Fullerton City Hall is closed today for another three-day weekend

City Hall Closure Dates

2017
January – 1*, 2*, 13, 27
February – 10, 20*, 24
March – 10, 24
April – 7, 21
May – 5, 19, 29*
June – 2, 16, 30
July – 4*, 14, 28
August – 11, 25
September – 4*, 8, 22
October – 6, 20
November – 3, 10*, 17, 23*, 24*
December – 1, 15, 25*, 26*, 31*

*Holiday observed

Fullerton City Hall

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Mayor’s ‘Talk Around Town’ next Tuesday evening

Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker’s next “Talk Around Town” will be held next Tuesday evening , October 24 from 6:30 to 8:00 at the Amerige Heights Clubhouse, 2051 Hughes Drive (between Gilbert and Bastanchury). For a map, click here.

 

 

 

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Tonight’s city council meeting agenda

To read or download tonight’s detailed council meeting agenda, click here or download it here (pdf).

The public participation portion of the meeting begins at 6:30 with presentations and awards. Actual city business normally doesn’t start until 7:00 or thereafter.

And you can always watch it on cable Channel 3 (Spectrum — formerly Time Warner).

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Taxpayers shouldn’t tolerate gas tax extortion by transportation interests

By Jon Coupal | A coalition of government entities and special interests which thrive on transportation dollars recently sent a threat letter to Republican members of Congress because those members have the audacity to oppose the huge tax increase passed by the California Legislature with the enactment of Senate Bill 1. The threat was not well received and, in fact, will likely backfire on the tax increase supporters.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalThe SB 1 tax hike, imposed without voter approval, is very unpopular according to virtually all public and private polling. (A more recent poll claims that repeal of the gas tax is not supported by a majority of Californians, but that poll is suspect for several reasons, not the least of which is that the hike has yet to take affect.) Realizing how unpopular the gas tax is, several Republican members of Congress are contemplating support for a measure to repeal that tax.

Had the letter stuck to issues of transportation policy — such as why California needs to have the highest gas taxes in the nation — it would still have been wrong but at least it wouldn’t have been offensive. Unfortunately, supporters of the tax decided to take the low road and issued a thinly veiled threat that would have been more fitting for an episode of the Sopranos. Specifically, the letter stated, “We don’t think your objective is to create new political adversaries.” Moreover, the letter states that the coalition would “mount a robust and powerful effort in opposition to this initiative, using the voices of California’s business community to counter your efforts.”

As distinguished from the self-interested motivations of the tax increase proponents, including big construction corporations, the California Republican congressional delegation has decided to put the interests of middle-class taxpayers first and they should be commended for it. Indeed, in their written response, they demolish the arguments advanced by the special interests.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Posted in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal, SB 1, Taxes | Leave a comment

Deadly California wildfires raise needed debate about current spending

By Steven Greenhut | In the days before Facebook and other social media, it was a matter of course to wait a few days after tragedies strike before making political and policy points about the latest event. We always need to show compassion for the suffering – and wait until more of the facts roll in before getting up on that soapbox.

Steven GreenhutAt the Register, we used to refer to the late editorial writer Alan Bock as “Reverend Bock” because he was so good at offering condolences rather than lectures. But, ultimately, it’s the role of opinion writers to provide constructive policy advice after destructive events. We see this following the Las Vegas massacre this month, where gun availability became an understandable topic, and after recent hurricanes, where relief efforts received scrutiny.

Now, it’s time to think about wildfires. It’s hard not to think about them in northern and Southern California. My house is 80 miles from Napa Valley, yet the air is thick with smoke. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. At least 29 people have died and hundreds are missing as 16 fires engulf more than 160,000 acres in a heavily urbanized area. More than 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed, including wineries.

This is terribly sad. Anything one says about other people’s misery comes across as inadequate or trite, but we should have heavy hearts for what our fellow Californians are going through. Wildfires are, of course, a regular occurrence. The fields and woods typically are dry this time of year. It gets windy. Power lines fall. Wildfires spread like, well, wildfire.

What should we learn for next time?

The debate already is contentious. “Climate change is lengthening the fire season in the West,” the San Jose Mercury News argued. “Congress and Western state legislatures should be amping up prevention — just as we strengthen dams to help prevent flooding.” The newspaper also pointed to (and downplayed) conservative arguments in favor of more logging, which could “reduce the severity of fires.”

Those are important discussions, but involve broad topics of climate policy, land-use regulations and federal budgetary priorities. I’m more focused on the concerns on the ground. In particular, there’s been talk about the state having too few firefighters and insufficient resources. For instance, news reports suggest that instead of working 24-hours on and then having 24 hours off, firefighters are working nonstop and getting little sleep. We’re increasingly dependent on firefighters from other states.

Like all budgets, firefighting ones are limited, wherever the wildfire-fighting funds come from. And public-safety budgets are consuming the bulk of municipal spending these days. Most of that has to do with pay and benefit levels.

To read the rest of this column, please click here.

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Public employee pensions vs. a split roll for Proposition 13

By Joel Fox | I guess I should use the old vaudeville line: Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the push to increase commercial property taxes is about government pension costs. Returning to this subject at this time (I wrote on the same subject for the Sacramento Bee last April) is prompted by the coming together of a couple of recent events.

There was the League of Women Voters and other groups hosting a meeting in Los Angeles this past weekend to “educate” people and advocate for a split roll property tax seeking to raise billions of tax dollars on the back of businesses. Also last week, Stanford University’s Institute for Policy Research issued a report by professor and former Democratic legislator Joe Nation describing the pension burden that is beginning to strangle state and local governments in California.

The services that are affected by both the split roll rally and the Stanford report are quite similar.

Supporters of the split roll say that raising taxes on commercial property will provide $9 billion a year needed for schools and services provided by local governments. Meanwhile, Joe Nation’s report says that because of pension contributions by employers (i.e. governments) increasing an average of 400% over the past 15 years, educational services, recreation, community services and others are squeezed for lack of money.

Many “core mission services,” as defined by the Stanford report, will be starved of money because of pension demands. The split roll advocates talk about the need for more money for local services. What they don’t tell you is that money for those services is being diverted to cover the pension requirements of state and local governments because these governments made generous promises to workers and accepted revenue projections to cover those promises that did not play out.

Joel FoxInstead of admitting that more money is needed to cover pension costs, split roll advocates create a false argument about business dodging its fair share of property taxes. They claim homeowners now pay a much larger share of the property tax burden than they did prior to Proposition 13. A Legislative Analyst’s Office report undercuts that false claim.

The report states in part, “Homeowners pay a slightly larger share of property taxes today than they did when Proposition 13 passed. Proposition 13 does not appear to have caused this increase. … In part, this may be due to faster growth in the number of residential properties than the number of commercial and industrial properties.”

The so-called grassroots activity seeking support for a split roll is backed by powerful public employee unions who support more revenues to cover the pension costs. Yet, you won’t hear anything from the split roll advocates about the pensions strangling local budgets or pushing some cities toward bankruptcies.

Meanwhile, the Stanford study makes it clear with numerous examples that pensions are absorbing greater and greater portions of local government budgets. The Stanford study states clearly there is “agreement on one fact: public pension costs are making it harder to provide services that have traditionally been considered part of government’s core mission.”

[Cross-posted from Fox & Hounds.]

Posted in CalPERS, CalSTRS, Joe Nation, Joel Fox, Pensions, Prop. 13 | Leave a comment

California’s on a tax binge, despite having one of the nation’s highest tax burdens

By Dan Walters, CALmatters | Last year, California voters approved a big boost in cigarette taxes, from 87 cents a pack to $2.87, and extended for 12 additional years the nation’s highest income-tax rates on the highest-income residents.

Income taxes are 70 percent of California's general-fund revenue. Image via FlickrThis year, the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown enacted a more than $5-billion-a-year increase in gas taxes and other vehicular levies to finance transportation improvements and imposed a new tax on real estate transactions to finance affordable housing.

Those increases, plus a slew of new local government levies and hikes in personal income and taxable retail sales, will raise total tax collections to just under $300 billion a year, or $50 billion more than they were just two years ago. The breakdown: Nearly $200 billion will go to the state and more than $100 billion to schools and local governments.

You won’t find those numbers in any central data repository. Rather, they are calculated from dozens of different sources, ranging from the state budget to tax authorities and reports from agencies that are empowered to impose specialized levies, such as payroll taxes on employers for unemployment insurance, taxes on workers for disability insurance or utility taxes to support the Public Utilities Commission.

To read the entire column, please click here.

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Take a scalpel to $345 million in California’s stem-cell research waste

A weekly column by Jon CoupalBy Jon Coupal and John Moorlach | Just as good scientists are drawn to conclusions by solid data, the decision whether to spend another $345 million by California’s state-run stem-cell research project should be based on an objective analysis as to whether it would be cost-effective. A rigorous cost-benefit analysis is not only fiscally prudent, it avoids being drawn into the moral dilemmas posed by stem-cell research, especially with respect to cells from human embryos.

State Senator John MoorlachCreated in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine was authorized to spend $3 billion in bond proceeds. But as is typical with most bonds, the interest payments would double the cost to $6 billion. CIRM has made $2.4 billion in grants and used $255 million for administration and prepaid interest — leaving $345 million remaining to disburse.

Should CIRM distribute the remaining $345 million (which, with interest, would amount to $690 million in repayment costs)? Should this remaining pool of funds be doled out?

To read the entire column, please click here.

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An update on the gas tax repeal and the Josh Newman recall

There was another update Friday on the John and Ken talk show on KFI Radio:

 

Posted in Carl DeMaio, Gas Tax, Jon and Ken Show / KFI Radio, SB 1, Taxes | Comments Off

Fullerton City Hall is closed today for another three-day weekend

City Hall Closure Dates

2017
January – 1*, 2*, 13, 27
February – 10, 20*, 24
March – 10, 24
April – 7, 21
May – 5, 19, 29*
June – 2, 16, 30
July – 4*, 14, 28
August – 11, 25
September – 4*, 8, 22
October6, 20
November – 3, 10*, 17, 23*, 24*
December – 1, 15, 25*, 26*, 31*

*Holiday observed

Fullerton City Hall

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