05/25/2018

News

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown once again shuns tax reform

Just one percent of income taxpayers, about 150,000 families in a state of 40 million people, account for nearly half of income taxes and therefore for a third of all general fund revenues. Their incomes largely come from earnings on stocks and other investments, which are very likely to plunge during recessions. It’s called “volatility” […]

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How Does Your State Compare?

Property tax collection is a critical source of revenue for local governments, accounting for 72 percent of local tax collections nationwide in 2015 (most recent data available). Local property taxes are largely used to fund police departments, emergency services, road maintenance, and other services mainly associated with property ownership or residency. While states used to […]

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California’s marijuana tax collections lag below expectations

California probably won’t get a windfall in tax revenue from its newly legal marijuana market this year. The state collected $34 million in cannabis taxes between January and March, according to an update released by the Legislative Analyst’s Office on Tuesday. That’s behind the pace Gov. Jerry Brown projected in his January budget proposal. At […]

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The open secret about California taxes

California’s tax system, which relies heavily on the wealthy for state income, is prone to boom-and-bust cycles. While it delivers big returns from the rich whenever Wall Street goes on a bull run, it forces state and local governments to cut services, raise taxes or borrow money in a downturn. During the Great Recession, the […]

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Big Three Items are Eating State Revenues

California’s General Fund tax revenues have grown nearly 50 percent since a tax increase in 2012. But funding for most services has grown at a fraction of that pace. Eg, funding for courts has grown only 12 percent. That’s because tax revenues are increasingly being diverted to (i) pensions, (ii) subsidies for retired employees (“OPEB”), […]

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Surplus swells as Gov. Jerry Brown’s last budget grows to $199 billion

Gov. Jerry Brown is using a surging, $8.8 billion surplus in his 16th and final year leading the state to stash billions of dollars in reserves. He released a final 2018-19 budget proposal that includes $137.6 billion in general fund spending and $199.3 billion in total spending. Tax collections in California are coming in well […]

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The Fatally Flawed Centerpiece of California’s Transportation Future

There is a stark contrast between California’s private entrepreneurial culture, as reflected in the marvels of transportation engineering they are developing, and California’s political culture, as reflected in their ongoing commitment to “high speed rail,” in all of its stupefying expense, its useless grandeur, its jobs for nothing, its monumental initial waste, situated miles from […]

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Trump Tax Windfall Going to Capex Way Faster Than Stock Buybacks

After months of heated debate over whether companies would hand the biggest tax break in three decades back to shareholders or reinvest it in their businesses, there’s finally some hard data. Among the 130 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results in this earnings season, capital spending increased by 39 percent, the fastest […]

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Why Millions of Californians Eligible for Food Stamps Don’t Get Them

Millions of low-income Californians eligible for food stamps are not receiving the benefit, earning the state one of the lowest rankings in the nation for its participation in the program. Just three states — Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming — have lower rates of participation, according to the latest available federal data released this year. […]

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Stalemate weakens fund for jobless benefits

When the state could not repay the loans, the feds indirectly raised payroll taxes on California employers, which are expected to finally erase the debt this year. The state’s own report on its UIF, issued last October, projects that it will end 2018 with a positive balance of $1.8 billion, and 2019 with $2.3 billion, […]

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Using Citizen’s Initiatives to Repeal Local Taxes

Local reforms can be initiated by city councils and county boards of supervisors, but they can also be initiated by citizen activists. That’s exactly what’s happened, three times, thanks to the efforts of a group based in Pasadena called “TeaPAC.” Their specialty has been to offer voters the opportunity to repeal local taxes, utility taxes […]

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Soda, oil companies back initiative to limit taxes in California

Business groups are prepared to spend tens of millions of dollars this year on a California initiative that would make it more difficult to raise state and local taxes. The proposal, which is currently gathering signatures for the November ballot, would increase the threshold for passing any new tax or tax hike to two-thirds of […]

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L.A. ends its frequently porous economic boycott of Arizona

Los Angeles is ending its economic boycott of Arizona, which was launched eight years ago to protest a hotly contested law targeting illegal immigration and then repeatedly lifted as the city continued buying products from that state. The restrictions, backed by lawmakers in 2010, were supposed to curb purchases from Arizona and largely stop city […]

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Will $12 billion tax bite drive rich from California?

Gov. Jerry Brown and a few other state politicians have been upfront in their concern about a potential exodus of the taxpaying rich to other states, some of which have no state income taxes, such as neighboring Nevada, Texas and Florida. There were anecdotal accounts of such relocations following a 2016 ballot measure that made […]

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The dimensions of California’s pension crisis

CalPERS says that an uptick in 2017 earnings, to more than 11 percent, has raised its funding level to 71 percent. That’s obviously good news, but CalPERS’ own staff estimates that earnings over the next decade should barely average 6 percent a year, which, if true, would mean the system would either have to allow […]

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