07/02/2022

News

Will Democrats Get Another Supermajority Vote That Could Raise Gas Prices?

The power of the California Democratic Party’s supermajority was mightily tested last Thursday, with the nail-biting passage of a $52 billion transportation package that will add 12 cents to the price of gasoline.

What does that bode for the other big lift coming up in the Legislature, the reauthorization of the state’s landmark climate change legislation, cap and trade? The carbon auction system survived a court challenge Thursday — with the California appeals court affirming the legality of the program — but it’s an open question whether cap and trade can survive a bruising political battle and the likelihood of tacking on more to the price of gas at the pump.

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Obamacare Repeal Could Punch $15 Billion Hole in State Budget

Since 2014, Medi-Cal rolls have swelled from about 8 million Californians to about 14 million. One reason: the Affordable Care Act greatly expanded Medicaid eligibility for childless, low-income adults — more than 3 million new Medi-Cal enrollees have qualified because of that change since 2014. Along with the expanded eligibility came expanded federal funding for Medi-Cal, to the tune of more than $15 billion this fiscal year alone.

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Here’s Why 2016 Was Rough For Bay Area Restaurants

Most people can agree that 2016 was a hard year. And in the Bay Area, one group was hit particularly hard: restaurateurs. It seemed like every week, a beloved eatery closed, while another one opened, only to shut down a few months later. As the Bay Area continues to enjoy tech-fueled economic growth, the restaurant industry has suffered, even as the accolades–in 2015 Bon Appetit named San Francisco the country’s best food city!–continue to pile up. . . In 2017, the restaurants you go to–from the hole-in-the wall joint near your office to the fancy, anniversary dinner spot–will look different. They might be closed one day a week, to make up for their shortage of qualified staff. Your go-to dish might be more expensive, to make up for the rising minimum wage. They might be closed for good, and quickly replaced with an EDM bubble tea shop. . . Many restaurant owners see fast casual restaurants, instead of ones with full table service, as the solution to their economic woes. No table service cuts down on labor costs, offers diners a cheaper experience while shorter menus means a more efficient use of expensive labor.

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Mapping Bay Area’s Resegregation: What You See May Surprise You

As Bay Area cities scramble to find housing solutions to prevent displacement, a new report warns that the region is resegregating by race and class.

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What Happens to Medi-Cal Under a Trump Administration?

“Twenty million Americans now have health coverage because of Obamacare. A full quarter of them are in California. And most of them are covered by Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. Right now, the federal government shares the cost of Medicaid with the states, no matter how many people are enrolled. But Trump wants to cap that funding, and just give states one fixed grant.”

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10 Years in, Has California’s Climate Law Really Lowered Emissions?

Undoubtedly, the steep drop in emissions during the three years or so starting in 2008 was largely driven by a jarring economic recession, which stifled economic activity in general, pulling emissions down with it.

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Mayor, Business Groups Line Up to Fight S.F. Tech Tax Proposal

On Tuesday, Supervisor Eric Mar unveiled a measure for the November ballot that would impose a 1.5 percent payroll tax on tech firms, which would be identified by their IRS tax identification codes.

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What Lake Mead’s Record Low Means for California

By inching below the 1,075ft threshold, the lake’s historic low provoked a Level 1 Water Shortage declaration, signaling the start of potential water cuts to Arizona and Nevada. If Lake Mead sinks to 1,025ft (312m), the Department of Interior will seize control of its management and water allocation, and if it falls to 900ft (274m) it will be considered “deadpool,” meaning that water is no longer passing through the turbines. Falling water levels are the result of a drought in the Colorado River Basin that has dragged on for 16 years and counting.

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Is Extra Funding Helping English Learners? One School’s Contentious Decision

Despite getting an extra $187,000 this year to help at-risk kids — the state’s new way of handing out money — Oak Ridge still has to make cuts because several other streams of funding are drying up. . . A big chunk of the state money next year is paying for the school’s assistant principal. But some teachers argue specialists are more critical.

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By 2040 We’ll Only See a Slight Fall in Fossil Fuels, Says Forecast

Despite the urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as climate change bears down on the globe, fossil fuel use is not likely to change much in the coming decades. Though renewable energy will grow quickly though 2040, gasoline and diesel will still move most of the world’s vehicles, and coal will still be the largest single source of carbon emissions.

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Uber Forcing Democrats to Rethink Labor Rules

Organized labor has always counted on Democrats’ support for issues like raising the minimum wage and paid sick leave. But in the new gig economy, run on apps for companies like Uber and TaskRabbit, the very nature of work is changing. And the new tech-driven workplace could put some Democrats at odds with their friends in the labor movement.

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State Junks $179 Million Medi-Cal IT System, Will Start from Scratch

The project, put out to bid in 2007 and still far from completion, was finally put to rest on Monday when the state Department of Health Care Services announced a legal settlement with Xerox Corp., the project contractor, under which Xerox will pay the state approximately $120 million.

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What Will California Do With Too Much Solar?

On March 27, solar farms had to shut down because they were producing more electricity than Californians needed. As renewable energy grows, the imbalance is becoming a growing state challenge, particularly on days when the sun is shining, but it is not hot enough for most people to run air conditioning. 

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Poll Suggests Governor, Democrats Winning Climate Debate — for Now

The Wednesday night poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) finds strong support for not only the idea that climate change is linked to the state’s historic drought, but also equally robust support for a handful of legislative ideas to double down on the state’s response.

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Bay Area Income Gap Now More Than $250,000 Between Top and Bottom

Key reasons include high-tech earners in Silicon Valley and the growing decline of middle-income households throughout the Bay Area.

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