Tonight’s city council meeting agenda

The AgendaTo read or download tonight’s detailed council meeting agenda from the City’s website, please click here.

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 7:30 . . . or even later.

And you can also watch it at home on cable Channel 3 (Spectrum — formerly Time Warner Cable).

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Rich people who want higher taxes should pay more

By Doug Bandow, The American Spectator | Tax Day is here, a dreadful occasion for most Americans. But it is pure tragedy for the rich. That is, those who believe government should take more. Stephen Prince, whose company makes plastic gift cards, told the New York Times that he was “pissed off about” the Trump tax cut.

The reason? He’s paying $3 million less than before. “People like me are not all greedy.” That’s certainly good to know! He added: “We have to show that we have some concern for the country, and that we’re willing to pay some taxes.”

Doug BandowOf course, only the most obtuse and greedy right-winger verging on fascism doesn’t realize that it is his/her patriotic duty to hand Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, as well as Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell—more money to squander, er, “invest” in America’s future. This sentiment predates President Donald Trump. The informal “Patriotic Millionaires” group was founded back in 2010 by Morris Pearl, formerly with BlackRock.

In recent years PMs have visited Capitol Hill, urging higher taxes on the rich. “We’re very concerned about this huge inequality thing” said Pearl. The retiree said he was paying less taxes than working people: “It’s a pretty good deal if you can get it, but it’s not good for the country.”

Investor and professor Eric Schoenberg argued that “our tax system is a monstrosity” which has “been perpetually slanted toward the rich.” The financial benefit to him of the Trump legislation “is completely secondary. The whole thing is legislative malfeasance.”

Warren Buffett once appeared to be an honorary member of the “stick it to the rich” political club, urging a minimum tax on the wealthy. But he may have fallen out of the group last year, when he applauded the Trump tax cut, calling it a “huge tailwind” for business.

What will the outraged rich do with their unfair windfall? The undertaxed rich are divided. Pearl dismisses it as just making his “pot of money… somewhat larger than it might otherwise have been.” John Driscoll plans to give more cash to his favorite political causes: “The unnecessary and fiscally imprudent reduction in the individual income tax rate gives me more income,” which he will use “to invest more in candidates who don’t put the income of wealthy people ahead of people who need help.”

However, none, reported the Times, planned on doing the obvious: writing a check to the U.S. Treasury.

To read the entire article, please click here.

Posted in Doug Bandow, Income Tax | Leave a comment

Is California really a low property tax state?

By Jon Coupal | To hear progressives tell it, California’s property tax is way too low and needs to be increased to fund the critical needs of schools and local governments.  But the notion that Proposition 13 – enacted 40 years ago – has somehow “starved” local governments is nothing more than urban myth.  In virtually every year since 1978, the growth in property tax revenue has exceeded the combined growth in inflation and population.

While the consistent growth in property tax revenue is indisputable, that has not deterred Proposition 13’s detractors from arguing that, relative to other states, property owners in California aren’t paying their “fair share.”  Eschewing for the moment what constitutes “fair,” a part of the debate involves whether California is a high or low property tax state. And it is here that the saying “lies, damn lies and statistics” comes into full play. The reality is that there are many ways to measure tax burden and most can be manipulated to support some desired narrative.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalThose who argue that California’s property tax burden is too high might be tempted to point out that California collects far more property taxes than any other state.  That is true, but it is also intellectually dishonest.  Our size and population is what generates the tax revenue and aggregate dollars collected simply do not reflect a fair measure of tax burden.

One measure, certainly more accurate than total dollars collected, is per capita property tax collections.  This is simply aggregate property tax revenue collected divided by population – a relatively easy calculation. Using this metric, it is clear that California is not a low property tax state.  The authoritative Tax Foundation ranks California 17th highest among the fifty states, which puts us almost in the top third in burden.

To read the entire column, please click here.

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Will California’s taxpayers ever pay enough?

By Jon Coupal | Every day it seems like the California Legislature careens further off the rails, and we’re not just talking about the state’s infamous high speed rail project. The rapidity of tax increase proposals that would punish both citizen and business taxpayers is breathtaking. Particularly astounding is the fact that new revenue simply isn’t needed given our highest-in-the-nation income tax rate, state sales tax rate and a litany of other tax metrics that cause residents of other states to fall to their knees in gratitude that they don’t live here. (That is especially true for the millions of former Californians who have escaped to lower tax states).

A weekly column by Jon CoupalEven more ironic is that these tax increase proposals are being advanced in a state with a massive $15 billion budget surplus and a recent series of corporate IPOs that will bring billions more into state coffers. When is enough enough?

Since January, new tax increase proposals include a tax on soda (AB138); car batteries (AB142); residential water use (AB217); firearms (AB18); automobile tires (AB755); pain medication (AB1468); oil severance (SB246); inheritances (SB378); and a sales tax on services (SB22). Combined, these proposals, plus several more, would impose hundreds of billions of dollars in higher taxes on Californians. If state politicians are trying to depopulate the state, they’ve come up with a pretty good plan. It is unknown how many of these tax hikes will advance all the way through the legislative process to enactment. A significant hurdle is Prop. 13’s requirement that taxes imposed at the state level receive a two-thirds vote of both the Assembly and Senate. But with Democrats having achieved that threshold in the 2018 elections, the odds are better now than they have been in 40 years.

To read the entire column, please click here.

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How California’s newly created tax agency could bankrupt small businesses across the country

Steven GreenhutBy Steven Greenhut, The American Spectator | Those of us who live in California are used to the state’s aggressive tax-collection policies. Despite record-setting budgets, the state never has enough revenue to fund all the programs it wants to create or expand so the tax authorities have to shake every last dime out of residents’ pockets. But now, thanks to confusion over how to collect online sales taxes, California’s tax-collection agency may be coming for you — even if you sell a few items from your kitchen table in Kansas.

The newly created California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) has been sending collection letters to small businesses that sell products via online retail platforms such as Fulfillment by Amazon. The agency claims that such third-party sellers owe eight years of back taxes because they are considered to have a physical presence in the Golden State. The agency threatens tens of thousands of dollars in fines and imprisonment of up to three years.

It’s a frightening proposition. As California Treasurer Fiona Ma noted in a recent letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, she’s heard from a Washington state third-party seller who is “distraught and frightened” after receiving a letter from California telling her that she’s “facing tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes, penalties and interest” — something that “will force us out of business and into bankruptcy.” The seller has complied with California tax rules and signed up for a California business license, but now our state wants uncollected sales taxes going back eight years.

How can a Washington business potentially be forced into bankruptcy by Sacramento taxing authorities?

To read the entire article, please click here.

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School and pension costs in California: What can be done?

Posted in CalPERS, CalSTRS, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton School District, Pensions | Comments Off

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

City Hall Closure Dates and
Observed Holidays

January –1*, 11, 25
February – 8, 18*, 22
March – 8, 22
April5, 19
May – 3, 17, 27*,31
June – 14, 28
July – 4*, 12, 26
August – 9, 23
September – 2*, 6, 20
October – 4, 18
November – 1, 11*, 15, 28*, 29*
December – 13, 24*, 25*, 26^,27^, 31*

*Holiday observed
^Winter Closure

Fullerton City Hall

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Watch last night’s city council meeting

To watch the five-and-a-half hour meeting, click here.

City Council Meeting 2019-02-05

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Sharon Quirk-Silva borrowed $430,000 dollars from Loretta Sanchez to buy a house

By Matt Levin, CALmatters | To buy a house, an Orange County legislator received a $430,000 personal loan from a former Orange County congresswoman—an arrangement that some legal experts labeled unusual, but that both politicians said was not improper.

Democratic Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva borrowed the sum from former U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, an unsuccessful 2016 U.S. Senate candidate, in the fall of 2017, according to financial disclosure and property documents reviewed by CALmatters and confirmed by Quirk-Silva and Sanchez.

The loan was used to purchase a Fullerton house for nearly $600,000, which Quirk-Silva and her husband eventually moved into. After selling their previous home and arranging traditional bank financing, the documents indicate, Quirk-Silva and her husband repaid Sanchez—with interest, Quirk-Silva said. The existence of the loan appears on the assemblywoman’s state-required financial disclosure documents.

To read the entire story, please click here.

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More than $6.2 billion a year in higher taxes and fees introduced by state lawmakers

As of the deadline for introducing legislation, California lawmakers proposed more than $6.2 billion a year in higher taxes and fees, the nonpartisan California Tax Foundation reported today. This figure will grow substantially as fiscal estimates are prepared for recently amended measures, the foundation added.

California Tax FoundationA $4 billion-per-year tax on sweetened beverages (AB 138) is the largest tax documented in the Tax and Fee Report, which is based on higher taxes, fees, assessments and charges proposed from the first day of the legislative session (December 3, 2018) through the bill introduction deadline (February 22, 2019). During this period, lawmakers introduced 2,721 bills and constitutional amendments, including 40 that contained higher taxes or fees.

Another bill (SB 522) proposes an as-yet-unspecified sales tax on services that likely would be much higher than the soda tax. The estimated cost of SB 522 was not included in the report’s cumulative total because it will vary dramatically based on what provisions are amended into the bill. A similar proposal from the prior legislative session was estimated to cost taxpayers as much as $49 billion per year.

Several taxes and fees were amended into bills after the period covered by this report, and will be included in the second-quarter update. These include a proposed estate tax that the author says would cost taxpayers $500 million to $1 billion per year (SB 378), and a proposal for various tax-like “fees” on water users that does not yet have a fiscal impact estimate (AB 217).

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation totaling $200 million in new annual taxes and fees. In January, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a $209 billion state budget that includes almost $20 billion in reserve accounts, and calls for a $7.6 billion increase in spending over the enacted 2018-19 budget.

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