading up to the midterm elections, potentially nearing $2 per gallon at some stations in low-tax states. The sudden respite at the pump comes from sharply lower oil prices and declining wholesale gasoline prices. Oil Price Information Service analyst Tom Kloza said it could […]

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Workers’ Pay Rises at Fastest Rate in a Decade

Compensation for U.S. workers grew at an accelerating rate in the third quarter, a sign a historically tight labor market is yielding better pay for employees. The employment-cost index, a measure of wages and benefits for civilian workers, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8% in July through September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. The gain was […]

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California Local Government Websites – A 2018 Report Card

Among the 250 cities analyzed, ranging from Suisun City with just over 29,000 residents, to big Los Angeles, with over 4.0 million residents, only two got the top grade of A, Rancho Palos Verdes, located in Los Angeles County, and Poway, located in San Diego County. Grades of F, on the other hand, were handed […]

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