Will Jerry Brown move the Senate recall election to June?

By Taryn Luna | With their Democratic supermajority potentially in peril, California state legislators passed a law earlier this year that lengthened the timeline for the state to officially certify a recall election.

Now their efforts may give Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, a better shot of surviving a GOP coup.

Since Secretary of State Alex Padilla did not certify the voter signatures collected to recall Newman 180 days before the June 5, 2018 primary, Gov. Jerry Brown can opt to add the recall to the primary ballot instead of establishing a special election. The 180-day deadline expired last week.

AP Photo of Josh Newman by Rich PedroncelliVoter turnout is typically higher for regularly scheduled elections than special elections, which may give Newman better odds at the ballot box.

The new timeline established by Senate Bill 117 – the Legislature’s second recall redux measure after the original got held up in court – gives the Department of Finance until today to perform and submit a cost analysis to Brown, Padilla and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

The joint budget committee then has 30 days, or until Jan. 10, to review and comment on the estimate. After the committee’s comment period expires, Padilla’s office will certify that the proponents have enough valid signatures to qualify the recall. Then Brown can set the date for the election.

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said the new process exposes the extent to which lawmakers are attempting to help one of their own.

“Whether you agree with the recall or not, this manipulation of the recall law itself in this very isolated situation is a gross abuse of power,” said Coupal, whose association is the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the validity of SB 117.

To read the entire story in the Sacramento Bee, please click here.

Posted in 29th State Senate District, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal, Josh Newman, Recall | Leave a comment

CalPERS exposes taxpayers to unnecessary risks

By Jon Coupal | Listing all the deficiencies of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) would be a daunting task. A long history of corruption involving so-called “placement fees,” dysfunctional governance, undue union influence and poor rates of return are themselves reasons why California needs fundamental pension reform.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalNow we can add to that list how CalPERS’s mindless pursuit of progressive, feel-good causes exposes taxpayers to even greater risk.

In a scathing report released earlier this week, the American Council for Capital Formation blamed CalPERS’ poor investment results over the last decade on its increasing focus on “sustainable” investing strategies. Often referred to as ESG policies (environmental, social and governance) this strategy applies subjective opinions in an effort to measure the sustainability and “ethical impact” of an investment in a company or business. Of course, ESG judgments are as malleable as the varying opinions of those judging the criteria. Applying ESG standards as a primary investment strategy is the polar opposite of looking at actual financial performance.

According to the report, “During this time of increased ESG investing and activism, the fund’s performance has suffered, converting a $3 billion pension surplus to a nearly $140 billion deficit over the past 10 years.”

To read the entire column, please click here.

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

‘Repeal the Gas Tax’ commercial is now running on cable TV

Posted in Carl DeMaio, Gas Tax | Leave a comment

Tonight’s city council meeting agenda

The AgendaTo read or download tonight’s detailed council meeting agenda, click 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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Approval of Congress falls even lower

The Republican-led Congress earns its lowest job approval marks this year, perhaps in part because of its failure to pass any major legislation. Most voters are steadfast in their opinion that the more important job for Congress is passing good laws rather than stopping bad ones.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 13% of Likely U.S. Voters now think Congress is doing a good or excellent job. That’s down slightly from 15% in July but significantly lower than February’s 11-year high of 25%, just after President Trump took office and Republicans controlled both the presidency and the Congress for the first time in 10 years. Fifty-five percent (55%) now think Congress is doing a poor job, virtually unchanged from the previous survey.

PollingPrior to February, those that gave Congress positive marks ranged from five percent (5%) to 23% in regular surveying since 2006.  In that same period, the percentage of voters who gave the legislators poor marks ran from a low of 35% in February 2007 to a high of 75% in November 2013.

Most voters (52%) still agree it is more important for Congress to pass good legislation than to prevent bad legislation from becoming law. Thirty-eight percent (38%) think preventing bad legislation is the more important role. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided. These findings have changed little over the last several years.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 21, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Thinking ahead to next year’s midterm elections, 59% of voters believe it’s likely Republicans will lose control of Congress, and voters personally are leaning towards returning the Democrats to control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time since early 2011.

Republicans (23%) give the GOP-run Congress higher positives than Democrats (8%) and voters not affiliated with either major party (7%). Republicans are also the most likely to say the more important role for Congress is passing good legislation.

Men and those 40 and over are more likely than women and younger voters to believe passing good legislation is the more important role. But voters under 40 are less critical of the current Congress.

Most blacks think it is more important for Congress to stop bad legislation from passing. The majority of whites and other minority voters disagree.

Twenty-one percent (21%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing give Congress positive marks, compared to just three percent (3%) of those who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s performance. Those who Strongly Approve of the president are also more likely to believe it’s more important for Congress to pass good legislation.

Congress is currently wrestling with the biggest reform of the U.S. tax code in decades, and 62% of all voters think it is important for Congress to pass a tax reform bill before the end of the year. But only 36% think it is even somewhat likely that Congress will make a big change in the tax code.

Just 16% want to leave Obamacare as is, but the Congress has fallen short several times this year in its efforts to change the health care law.

Only 32% believe their own representative to Congress is the best person for the job. But then most voters think Congress doesn’t listen to them anyway and is more interested in making the media happy.

Voters are more likely to believe Republicans in Congress are the bigger problem for Trump than Democrats are.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of GOP voters believe Republicans in Congress have lost touch with the party’s base throughout the nation over the past several years. Democrats are more critical of their representatives, too, but 51% still think those representatives have done a good job maintaining the party’s values.

You can sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free) or follow Rasmussen on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted in Congress, Polling | Leave a comment

Don’t let California become Chicago

By Jon Coupal | Well, it happened again. Homeowners in Chicago now face yet another property tax increase to pay for the city’s mounting pension debt. Local taxpayers have already been slammed with nearly $1.1 billion in property tax increases, primarily for police, fire and teacher pensions. That’s on top of a 29 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund; a 56 percent telephone tax hike in 2014 and another 28.2 percent next year for the Laborers fund. Other “revenue enhancements” include a new garbage collection fee, a bag tax, and increases in water, sewer and city sticker fees, hotel and parking taxes and parking fines.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalA few weeks ago, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that another shoe is about to drop — a property tax hike scheduled in 2020 to pay for police and fire pensions. Many Windy City residents have had it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the greater Chicago area leads the nation in population loss and has had two such years in a row. This is what happens when taxes become so burdensome — people vote with their feet. Not surprisingly, the number-one destination for residents of Illinois fleeing their high-tax state (the fiscal woes are not limited to Chicago) has been Texas — a state with low taxes and greater economic opportunity.

Without a radical shift in policy away from high taxation and toward economic freedom, Chicago is bound for the same fate as Detroit, a city which reached its population peak in the 1950 census at over 1.8 million people, and decreased in population with each subsequent census. As of the 2010 census, the city has just over 700,000 residents, reflecting a loss of a staggering 61 percent of the population.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Posted in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal, Pensions, Prop. 13, Property Taxes | Leave a comment

Gov. Brown finally spends political capital to fix California’s pension system

By Steven Greenhut | Gov. Jerry Brown has more political capital than, perhaps, any modern politician has had in this state. He’s an iconic figure and smarter than almost anyone else in the Capitol, so he can pretty much have his way with the Legislature. A lot of us have wondered, though, why — almost seven years into his latest governorship — he has been so unwilling to tap that treasure trove and spend it on something really important.

Steven GreenhutUntil now. Brown recently has weighed in on a state Supreme Court case that — without exaggeration — will determine the fiscal future of California’s municipalities. It’s a seemingly obscure case about a union benefit known as “airtime,” but it’s really about the ability of state and local governments to roll back future pension benefits they can no longer afford.

Brown has had major accomplishments, but mostly of the type (tax raising, extending cap and trade) one should expect from a governor working with supermajorities in his own party. Political capital is about investing in something important that cuts against the grain. In this case, Brown is taking on the public-sector unions he has spent his career empowering.

There’s no question Brown and his team understand what’s at stake. In 1999, California passed a law that started a wave of retroactive pension increases that were predicated on the idea that stock-market increases would endlessly pay for all those six-figure pensions and spiking gimmicks. But what goes up must come down. Instead, the state’s pension funds are dangerously underfunded and localities are slashing services to pay for golden retiree deals.

To read the entire column in the Orange County Register, please click here.

Posted in Pensions, Steve Greenhut | Leave a comment

Listen to yesterday’s John and Ken Show on KFI Radio

Yesterday John and Ken kicked off the signature-gathering effort for the initiative to repeal the gas tax with a live broadcast from the Ayres Hotel in Orange. Here’s the entire four-hour show — which turns out to actually be only 133 minutes without the news and commercials:

To see photos from yesterday’s gas tax repeal show, CLICK HERE.

Posted in Carl DeMaio, Gas Tax, John and Ken Show, Jon Coupal | 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
October – 6, 20
November – 3, 10*, 17, 23*, 24*
December1, 15, 25*, 26*, 31*

*Holiday observed

Fullerton City Hall

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California is taxed enough without Republican tax reform

[EDITOR'S NOTE: We received feedback that was critical of Jon Coupal's pro-GOP tax reform column posted here on Monday, so we hereby post the opposite view which has also been expressed by three California members of Congress -- Dana Rohrabacher and Darrell Issa from Orange County, and Tom McClintock from Northern California. You can read Rep. McClintock's comments here.]

Carolyn CaveccheBy Carolyn Cavecche | The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, by a vote of 227-205. Now it’s up to the Senate to pass its version, then both chambers will have to reconcile the differences in their plans. There are a few things California taxpayers can like in what the House passed, like the elimination of the Alternate Minimum Tax, but there is also quite a bit to hate. Californians do not need to be reminded that we are already over taxed; that we have the highest sales tax in the nation; that our personal income tax has the highest top rate in the nation; or that we have the highest corporate income tax in the West. We are a close second to Pennsylvania on who pays the highest gas tax in the nation, although if you add on the cost of our cap-and-trade program it does put us over the top. Our property tax rates have been stabilized thanks to Proposition 13, but there is an effort underway to dismantle that as well.

We also pay our way at the federal level; don’t buy into the myth that California is being subsidized by other states. California is one of 11 states that receives less than what it pays in federal taxes and yet California taxpayers make our state number nine in what we pay per person in federal taxes. And, with passage of this tax plan, it is only going to get worse. An analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy states that California taxpayers will see a net tax increase of $12.1 billion in 2027 alone. Their study shows that the states hit the hardest by this plan, California, New York, New Jersey and Maryland will face tax increases to “partly fund the tax cuts flowing to other parts of the country.”

When you hear someone from D.C. say that this plan is going to lower taxes for the middle class, don’t be confused into thinking they mean the middle class in California where a family of four from Orange County making $84,450 a year now qualify as low income. Middle class is a relative term.

To read this entire commentary in the Orange County Register, please click here.

[Carolyn Cavecche is CEO and president of the Orange County Taxpayers Association.]

Posted in Carolyn Cavecche, OCTax | Comments Off