Keyword: yourtaxdollarsatwork

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  • Pension reform lite' doesn't get us there

    08/28/2012 9:40:49 PM PDT · by SmithL · 2 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/28/12 | Daniel Borenstein - Staff columnist
    The compromise hammered out between Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders of the state Legislature appears to be "pension reform lite." But it's hard to know for sure. Three days before the Legislature's deadline to vote on the plan, the governor's news release announcing the grand deal lacked details needed to evaluate it intelligently. It was merely a skeletal outline of a supposed strategy to fix one of the state's most complex financial problems. On Friday, legislators will vote on the complex bills that include the details. Most lawmakers will have no idea what's in them. It's an abhorrent way...
  • Jerry Brown, Democrats reach deal on public pension overhaul

    08/28/2012 11:42:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 32 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 8/28/12 | Jon Ortiz
    Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers have reached a deal that will alter pensions for hundreds of thousand of local and state workers. Brown will announce an agreement that promises future employees less and requires many of them to pay more for it than their tenured colleagues, according to details of the plan leaking out this morning. Brown is scheduled to talk about pension reform tat an 11:30 a.m. Los Angeles press conference. The Democratic governor made cutting public pension costs a key piece of his administrative agenda and has insisted that voters insist on reform before they'll embrace a...
  • Jarvis group's new ad calls Jerry Brown's tax bid street robbery

    08/20/2012 7:13:45 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 8/20/12 | David Siders
    The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is up with its second radio advertisement against Gov. Jerry Brown's November ballot initiative to raise taxes, comparing Brown's tax campaign to street robbery. "Hey, lady, hand over your purse or the schools get it," a voice at the top of the ad says. The ad, an issue-advocacy spot running statewide beginning today, comes as the Democratic governor begins in earnest to campaign for Proposition 30, his proposal to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners. The Democratic governor has characterized the election as a choice between higher taxes and...
  • Pete Stark defends Social Security payments to his kids, delinquent dues

    08/17/2012 5:38:59 PM PDT · by SmithL · 23 replies
    SFGate: Politics Blog ^ | 8/17/12 | Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
    The campaign of Rep. Pete Stark, the East Bay Democrat in a contested re-election race against fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell of Dublin, confirmed to the Chronicle that Stark’s children do receive Social Security benefits as allowed under the law, and that he has stopped paying his dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Stark campaign consultant Michael Terris wrote in an email that Stark “fought his entire career to protect Social Security from those who would dismantle it. Congressman Stark has been paying into the system for many years. And yes, like all Americans, he and his family intend to...
  • CALIFORNIA: U.S. senators, legislative leaders call for tax cease-fire

    08/17/2012 12:02:48 AM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 8/16/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    In a pointed letter critical of Gov. Jerry Brown's tax rival, California's two U.S. senators along with state legislative leaders called Thursday for a cease-fire from campaigns backing the two multibillion-dollar tax hikes on the November ballot. U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, said in a letter to the California State PTA that the Proposition 38 campaign has "become increasingly negative" and "engaged in personal attacks against Governor Jerry Brown and Prop. 30." The PTA has joined wealthy attorney Molly Munger in backing Proposition...
  • Censorship rears its ugly head in California Senate

    08/10/2012 9:13:15 AM PDT · by SmithL · 12 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/10/12 | Dan Walters
    Let's not mince words about what the state Senate's Democratic leader did Wednesday. It was self-serving censorship, the sort of thing that one expects from tinpot dictators, not from those who fancy themselves to be progressive civil libertarians. Someone acting for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg suddenly cut off cable television access to a legislative hearing to air facts and arguments about pending ballot measures. The Senate Governance and Finance Committee called the hearing – as required by law – into three tax increases (Propositions 30, 38 and 39) and altering the state's budgetary procedures (Proposition 31). As it...
  • Three California cities' bankruptcy cases reverberate

    08/08/2012 11:51:38 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/8/12 | Dan Walters
    The back-to-back bankruptcy filings of Stockton and San Bernardino, following Vallejo's insolvency a few years earlier, have sparked finger-pointing about causes and speculation about whether more cities may go under. Those on the political right say the bankruptcies resulted from local politicians' caving in to pressure from unions for higher pay and more generous pension and health benefits. Those on the left – unions particularly – contend that the collapse of the real estate market, caused by rapacious Wall Street bankers, is to blame. The reality is more nuanced. All three cities on the suburban peripheries were facing urban decay....
  • California official replaced after killing cougar

    08/08/2012 11:38:42 AM PDT · by SmithL · 17 replies
    VENTURA, Calif. -- The California Fish and Game Commission has removed its president after he was criticized for killing a mountain lion in Idaho. Commission members voted Wednesday to replace Dan Richards. Richards, who was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008, has said he plans to remain on the five-member commission until his term expires in six months.
  • Sorry About the Fake Bomb (U.S. Embassy Forgets "Bomb" After Drill ... Calls Bomb Squad on Itself)

    08/04/2012 11:02:28 AM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 16 replies
    ABC News ^ | July 31, 2012 | RANDY KREIDER and DANA HUGHES
    Sorry About the Fake Bomb U.S. officials apologized today for mistakenly leaving a fake bomb attached to an embassy vehicle in Oslo and causing a bomb scare that led to the evacuation of the U.S. embassy, Norway's royal palace and part of downtown Oslo. The device had been placed beneath an embassy vehicle as part of a security drill and then mistakenly left there. It was spotted by security guards at the embassy's front entrance when someone tried to drive the vehicle onto embassy grounds just after 11 a.m. local time, triggering the evacuation of the embassy and the palace,...
  • Teachers union drops $7.5 million against Prop. 32

    08/03/2012 8:28:16 PM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    SFGate: Politics Blog ^ | 8/3/12 | Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Political Writer
    As we told you a few weeks back, California’s unions are very worried about Proposition 32, which — if passed — would kneecap their political power. The measure would limit labor’s chief weapon for influencing the state’s politics – political donations – by preventing unions from using automatic payroll deductions from members without their permission. It would also prevent corporations from doing the same, but as we noted in our story a while back — they’ve got some serious loopholes. So that explains why the the 325,000-member California Teachers Association/Issues PAC dropped $7.5 miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllion Friday in opposition to the measure,...
  • California reaches deep into special funds to pay for schools, prisons, social services

    08/03/2012 11:12:19 AM PDT · by SmithL · 7 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/3/12 | Dan Walters
    California drivers pay fees for smog checks, vehicle registrations and new tires, all supposedly for programs that benefit roadway use. Consumers pay fees to recycle beverage containers, televisions and computers. Doctors and accountants pay license fees to regulate their industries. But for more than a decade, the special funds collecting these dollars have served a second purpose: helping California pay for schools, social services and prisons that are supposed to be funded by general taxes. California has 560 funds deemed "special" because in theory they're walled off from general state expenditures. In the face of two recessions, however, California reached...
  • Jerry Brown may be the issue in California's tax initiative duel

    07/31/2012 7:10:54 PM PDT · by SmithL · 15 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 7/31/12 | Dan Walters
    Gov. Jerry Brown released an Internet ad the other day, asking voters to embrace his multibillion-dollar tax increase. But the word "tax" is nowhere to be found. The closest Brown or other speakers in the tightly scripted ad come to the T-word is "new revenues." Mostly, it touts Brown's efforts to cut state spending and declares – wrongly – that the state's credit rating has improved. "We've made progress, but we still have very serious budget problems in California," Brown says in the ad. "We simply have to take a stand against further budget cuts for schools or for our...
  • Calif mental health dollars bypassing mentally ill {Prop 63 Millionaire's tax}

    07/28/2012 11:15:38 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    AP via SacBee ^ | 7/28/12 | HANNAH DREIER
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- As state mental health services have crumbled under budget cuts, tens of millions of dollars raised through a tax designed to help the mentally ill have gone to "wellness" programs like horseback riding for teens and yoga classes for city workers. And that's by design.Voters approved Proposition 63, the so-called "millionaire's tax," in 2004 to make up for decades of mental health cuts. The ballot summary said it would "expand services and develop innovative programs" for the mentally ill and the text of the measure stipulated 20 percent of the funds would go to programs "effective in...
  • US donates extra $150 million to battle AIDS

    07/23/2012 3:50:33 PM PDT · by Free ThinkerNY · 15 replies
    Associated Press ^ | July 23, 2012 | LAURAN NEERGAARD
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Science now has the tools to slash the spread of HIV even without a vaccine - and the U.S. is donating an extra $150 million to help poor countries put them in place, the Obama administration told the world's largest AIDS conference Monday. "We want to get to the end of AIDS," declared the top U.S. HIV researcher, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.
  • The California Rule: Why can’t pensions be altered?

    07/10/2012 10:23:58 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    Halfway to Concord ^ | 7/9/12 | Bill Gram-Reefer
    In March 2011, the Little Hoover Commission alarmed California’s comfortable labor-dem,ocrat ruling class when it urged state and local governments to roll back benefits for current workers. Inconceivable! cried the public pension industrial complex; “benefits always go up…never down, that is the natural order of things.” And now comes Amy B. Monahan, a University of Minnesota law professor, who in the Iowa Law Review not only agrees with the Little Hoover Commission, but cites a 1917 California Supreme Court decision about benefits for a police widow. as potential legal wiggle room for pension reform in California.The Voice of San Diego...
  • U.S. Government: No Evidence of Aquatic Humanoids (i.e., "Mermaids") Has Ever Been Found.

    07/03/2012 8:51:47 AM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 40 replies
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ^ | July 2012 | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Mermaids — those half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea — are legendary sea creatures chronicled in maritime cultures since time immemorial. The ancient Greek epic poet Homer wrote of them in The Odyssey. In the ancient Far East, mermaids were the wives of powerful sea-dragons, and served as trusted messengers between their spouses and the emperors on land. The aboriginal people of Australia call mermaids yawkyawks – a name that may refer to their mesmerizing songs. The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. Magical...
  • Across the nation, pension funds are coming up short

    06/24/2012 3:11:07 PM PDT · by SmithL · 31 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 6/24/12 | Jon Ortiz
    California's public retirement systems' pension obligations were a combined $112 billion beyond the value of their assets in 2010, according to a report released this week, with anticipated retiree health costs adding another $77 billion in unfunded liabilities. The study issued by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Pew Center for the States says that the combined pension and health costs are both a cause for serious concerns. California's total long-term retirement and health costs two years ago totaled $593.7 billion, but the funds paid just 75 percent of the recommended contribution into pension plans and 29 percent of what the state should...
  • Unions fire Internet blast at California ballot measure

    06/11/2012 10:49:37 PM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 6/11/12 | Jon Ortiz
    The organized labor coalition fighting a November ballot measure that would end payroll-deducted money for political spending -- the channel through which unions raise funds to play in politics -- has launched a new video blasting the proposal. The unions' message attacks the measure as an unfair idea that would put new limits on the influence of organizations that speak up for working people while exempting self-interested elites. As we mentioned in our Sunday story on the battle ahead over the proposition, look for labor to continue connecting the words like "exempt" and "Wall Street" to tar the measure.
  • Group says Calif. air regulations discriminate

    06/10/2012 5:12:20 PM PDT · by SmithL · 19 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 6/10/12
    A coalition of environmental groups is alleging that California's Cap and Trade program violates the 1964 Civil Rights act. The groups filed a complaint Friday against the California Air Resources Board charging that minority groups will be disproportionately harmed by the program that allows polluters to discharge more emissions by buying credits from other less-polluting industries. The complaint alleges that African-Americans, Latinos and Asians are more likely to live in the low-income neighborhoods near refineries and power plants and will not receive the benefit of emission reductions intended under Cap and Trade.
  • Burglar tries to break in Judge Lillian Sing's car {SAN FRANCISCO VALUES}

    06/10/2012 8:32:42 AM PDT · by SmithL · 31 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 6/10/12 | Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnists
    Judge Lillian Sing got a taste of judicial medicine the other day when a convicted car burglar she was trying to help walked out of her San Francisco courtroom and, within minutes, was busted for allegedly breaking into her car. Phillip Bernard was in Community Court on Tuesday for a check of his progress while on probation for an auto burglary conviction. Bernard, who is homeless, had missed an earlier appearance and had failed to follow his probation requirements. "I wasn't too happy with him," Sing said. But Community Court is set up to get people help, not send them...