08/19/2018

News

DMV a hot mess, but politics block audit

Brown has often lamented California’s inability to do the big projects that were a hallmark of the state during the post-World War II era, such as freeways, dams and canals. He’s tied that lament to his own pet projects, twin tunnels to carry water beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a north-south bullet train. However, […]

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Prop. 13 could be partly undone in 2020—here’s what you should know

Because even though you may not be voting on this until 2020, the political repercussions start now. Changing Prop. 13 is still an uphill fight—one that dissuaded advocates from their initial plan to place the initiative on this fall’s ballot. But the pro-split roll camp can proudly boast that they collected 800,000 signatures, and received […]

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California has big void in educational information

Knowledge, it’s been said, is power. The more you learn about something that affects you, the more you can influence that something. It’s especially true in politics, whose insiders joust constantly among themselves and with outsiders, including the media and the voting public, over access to information. One of California’s more important arenas of info-war […]

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Delta tunnels cost soars to nearly $20 billion when accounting for inflation

The estimated cost of the Delta tunnels project, Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to re-engineer the troubled hub of California’s water network, has jumped to nearly $20 billion when accounting for inflation. Tunnels backers say the higher cost reflects the impact from inflation over 16 years, not cost over-runs or design changes, and isn’t expected […]

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How Much California Water Bond Money is for Storage?

Californians have approved two water bonds in recent years, with another facing voters this November. In 2014 voters approved Prop. 1, allocating $7.1 billion for water projects. This June, voters approved Prop. 68, allocating another $4.0 billion for water projects. And this November, voters are being asked to approve Prop. 3, allocating another $8.9 billion […]

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U.S. Corporate Tax Cuts Likely to Hit Other Countries’ Bottom Lines

Last year’s corporate tax cut is reducing U.S. tax collections, as expected. But that change is likely to ripple far beyond the country’s borders in the years ahead, shrinking other countries’ tax revenue, according to a recent paper by economists at the International Monetary Fund. The U.S. tax law will reduce what other countries collect […]

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From the raging wildfires to the fracas over Department of Motor Vehicle lines, California policy makers aren’t about to learn the right lessons.

“It’s unclear exactly which ‘bad environmental laws’ Trump is referring to,” explained a CNN report. “Experts assume he’s talking about the age-old fight for water rights in California, which pits farmers in the state’s conservative Central Valley against big cities and against environmentalists, who want to see some water left in rivers and streams to […]

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California unions win another pension lawsuit. Will their streak continue?

The state Supreme Court last Thursday struck down one of the biggest efforts yet to force California public employees into 401(k) plans, giving unions another win in their effort to protect defined benefit retirement plans from elected leaders who want to rein in pension costs. The court sought to write a narrow decision, finding that […]

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As Trump tweets about California fires, his administration wants to expand logging

The Trump administration is seeking to reopen some of the most sensitive and sought-after public lands in the state not just for timber production, but also for potential solar, wind, broadband infrastructure, mining, off-road vehicle and grazing uses. When it comes to timber, the justification is fire prevention. Environmental groups have long argued that the […]

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California giving out $170 million in cap-and-trade revenue to help prevent wildfires

California officials said Tuesday that they will grant more than $170 million in cap-and-trade funds to local governments and organizations to prevent fires and improve the health of forests. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced the grants as the Mendocino Complex fire near Clear Lake, now the largest in state history, continued […]

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Fire and Water in California

Another challenge is state politicians who’d rather spend money on green pork. This year the Democratic legislature appropriated a mere $30 million of cap-and-trade revenues for fuel reductions on 60,000 acres of forest land. They allocated $335 million for electric vehicle subsidies. Democrats have also spent billions on high-speed rail, but only this year did […]

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SF business tax ballot measure could result in middle class job flight

San Francisco’s narrowing middle class, already squeezed by the high cost of living could take another hit if a new business tax is approved in the November election, according to the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The measure, approved for November’s ballot last month, would levy an average of about 0.5 percent gross […]

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PC’s plan to scrap Ontario basic income pilot project called ‘shameful’ by NDP leader

The Ontario basic income pilot project is coming to an end, says Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod. MacLeod said Tuesday that the project was expensive, and “clearly not the answer for Ontario families.” She said the ministry would have “more details at a later date” about how the government would end the […]

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Sacramento Tax Increase Proposal Represents Statewide Trend

The Sacramento City Council vote to place a tax increase on the November ballot is representative of what we’ll see around the state in many localities: a call for more taxes to maintain basic services when in reality the money is needed to meet pension obligations. In one sense the argument that the money is […]

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The Pension Hole for U.S. Cities and States Is the Size of Japan’s Economy

For the past century, a public pension was an ironclad promise. Whatever else happened, retired policemen and firefighters and teachers would be paid. That is no longer the case. Many cities and states can no longer afford the unsustainable retirement promises made to millions of public workers over many years. By one estimate they are […]

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