08/04/2021

News

The first shots in the climate wars

Macron’s policies rest on the notion on-going climate catastrophe embraced by media, the academy and the intelligentsia. Every time weather takes a nasty turn as it often does — heat waves, downpours, forest fires, floods — it’s often attributed to climate change. This leads to the notion that we need to embrace climate “hysteria,” as […]

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GM Bids Farewell to Its Breakthrough Electric Car

The plug-in electric vehicle won praise from auto critics who heralded the car as an engineering marvel when it was introduced in 2010. The acclaim eased some of the pain from GM’s bankruptcy at the time and showed that Detroit could still develop an enviable vehicle. The Volt, though, was also a big money loser […]

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Housing in the Central Valley is changing. But not necessarily for the better.

The Central Valley is slowly becoming a society of renters. New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that many counties have seen double-digit growth in renter-occupied households and only modest gains in homeownership — if not single-digit declines since 2011. In the period between 2011 and 2017, the number of owner-occupied homes in the […]

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California Girds for Higher Power Prices From PG&E After Fires

Already paying some of the highest electricity prices in the country, customers of California’s largest utility, PG&E Corp. could soon face large rate increases due to the state’s catastrophic wildfires. PG&E asked state regulators on Thursday to approve a plan to sharply increase revenues it seeks from customers over a three-year period, with a hike […]

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California moves to raise sales tax collections from out-of-state retailers

Shoppers looking for a bargain by skipping California sales tax will soon close a loophole that let them buy goods from out-of-state online retailers without immediately paying local taxes. That deal ends on April 1 for thousands of out-of-state online retailers that will be required to collect California sales tax for the first time, according […]

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OMG! Now California wants to tax text-messaging?

Texting your sweetheart that you’re on your way home? California may soon charge you for that. This is no LOL matter, critics say. State regulators have been ginning up a scheme to charge a fee for text messaging on mobile phones to help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor. The wireless […]

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California officially becomes first in nation mandating solar power for new homes

California officially became the first state in the nation on Wednesday, Dec. 5 to require homes built in 2020 and later be solar powered. . . . While nobody spoke Wednesday in opposition to the new provisions, the commission received more than 300 letters from around the state opposing the solar mandate because of the […]

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California lawmaker tries again to gradually ban gas cars

After an unsuccessful legislative effort this year that would have eventually banned the sale of new gas-powered cars in California, Assemblyman Phil Ting returned Monday with a more modest proposal he hopes will move the state toward the same goal. AB40, introduced by the San Francisco Democrat, asks the state Air Resources Board to come […]

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California falling short on climate change goals because driving is increasing, report finds

California is failing to meet its goals to reduce vehicle travel, imperiling efforts to achieve ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, according to a state report released Monday. The report by the California Air Resources Board, the state’s climate change regulator, found that carbon emissions per capita from vehicle travel in California were increasing. That’s despite […]

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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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