Keyword: taxandspend

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  • San Jose unions sue to block pension reform

    06/06/2012 12:52:25 PM PDT · by SmithL · 32 replies
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | 6/6/12 | John Woolfolk
    San Jose police officers Wednesday made good on promises to legally challenge San Jose's voter-approved pension reform with a lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. San Jose Police Officers' Association President Jim Unland said the lawsuit argues that the measure -- approved by almost 70 percent of voters Tuesday -- violates employees' "vested rights" to their pensions. He based that on a history of court rulings that effectively hold that government employers cannot cut back workers' retirement plans without offering a comparable benefit in return. The officers asked the court to block implementation of the measure's provisions until...
  • CALIFORNIA: Voters sent clear message they want fiscal responsibility

    06/06/2012 12:44:10 PM PDT · by SmithL · 7 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 6/6/12 | Contra Costa Times editorial
    Voters sent a clear message Tuesday to their local leaders: get your financial houses in order. Don't ask for more money until you start responsibly spending what we've already given you. We're tired of losing public services as you siphon off our tax money to pay mounting costs of overly generous public-employee retirement benefits. Nowhere in the East Bay was that message clearer than the city of Alameda and the East Contra Costa Fire District, two very different public agencies that were both asking for more money, but had yet to address their badly underfunded pension systems. Voters resoundingly rejected...
  • Cigarette tax fails by narrow margin

    06/06/2012 8:12:53 AM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 6/6/12 | Vivian Ho
    A measure that would have increased state taxes on cigarettes by a dollar was narrowly defeated, the Secretary of State's office reported early Wednesday. Proposition 29, which would have raised $810 million a year for cancer research and smoking cessation programs, lost by just 1.6 percent of the votes, with almost 51 percent of voters saying no and just more than 49 percent voting yes. The measure would have made California - which currently has a lower tobacco tax than 32 other states - the state with the 16th-highest cigarette tax in the country.
  • Prop. 29 will win, cigarette smuggling will rise

    06/03/2012 5:51:20 AM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 6/3/12 | Willie Brown
    Here's a primary prediction: Despite being seriously outspent by big tobacco, the Proposition 29 people get a last-minute infusion of campaign cash and squeak out a win for their measure tacking another $1-per-pack tax onto cigarettes. No sooner does the new tax go into effect, my street contacts tell me, than Indian tribes will open tobacco shops at their casinos, where buyers can escape state taxes and buy cigarettes on the cheap.Just as quickly, smugglers will start rolling in truckloads of smokes from Nevada, Arizona and Oregon, as street dealers realize there is more money to be made selling hot...
  • California Democrats bid for two-thirds control of state Senate

    05/28/2012 9:43:49 AM PDT · by SmithL · 36 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/28/12 | Torey Van Oot
    Bill Berryhill's pitch to voters at a recent candidates forum came down to more than just his positions on issues affecting San Joaquin County's 5th Senate District. It was about the balance of power in the Capitol."Do you realize if one party gets sole power, you think you're taxed to the max now? Guess what? You better grab your wallet, because they only have one way to go and that's to tax and spend, tax and spend," the Republican assemblyman told the crowd at Tracy's Kimball High. Berryhill is running in one of a handful of newly drawn swing seats...
  • Charles Munger's push for Beth Gaines becomes campaign issue

    05/24/2012 8:46:16 AM PDT · by SmithL
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 5/23/12 | Jim Sanders
    Competing radio ads spotlight wealthy Stanford physicist Charles T. Munger Jr.'s deep-pockets support for incumbent Assemblywoman Beth Gaines against challenger Andy Pugno in a Placer County-based Assembly district. Spirit of Democracy, an advocacy group funded largely by Munger, has poured more than $175,000 into a radio and mail promotional campaign for Gaines this month. Pugno is attempting to create a backlash by painting the GOP activist as a liberal. Munger is a major GOP donor and was a key financial backer of redistricting reform. He has pushed to moderate the Republican Party by downplaying divisive issues such as abortion, gun...
  • How about this budget solution? Do the same work for less pay

    05/23/2012 12:23:38 PM PDT · by Mark Landsbaum · 5 replies
    Even if Gov. Jerry Brown and his ilk get a horrendous tax increase in November (and that’s far from a sure thing), chances are the state will have less money to spend than the taxers and spenders who run the show want to spend. So, what to do? . . . Even though our first preference is to reduce the size and scope of government, which necessarily would mean far fewer people collecting checks written by taxpayers, we’re not unsympathetic to folks facing the loss of a job. Even a superfluous job. So, how about this approach while we let...
  • Jerry Brown struggles on three fronts on state budget

    05/23/2012 7:18:17 AM PDT · by SmithL · 12 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/23/12 | Dan Walters
    As the state budget's deficit widens, Gov. Jerry Brown is being thrust into a three-front political battle. He must not only persuade voters to pass his sales and income tax package, but, implicitly, persuade them to reject a rival tax measure just for schools. Meanwhile, Brown is pressing liberal Democratic legislators to ignore their political DNA by making deeper cuts in health and welfare programs, not only to close the deficit but to bolster appeals to voters for new taxes. "It's not easy," Brown told hundreds of business and civic figures gathered Tuesday in Sacramento for the annual Host Breakfast....
  • California Democrats balk at deeper cuts for state's poorest residents

    05/20/2012 12:35:06 PM PDT · by SmithL · 24 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/20/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Legislative Democrats aren't organizing a bake sale just yet, but they say they will desperately search for cash in the coming weeks to avoid the most severe cuts proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Saying the state's budget deficit has risen from $9.2 billion to $15.7 billion, the Democratic governor has proposed more cuts to programs that serve the state's poorest residents. Brown has described it as a "day of reckoning" and wants his fellow Democrats to slash as much as possible before he asks voters to hike taxes on sales and high-income earners in November. But Democrats signaled immediately that...
  • California's budget problems linger while many other states shape up

    05/19/2012 11:20:36 AM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/19/12 | David Siders
    The pile-on was in full effect within hours of Gov. Jerry Brown's announcement this week that California's budget deficit had grown to $15.7 billion, with The Week giving its national audience a summary of the Golden State's financial affairs. "California's financial apocalypse," the magazine offered. "A concise guide." Fox News played the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Californication," and host Greg Gutfeld proclaimed Brown captain of "the Titanic that is California, a state so broke it may ask Greece for a loan." On Friday, the Democratic governor slapped back on national TV. "This is not Europe," Brown told Charlie Rose on...
  • Maryland Assembly OKs $260M tax hike, teacher pension shift

    05/17/2012 7:28:51 AM PDT · by C19fan · 37 replies
    Washington Times ^ | May 16, 2012 | David Hill
    The Maryland General Assembly passed a $260 million tax increase Wednesday as it adjourned from a three-day special session that ended with Gov. Martin O'Malley saying he will bring lawmakers back for another session this summer. The House gave final approval to two bills that will raise income taxes and shift a portion of teacher pension costs to counties to balance the state’s $35.5 billion budget, which is nearly $1 billion larger than last year’s spending plan.
  • State Employee Pensions to Cost California $3.7 Billion [And Gov. Moonbeam Wants More Taxes!]

    05/16/2012 6:04:29 PM PDT · by Steelfish · 6 replies
    NY Times ^ | May 16, 2012
    State Employee Pensions to Cost California $3.7 Billion May 16, 2012 SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California will pay about $3.7 billion for state employees' pension in its next fiscal year, more than it now pays but less than the state set aside for retirement-related expenses in the prior fiscal year, the state's pension fund said on Wednesday. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, best known as Calpers, is receiving $3.5 billion from the state government, down from $3.9 billion in the prior fiscal year. The anticipated $213 million increase in the state's contribution for the next fiscal year reflects a...
  • Steinberg: Democrats seeking alternatives to some budget cuts {in the Golden State}

    05/16/2012 4:05:51 PM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 5/16/12 | Torey Van Oot
    Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg today repeated a pledge to look for budget solutions that would allow lawmakers to preserve some services targeted with steep cuts under Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget plan. "I said on Monday, I'm not looking for a public fight here," the Sacramento Democrat said this morning. "We're looking to work collaboratively and yet not be afraid to have our differences or air our differences with the other stakeholders, the other parties, but come to a resolution where we can in fact buy out some of the worst cuts." The revised budget proposal released by...
  • California politicians bet big

    05/16/2012 9:26:47 AM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/16/12 | Dan Walters
    Poker players often use the phrase "betting on the come" to describe a willingness, if instincts and odds indicate, to wager big on the hope that they will draw winning cards. That's a perfectly valid tactic when one is playing with one's own money and therefore bearing the risk. But is it appropriate for California politicians to bet on the come by approving many billions of dollars in spending on very shaky assumptions that the money will be there when it's needed to pay the bills? Risk was the underlying theme of two hearings in the Capitol on Tuesday. One...
  • Americans for Prosperity: Nashville 'under attack' by mayor's tax increase

    05/15/2012 8:46:59 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies
    Nashville City Paper ^ | 5/15/12 | Joey Garrison
    Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed property tax hike, which has already drawn the ire of the Nashville Tea Party, has reverberated up to the conservative-backed Americans for Prosperity political advocacy organization. Arlington, Va.-based Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group that professes to educate citizens on education policies, has highlighted Dean’s tax proposal as its top story on its website.“Nashville taxpayers are under attack by Mayor Dean’s proposed 13 percent property tax increase,” reads a short blog post penned by the organization’s Tennessee state director Brad Stevens.“Taxpayers should not be on the hook for Nashville city leaders’ lack of fiscal responsibility,” the post continues.Oddly,...
  • Jerry Brown aims new budget at tax vote

    05/15/2012 8:29:04 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/15/12 | Dan Walters
    Just a few months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown chastised "declinists" and "dystopian journalists" for their pessimism about California, particularly about emerging from a deep recession. "Contrary to those critics who fantasize that California is a failed state, I see unspent potential and incredible opportunity," Brown told the Legislature in January, citing supposed signs of economic recovery. On Monday, however, Brown blamed a sluggish economy for revenues falling billions of dollars short of the rosy estimates in the budget he signed last June. "You can never get it quite right," Brown told reporters as he released a revised budget aimed at...
  • Shortfall in California’s Budget Swells to $16 Billion

    05/12/2012 5:06:21 PM PDT · by reaganaut1 · 44 replies
    New York Times ^ | May 12, 2012 | ADAM NAGOURNEY
    The state budget shortfall in California has increased dramatically in the last six months, forcing state officials to assemble a series of new spending cuts that are likely to mean further reductions to schools, health care and other social programs already battered by nearly five years of budget retrenchment, state officials announced on Saturday. Gov. Jerry Brown, disclosing the development in a video posted on YouTube, said that California’s shortfall was now projected to be $16 billion, up from $9.2 billion in January. Mr. Brown said that he would propose a revised budget on Monday to deal with it. “We...
  • Jerry Brown submits tax petitions, says 'difficult' budget cuts next

    05/11/2012 4:22:21 PM PDT · by SmithL · 13 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/11/12 | David Siders and Torey Van Oot
    In one choreographed appearance at the office of the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters, Gov. Jerry Brown's campaign to raise taxes appeared on Friday to take shape. A week after announcing he had collected enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot, Brown – accompanied by a new political consultant, the first lady and his dog – turned several boxes of them in. The event came just days before Brown is expected to propose deeper spending reductions in a budget revision Monday to deal with a deficit that likely has grown beyond $10 billion. The Democratic governor cast...
  • California needs huge investment to create jobs

    05/08/2012 8:06:47 AM PDT · by SmithL · 24 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/8/12 | Dan Walters
    California is struggling to emerge from the worst recession since the Great Depression and has more than 2 million unemployed workers, plus countless others who have given up seeking work out of frustration and/or have fled to other states. Clearly the state needs many billions of dollars in job-creating investment. But its attractiveness to that investment is, to say the least, problematic, given its relatively high tax burden, its dense regulatory structure, its deficiencies in education, transportation and water supply, and its tangled government finances. Chief Executive magazine's most recent survey of corporate leaders finds that California ranks dead last...
  • Upcoming tax battle could be a nasty feud

    05/07/2012 4:37:54 PM PDT · by SmithL · 17 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/7/12 | Dan Walters
    Let's get ready to rumble. In this corner is California Gov. Jerry Brown. In that corner is Molly Munger, a very wealthy civil rights attorney. Brown and his union allies want voters to raise their own sales taxes, plus income taxes on the most affluent, to narrow a chronic budget gap. Munger and the state PTA want to raise income taxes on all but the lowest-income Californians to provide more money to schools. Brown, desperate to eliminate competition that might confuse voters, merged his initial tax proposal into that of a rival group that wanted to tax the rich even...
  • Group submits signatures for California business tax change on November ballot

    05/05/2012 9:20:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/5/12 | Jim Sanders
    The stage was set Friday for three revenue-raising measures to qualify for the November ballot after a group led by hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer submitted more than 900,000 signatures for a tax increase on out-of-state businesses. Proponents of two other tax initiatives, driven separately by Gov. Jerry Brown and civil rights attorney Molly Munger, said they have collected more than enough signatures to place their proposals before voters. The measures would generate billions in revenue for a state rocked by recession and cuts to education and public services in recent years. But Mitch Zak, spokesman for a coalition opposing Steyer's...
  • GOP vows to fight Jerry Brown's tax measure

    05/04/2012 9:03:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 2 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/4/12 | Kevin Yamamura and David Siders
    After years of being labeled the "Party of No" by majority Democrats, California Republican leaders stood under rainy skies Thursday outside the Capitol to dub themselves the "Party of Yes." The newly christened party kicked off its campaign by asking for a "no" vote on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hike. California Republican Party leaders organized the press conference to launch a statewide whistle-stop tour just as Brown finished collecting signatures for his $9 billion tax initiative. "Jerry Brown is turning in his signatures as we speak to make that (top tax rate) the highest rate in the country," said California...
  • Higher Cigarette Taxes Drove Smokers To Pipe Tobacco & Cigars

    05/02/2012 4:47:14 AM PDT · by SoFloFreeper · 24 replies
    The Consumerist ^ | 4/18/12 | Chris Morran
    Among the intended goals of higher taxes on cigarettes is that some smokers will quitrather than dealwith the increased cost. While this may happen, newly released numbers show that taxing cigarettes also drove up the sales of forms of tobacco that are taxed at lower rates. The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 increased and equalized federal excise tax rates for cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and small cigars. It also increased the tax rates on pipe tobacco and cigars, but not to the levelof theother items.
  • Democrats tax the rich -- and help some get richer

    04/29/2012 7:35:12 AM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/29/12 | Dan Walters
    One hears a lot of noise these days in and out of the Capitol about "the 1 percent" – those at the top of the income pecking order – and the moral imperative to levy higher taxes on them to support public services. The narrative from left-wing activists and their political allies is that those at the top have rapaciously gathered more wealth while the poor get poorer and those in the middle class struggle to keep afloat. We'll hear a lot more in the coming months because Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature are beating...
  • How Retirement Benefits May Sink the States

    04/28/2012 12:55:50 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 25 replies
    Wall Street Journal ^ | 04/28/2012 | Steve Malanga
    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently offered a stark assessment of the threat to his state's future that is posed by mounting pension and retiree health-care bills for government workers. Unless Illinois enacts reform quickly, he said, the costs of these programs will force taxes so high that, "You won't recruit a business, you won't recruit a family to live here." We're likely to hear more such worries in coming years. That's because state and local governments across the country have accumulated several trillion dollars in unfunded retirement promises to public-sector workers, the costs of which will increasingly force taxes higher...
  • Firefighters, SEIU Local 1000 give $500,000 to fight ballot measure

    04/28/2012 8:42:58 AM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 4/28/12 | Jon Ortiz
    California Professional Firefighters and SEIU Local 1000 recently donated a combined half-million dollars to the group combating a Nov. 6 ballot measure aimed at curbing unions' political power and banning direct contributions to candidates from corporations and unions. The California Professional Firefighters Independent Expenditures PAC donated $250,000 on April 11 and Local 1000 kicked in $252,762 a couple days later, according to a report filed this week with the state. . . . Contributions to defeat the measure now total $5.7 million. Supporters raised about $2.9 million so far.
  • California's fiscal mess put in focus by recent events {Rats lied to protect their pay}

    04/27/2012 9:01:57 AM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/27/12 | Dan Walters
    California's fiscal mess – which is more political than financial – was brought into razor-sharp focus Wednesday by three events. First was Sacramento Superior Court Judge David I. Brown's ruling that Controller John Chiang violated the state constitution last year when he cut off legislators' salaries by invoking a newly passed constitutional dictum that they would lose pay if they failed to pass a budget by June 15. Democratic lawmakers had passed a 2011-12 budget before then, but Gov. Jerry Brown immediately vetoed it as being hopelessly unbalanced. Chiang then cut off their paychecks. Brown quickly tossed legislators a lifeline...
  • Weak tax revenue to increase California budget deficit

    04/26/2012 2:07:04 PM PDT · by SmithL · 12 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/26/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    With tax revenue slowing to a trickle as the end of April draws near, the state's top fiscal analyst predicted late Wednesday that California would be "a few billion dollars" shy of Gov. Jerry Brown's budget projections through June 2013. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said total personal income tax collections would likely be more than $2 billion below Brown's expectation of $9.4 billion for the month. Because the state was already running behind, it would mean the take from income taxes would be $3 billion shy for the fiscal year that ends June 30 compared with Brown's updated January...
  • Calif. poll finds disconnect on school cuts, taxes

    04/25/2012 10:02:55 PM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 4/25/12 | Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Nearly 80 percent of Californians oppose $5 billion in so-called trigger cuts to state schools this fall, but only a slight majority of voters support the governor's tax plan to stop it, according to a survey of 2,000 voters released Wednesday. At this point, 54 percent of likely voters said they'd vote for Gov. Jerry Brown's ballot measure to temporarily boost sales tax and income tax on wealthy California residents, the Public Policy Institute of California poll found. If it doesn't pass, Brown's plan calls for school budget cuts to be triggered. Supporters of the tax hike measure expect to...
  • CALIFORNIA: Judge says state controller has no power to block Legislature's pay

    04/24/2012 3:10:59 PM PDT · by SmithL · 13 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 4/24/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    A Sacramento Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the state controller has no authority to judge whether the state budget is balanced or block lawmakers' pay as he did last June. In a bitter feud during last year's budget battle, Controller John Chiang determined that the budget passed by legislative Democrats was not balanced. Using new powers he believed he had under voter-approved Proposition 25, Chiang then blocked lawmakers' pay and expense money for 12 days until they cut a budget deal with Gov. Jerry Brown. In a tentative ruling today, Judge David I. Brown said that the controller...
  • Dan Walters: California Democrats searching under every fiscal rock

    04/23/2012 8:43:11 AM PDT · by SmithL · 23 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/23/12 | Dan Walters
    With the state budget mired in deficits, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators, especially his fellow Democrats, are searching under every fiscal rock for money to spend. That search has spawned an odd syndrome involving what could be three big pots of money – a competition among liberals over how they should be spent if, indeed, they materialize. The pots: • What could be several billion dollars a year in "cap-and-trade" fees that industries must pay as part of the state's anti-greenhouse gas crusade. • Another billion-plus bucks that it's believed would appear were the state to change taxation of multi-state...
  • Tea Party Youth Stand Against Tax on Future Generations

    04/23/2012 4:28:13 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 5 replies ^ | April 23, 2012 | Gina Loudon
    The Tea Party was born of many moms and dads who saw their childrens’ futures being robbed by an administration who put no constraints on who they will tax, and what they will spend. Parents gasp in exasperation as they watch a culture devoid of values consume the hearts, minds, and lives of their children. The President stands idly by as black so-called “leaders” insight violence based on race alone.  He defends taxpayer funding of Sandra Fluke’s blatant, unrepentant sexual promiscuity. Parents have watched in horror as young habitué “Occupyers” have proven an old adage often attributed to Winston Churchill:...
  • Prop. 29 funds research for cancer, but it's still a tax hike

    04/22/2012 4:18:27 PM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 4/22/12 | Debra J. Saunders
    The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association wrote Proposition 29, the measure on the June 5 ballot to increase California's cigarette tax by $1 to $1.87 per pack. Lung Association President Jane Warner likes to emphasize the demarcation at play: She's with the good guys, while the bad guys, Big Tobacco, will spend buckets more money trying to fight the measure than her groups will spend trying to pass it. It's the virtuous underdogs versus the nefarious moneybags. Good versus evil. There's one unmistakable plus that comes with raising the tobacco tax: As Warner explained, "If...
  • Steinberg wants to put initiative process changes on 2014 ballot

    04/19/2012 7:14:38 PM PDT · by SmithL · 2 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 4/19/12 | Torey Van Oot
    Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg pledged today to put forward for the 2014 election a package of major changes to California's initiative process, including a provision to make it easier for legislators to place tax measures on the ballot. The Sacramento Democrat, speaking at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon, outlined a trio of initiative reforms he said "will both strengthen California's tradition of direct democracy and empower the people elected by their make clear choices." He said he plans to put the proposals on the 2014 ballot either through a vote of the Legislature, a task he said...
  • Stop California bullet train, state's top analyst urges

    04/17/2012 6:28:46 PM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | 44/17/12 | Mike Rosenberg
    The state's top analyst has urged lawmakers to pull the emergency brake on California's $68 billion bullet train, saying the recently revised plan carries way too much risk of failure. The Legislative Analyst's Office report released late Tuesday may give the Legislature political cover if it decides to ax the polarizing rail line as it begins debating whether to approve high-speed rail Wednesday.
  • Aides soft-pedal Romney remarks to donors

    04/16/2012 5:47:32 PM PDT · by SmithL · 14 replies
    AP via SacBee ^ | 4/16/12 | DAVID ESPO and ALAN FRAM Associated Press
    PHILADELPHIA -- Mitt Romney's aides soft-pedaled his latest tax pronouncements on Monday, insisting he wasn't tipping his hand when he told donors privately that he might seek to end the tax break for mortgages on second homes and curb other deductions for the wealthy as part of tax reform. "He was just discussing ideas that came up on the campaign trail," said former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri, a frequent campaign surrogate. The remarks, made at a closed-door fundraiser in Florida and overheard by reporters, did not mark any "change in policy," Talent said on a conference call with reporters....
  • Stockton not only California government in financial distress

    04/16/2012 9:48:24 AM PDT · by SmithL · 1 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/16/12 | Dan Walters
    It's easy – justifiably so – to beat up on Stockton for spending itself into a fiscal hole so deep that bankruptcy may be its only course. City officials borrowed and spent heavily on a baseball park, a sports arena, a marina and other facilities in hopes of resurrecting a woebegone downtown, and simultaneously boosted their employees' salaries and fringe benefits. At the time, Stockton was seeing a surge of sales and property taxes from a housing boom and the city's politicians and administrators wagered, in effect, that it would go on forever. When the bubble burst, it was left...
  • What effect would proposed tax increases really have?

    04/15/2012 7:35:01 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/15/12 | Dan Walters
    Over the coming months of gestation about taxation, California voters will be inundated with claims, counterclaims and other forms of propaganda. We still don't know how many major tax proposals will be on the November ballot. It'll be at least one, but whether it's the one that Jerry Brown, other Democratic politicians and labor unions want, or the one that civil rights attorney Molly Munger and the PTA want, is still unknown. Most likely, it'll be both. Brown, having merged his original tax proposal with one pushed by a left-wing coalition, now wants to hike sales taxes by a quarter-cent...
  • Jerry Brown says lawmakers need to 'man up' and cut California's budget

    04/14/2012 1:38:16 PM PDT · by SmithL · 22 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/14/12 | David Siders
    Gov. Jerry Brown urged the Legislature on Friday to "man up" and make spending cuts, acknowledging the state budget deficit is likely larger than he previously thought. The Democratic governor, in an interview on Bay Area talk radio station KGO (810 AM), said the deficit is "probably bigger now" than the $9.2 billion he estimated earlier this year. "We're trying to be as prudent as we can," Brown said. "That's why the Legislature has to man up, make the cuts and get some taxes and we'll make it." Democrats this year have resisted Brown's proposed cuts to social services and...
  • California revenues 4.2 percent shy in March

    04/10/2012 3:43:15 PM PDT · by SmithL · 15 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 4/10/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    As state leaders hope for a surprise uptick in revenues this spring, state Controller John Chiang reported Tuesday that California lagged last month by $233.5 million, or 4.2 percent. The state missed its target most in corporate income taxes, which were $125.8 million (8.2 percent) off the mark. Income taxes and sales taxes were each less than 2 percent behind Gov. Jerry Brown's revenue forecast. For the fiscal year that ends in June, the state is now trailing Brown's expectations by nearly $1.1 billion, or 1.9 percent.
  • Jerry Brown, unions agree to delay contract talks until after tax vote

    04/10/2012 8:15:48 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/10/12 | Jon Ortiz
    Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed to extend the labor contracts of four state worker unions, pushing aside a potential obstacle to his quest for a tax increase later this year. The agreements affect roughly 24,000 state employees working under deals that expire July 1, extending their current terms for one more year. The governor's deals with labor are "mind-numbing," given the state's $9.2 billion deficit, said Senate GOP leader Bob Huff. The Diamond Bar Republican and three other GOP leaders last month put their names on a budget proposal that included cutting state workers' pay by about 5 percent. "It's...
  • Jarvis group launches 'Don't Sign the Petition' anti-tax campaign

    04/09/2012 9:08:55 PM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 4/9/12 | David Siders
    Less than a week after Gov. Jerry Brown started using robotic telephone calls and mailers to gather signatures for his ballot initiative to raise taxes, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association plans to launch its anti-tax campaign today on the conservative "John and Ken" talk radio show. The taxpayers group this morning posted a red banner on its website inviting viewers to join a "Don't Sign the Petition" campaign. The banner links to a campaign website opposing Brown's effort to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners.
  • California sues Orange County over $73.5 million in property taxes

    04/06/2012 9:25:40 AM PDT · by SmithL · 14 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/6/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    California state officials sued Orange County on Thursday to recoup $73.5 million in property taxes, . . . County has withheld property taxes this year that normally pay for K-12 schools and community colleges – money that the county believes is its own.
  • Distressed Cities Weigh Bold Tactics in a New Fiscal Era

    04/01/2012 1:52:32 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 25 replies
    NY Times ^ | March 31, 2012 | By MICHAEL COOPER and MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
    Robert Stout, the former finance director of Vallejo, Calif., was talking about the spiraling public safety costs that ultimately led his city to declare bankruptcy when he mentioned a fire that broke out two blocks from his home, not long after the city had closed some of its firehouses to save money. “The first fire truck that went by was yellow,” Mr. Stout recalled. “Our fire trucks are red. So the first fire truck to respond was on mutual aid from a town 20 miles away. That gives you some sense of what you are facing when you get into...
  • A way to balance California’s budget? Don’t get too excited…

    03/29/2012 3:30:24 PM PDT · by landsbaum · 5 replies
    Republicans in the Capitol have proposed a budget that is balanced – without increasing taxes. You’re right if you said, “That’s going nowhere.” The tax-and-spend Democrats in control in Sacramento aren’t about to balance the budget without counting on higher taxes, and . . .
  • California Gov. Jerry Brown calling his plan a 'Millionaires' Tax'

    03/28/2012 1:49:52 PM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 3/28/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    When Gov. Jerry Brown reached a tax compromise with the California Federation of Teachers and liberal activists, apparently their "Millionaires' Tax" slogan was included in the deal. Brown launched a new campaign website today whose front page calls the proposal a "Millionaires' Tax" even though it contains a quarter-cent sales tax increase and starts hiking income taxes at $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for couples.
  • Legislative mischief on 'trailer bills' becomes easier

    03/28/2012 9:01:10 AM PDT · by SmithL · 1 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 3/28/12 | Dan Walters
    Two years ago, when unions and Democratic politicians sponsored a ballot measure to reduce the required legislative vote on the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority, this column and others raised the possibility of ancillary mischief. Proposition 25's vote change applied not only to the budget itself, but other bills containing "appropriations related to the budget bill," known in the Capitol as "trailer bills." We pointed out that trailer bills had morphed from technical vehicles making minor adjustments in law into political Christmas trees that were often written in the dead of night and hastily enacted without their...
  • California legislative Democrats balk at Jerry Brown's budget cuts

    03/27/2012 8:17:41 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 3/27/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    In a show of good faith one year ago, legislative Democrats slashed Medi-Cal, cut universities and reduced welfare grants to slice the state deficit 13 weeks before the constitutional deadline. But this year Democrats are refusing to go along with Gov. Jerry Brown's most controversial reductions, spurning his demand to have cuts in place by March. They oppose Brown's plan to halve the amount of time that unemployed adults can receive welfare-to-work benefits and to slash grants to children. Assembly Democrats have voted against his proposal to cut scholarship aid for 26,000 low-income students through higher grade requirements for Cal...
  • It's all party politics in Washington, D.C.

    03/25/2012 7:03:25 AM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 3/25/12 | Debra J. Saunders
    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan introduced a hard-core GOP budget last week. His committee passed the package in a 19-18 vote. Two Republicans voted against it. No Democrats voted for it. Partisanship lives. Last year, a Ryan budget passed the House in a 235-193 vote. No Democrats voted for the GOP plan. Only Republicans voted yes. Four GOP members voted no. Two Republicans and three Democrats didn't vote. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought the House package to the floor, five Senate Republicans voted no, and the measure failed 57-40. The Ryan budget, however, fared better last year...
  • Molly Munger tax initiative drive offers workers a chance for free cars

    03/24/2012 10:48:45 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 3/24/12 | Jim Sanders
    Key to victory? A car key, perhaps. Michael Arno, whose company is spearheading the drive to qualify Molly Munger's tax measure for the November ballot, plans to give away a car each week in a drawing involving his top signature gatherers. The weekly winner can choose a favorite vehicle in the $15,000 price range, said Arno, whose firm must gather 504,760 valid voter signatures. County elections officials must confirm voter signatures by June 28, so the secretary of state has suggested that campaigns submit their petitions to local government by April 20. Clearly, it's pedal-to-the-metal time for initiative drives.