This past weekend, Republican Young Kim and Democrat Gil Cisneros, candidates for the seat being vacated by longtime GOP officeholder Ed Royce, debated key issues on Inside OC hosted by Rick Reiff. The 39th district straddles three counties and includes Fullerton. To watch the show, click on the image above or click here. [EDITOR'S NOTE: See the report last week on the recording session by reporter Thy Vo on the Voice of OC website.]
By Jon Coupal| Thanks to Proposition 13, property tax bills are less scary in California than they are in a lot of other states. Homeowners in Illinois and New Jersey, just to cite two examples, have been known to let out a blood-curdling scream when they open the tax collector’s envelope that would be right at home on the soundtrack of a Jamie Lee Curtis movie.
Proposition 13 limits increases in a property’s assessed value to 2 percent per year and provides property owners with a pretty good idea of what their tax bill will be before they open the envelope.
Still, there can be some surprises. Taxpayers should understand the various charges and check the tax bill to make sure they’re not being assessed for more than they’re legally obligated to pay. It’s a good idea to compare each year’s tax bill to the previous year’s bill.
For most California counties, the property tax bill will show three categories of charges. They are the General Tax Levy, Voted Indebtedness and Direct Assessments.
39th Congressional District candidates Young Kim (R) and Gil Cisneros (D) traded barbs during a debate on the Inside OC show hosted by Rick Reiff which aired last Sunday on PBS. Both are vying to replace Rep. Ed Royce (R), who has served in the House since 1993. The debate will air again this Sunday on PBS. Read the story by reporter Thy Vo on the Voice of OC website.
[FULL DISCLOSURE: Editor Jack Dean ran against Ed Royce in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998.]
Steven Malanga and Dan DiSalvo of the Manhattan Institute join John Stossel to talk about America’s underfunded government-pension systems—the costs of which are consuming larger portions of state and city tax revenues, squeezing budgets, and limiting vital public services (as they are in Fullerton). Steve Kreisberg of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the nation’s largest government-employees union, also joins the conversation.
Even after a nearly decade-long stock-market rally, pension funds for government employees across the U.S. have never fully recovered from the 2007 financial meltdown. Governments have increased annual pension contributions by 90% to help make up for it, but as Malanga notes in City Journal, a recent report estimated that “at the end of fiscal 2017, state government pensions nationwide were only 70 percent funded, down from 87 percent in 2007.”
Most media coverage of the pension crisis focuses on states in the worst condition: California, Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey. But the majority of pension funds are heading in the wrong direction, even in states like Colorado and in some Texas cities.
The bottom line: an alarming number of states and cities (such as Fullerton) are ill-prepared to withstand the next market downturn. Without reform, the gap between what governments owe retirees and the money that public-pension funds have on hand could grow so large that the whole system could face collapse.
[NOTE: Editor Jack Dean has spent the past 14 years monitoring this slowly-escalating crisis on a daily basis on his website PensionTsunami.com.]
KFI Radio talk show hosts John and Ken will be broadcasting live today from 2-6:00 pm from Active Auto Body on the border of Fullerton and Anaheim. The address is 94 East Orangethorpe Avenue (see map below); it’s right next to the Big 5 sporting goods store with plenty of parking. (Why Active Auto Body?)
Carl DeMaio and the ‘Yes on 6′ crew will be there all afternoon handing out ‘YES on Prop 6′ signs and banners.
There will be a PBS Frontline episode tonight on “the role of state governments and Wall Street in driving America’s public pensions into a multi-trillion-dollar hole.” It concentrates on Kentucky and examines “the broader consequences for teachers, police, firefighters and other public employees everywhere.” Here is the trailer:
CSUF is hosting a 4th Supervisorial District Candidate Forum this Thursday, October 25, from 6:00-7:30 pm featuring Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee and La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw. The event will be free, but parking will cost you $8.00.
WHERE: California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), Titan Student Union, 800 North State College Blvd (see map below).
For more information contact: Jeanne Tran <jetran@Fullerton.edu>
By Jon Coupal | This column has, over the last several years, exposed multiple examples of government entities using taxpayer dollars for political advocacy, a practice that is clearly illegal under both state and federal law. The free speech clauses of the federal and state Constitutions prohibit the use of governmentally compelled monetary contributions (including taxes) to support or oppose political campaigns since “Such contributions are a form of speech, and compelled speech offends the First Amendment.” Smith v. U.C. Regents (1993) 4 Cal.4th 843, 852.
Moreover, “use of the public treasury to mount an election campaign which attempts to influence the resolution of issues which our Constitution leaves to the ‘free election’ of the people (see Const., art. II, § 2) … presents a serious threat to the integrity of the electoral process.” Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206, 218.
While taxpayer organizations have been successful in several lawsuits involving these illegal expenditures, that hasn’t stopped either the state or local governments from continuing to push the envelope into political advocacy. However, there is a secondary legal issue that may actually prove to be more effective when government engages in political advocacy. Beyond the First Amendment implications, California has a strict regimen of campaign finance laws and regulations. These laws both limit a wide range of political contributions and impose strict reporting requirements. Thus, when government agencies engage in illegal political activity under First Amendment grounds, unless they have reported the costs of the activities to the FPPC as campaign contributions, they have violated separate campaign finance laws as well.
In March 2017, Los Angeles County placed Measure H, a sales tax for homeless programs, on the ballot. Whatever one may think of the need for higher taxes — for homeless programs or any other purpose — the county’s use of nearly a million dollars of public funds for the political campaign unquestionably crossed the line into political advocacy.