HJTA files suit over illegal CalSavers program

Today the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed suit in U.S. District Court against California’s so-called “CalSavers,” an illegal program that leaves taxpayers, businesses and private sector employees exposed to unnecessary costs and risks. Originally called “Secure Choice,” CalSavers is a state-run retirement plan for private-sector employees.

CalSavers“The program is facially invalid under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which has preempted the area of private-sector retirement plans,” said HJTA president Jon Coupal.

The lawsuit, which named as defendants both the program and State Treasurer John Chiang as administrator, seeks a declaration that Secure Choice is invalid under the Federal Supremacy Clause. The lawsuit also seeks an injunction authorized under California law for illegal expenditure of taxpayer funds (California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 526a).

State-run efforts to establish new retirement systems for private-sector employees like California’s CalSavers program were the specific target of a federal law under the Congressional Review Act enacted last year and signed into law by President Trump.

“Congress has made it crystal clear that the CalSavers program and other similar programs adopted by a handful of other states are illegal under ERISA,” said Coupal. Those programs, which were relying on a President Obama era regulation which ostensibly provided a fig leaf of legitimacy, now have no legal cover whatsoever.”

He added, “There is no need for this program. Private employees already have access to Social Security which is backed by the Full Faith and Credit of the federal government. Moreover, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are easy to set up. Given the poor performance of CalPERS and CalSTRS, both in terms of investment performance and governance, why would we give state politicians and bureaucrats access to another pension program?”

The state defendants have 21 days to answer the complaint.

Posted in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal | Comments Off

June 5th council meeting start moved up to 5:00 pm

According to a press release posted on the city’s website by public information coordinator Stephen Hale, the June 5th council meeting will begin at 5:00 pm instead of its usual 6:30 start time. The release explains:

The adjustment is being made to accommodate the June 5th Statewide Primary Election.

In order to maximize discussion time on items such as the city budget and other relevant topics of city business, the Fullerton City Council will not have a closed session on June 5th, instead starting the open session at 5:00 p.m. instead of the normal 6:30 p.m. start time. This change will be to the June 5th City Council Special Regular Meeting only and will resume 6:30 p.m. start times at the June 19th meeting.

Fullerton City Council meetings can be viewed in person at the Council Chambers in Fullerton City Hall (map), on the Public Access Channel or via the City of Fullerton website.

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Battle over gas-tax hike intensifies

By Dan Walters, CALmatters | A measure to repeal California’s hefty new increases in taxes and fees on motorists, more than $5 billion a year, is awaiting signature verification for a place on November’s ballot.

However, it’s already an issue in some June 5 election contests—especially in a recall effort aimed at state Sen. Josh Newman. The Fullerton Democrat took a seat away from Republicans two years ago and now is being accused of betraying constituents by voting for the tax and fee legislation, Senate Bill 1, last year.

Polls indicate that the new levies, including a 12-cent-per-gallon hike in gas taxes, are not popular with most voters. The state Republican Party is sponsoring the repeal measure, as well as backing the Newman recall effort, to leverage that disdain.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Posted in 29th State Senate District, Dan Walters, Gas Tax, Josh Newman, Recall, SB 1 | Comments Off

John and Ken to hold final ‘Recall Josh Newman Rally’ tomorrow

KFI Radio talk show hosts John and Ken will be holding a final pre-election ‘Recall Josh Newman Rally’ at the Ayres Hotel in Orange (click here for map) tomorrow, Wednesday, May 30, from 2:00-6:00 pm.

Or if you can’t attend, you can listen to the show live here:

Posted in 29th State Senate District, John and Ken Show, Josh Newman, Recall | Comments Off

Fullerton City Hall is closed today to observe Memorial Day

The city’s 80th Memorial Day Observance will be held at 10:00 am at Loma Vista Memorial Park, 701 E. Bastanchury Road (click for map).

City Hall Closure Dates and
Observed Holidays

January –1*, 12, 26
February – 9, 19*, 23
March – 9, 23
April – 6, 20
May – 4, 18, 28*
June – 1, 15, 29
July – 4*, 13, 27
August – 10, 24
September – 3*, 7, 21
October – 5, 19
November – 2, 11*, 16, 22*, 23*,30
December – 14, 24*, 25*, 26^,27^, 28, 31*

*Holiday observed
^Winter Closure

Fullerton City Hall

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Progressives love transparency except when they don’t

By Jon Coupal | We’ve all heard of “situational ethics.” This column is about “situational transparency,” a phenomenon among progressives who love transparency in matters of public policy, except when they hate it.

Let’s review the areas in which progressives support transparency: the salaries of CEOs, the race and gender of employees, the details of business supply chains” and, of course, extensive disclosures about campaign finance.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalBut in other matters, particularly relating to their own interests, the same people are flatly opposed to transparency. For example, progressives claim to desire disclosure of who pays for political advertising, and they backed legislation such as Assembly Bill 249, a burdensome mandate to add confusing content to political ads. It was so burdensome, in fact, that an exception was made for ads paid for by labor unions, major backers of progressive politicians.

Progressives also campaigned hard against Proposition 54, the California Legislative Transparency Act, which voters approved despite liberals’ complaints. Prop. 54 requires that bills must be posted online in their final form for at least three days before lawmakers can cast a final vote on them. Proposition 54, which the voters approved in 2016, also requires the Legislature to make video recordings of all public hearings, and it allows any member of the public to record a legislative hearing.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Posted in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal | Comments Off

Prop 68: A Yes vote is a reward for bad behavior

By Jack Humphreville | While the State of California is rolling in the dough with an $8 billion surplus as a result of increases in the State Budget to $200 billion, the spendthrift politicians in Sacramento are asking us to approve a $4.1 billion ballot measure that will help the State “protect our water, parks, and natural resources” from the impact of “severe droughts, wildfires, and climate change.”

NO on Prop 68Their efforts are backed by the usual suspects who love to wine and dine at our expense: the political establishment, the business community, the public-sector unions, the construction industry, the trade unions, and the environmentalists. They are also spending a fortune to “educate” us on the merits of this pork laden bond measure.

Unfortunately, the cost of this bond measure will double to $8 billion when you factor in the interest and underwriting expenses we will pay to Wall Street investors, traders, and investment bankers.  As a result, California taxpayers will be spending between $250 and $300 million a year for the next thirty (30) years.

A more prudent alternative is to develop a plan to fund these projects over an eight-year period.  This is not that much longer than it would take to spend the proceeds from the bond offerings.  This pay-as-you-go plan would result in payments of $500 million a year, representing a mere 0.25% of the State’s $200 billion budget.  This plan eliminates the payment of $4 billion to Wall Street investors, a substantial savings that may be used for other pressing needs such as the repair of our highways, affordable housing, housing for the homeless, and funding of the State’s pension plans.

To read the entire article, please click here.

Posted in Prop. 68, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Pernicious push polls pervert politics

By Jon Coupal | “There are lies, damn lies and statistics,” goes the old saying. It has always been true that statistics can be presented in ways that are highly deceptive and intentionally misleading.

A weekly column by Jon CoupalA Midwestern city might truthfully claim that its average temperature is a perfect 74 degrees — just like the Hawaiian Islands. It could be technically true, except that the deviation from that temperature in the sub-tropical climate isn’t very great, while the Midwestern city might swing from below freezing in the winter to triple-digit heat in the summer. That comfortable-sounding “average” is sure not the full story.

Still, for susceptibility to manipulation, statistics don’t hold a candle to polling — especially political polling. During this primary season in California, the various candidates are releasing reams of polling to show how far ahead they are of their competitors. Two different polls can show diametrically opposite results, with one candidate showing he or she is leading 80 percent to 20 percent over an opponent while the opponent might claim to be ahead by a margin of 90 to 10.

To read the entire column, please click here.

Posted in Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Jon Coupal, Political Campaigns, Polling | Comments Off

Andrew Cuomo knows what must be done about school shootings: something

None of the usual gun control proposals seems relevant to the massacre at Santa Fe High School.

By Jacob Sullum | Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, instantly knew what needed to be done in response to the shooting that killed 10 people today at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas: something.

“DO SOMETHING,” Cuomo tweeted to Donald Trump early this afternoon. Cuomo elaborated in an open letter to the president and Congress:

Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. Las Vegas. Orlando. Parkland.

And now, Santa Fe.

When is enough enough? How many more innocent people have to die before you act?

You were elected to lead — do something. Your first responsibility is to the people of this country, not the NRA — do something. My heart breaks for the families who have to grieve from this needless violence — DO SOMETHING.

Upon reflection, elaborated may be too strong a verb for what Cuomo did, which was more like repeating the same vague demand over and over again. Congress and the president must do something, preferably something that pisses off the NRA, but exactly what is not quite clear.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

One reason Cuomo was not more specific may be that none of the usual gun control ideas seems relevant to the horrifying crime committed today. The suspected shooter, a 17-year-old junior at Santa Fe High School, used a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver, so clamoring for a federal “assault weapon” ban hardly seems appropriate (assuming it ever is).

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters the guns belonged to the suspect’s father, adding, “I have no information at this time whether the father knows the weapons were taken.”

Background checks, no matter how universal or comprehensive, cannot stop a mass shooter from using firearms purchased by someone else. Nor can a higher purchase age for guns.

If the point of doing something is to make mass shootings less frequent or less deadly, it is not at all obvious what that thing should be. But if the point of doing something is to flaunt your compassion and courage while differentiating yourself from those evil bastards on the other side, almost anything will do.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a nationally syndicated columnist. This commentary was originally posted on Reason’s blog.

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Duplicitous Sen. Josh Newman speaks against transparency pricing at the gas pump, then votes FOR it when it became clear the bill would fail

By Ronald Stein | Californians now pay as much as $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country. Shouldn’t the motoring public know why?

Ronald SteinA bill in the California Legislature to do just that was Senate Bill 1074, by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa). Called “Disclosure of government-imposed costs,” it would have required gas stations to post near each gas pump a list of cost factors, such as federal, state and local taxes, costs associated with environmental rules and regulations including the cap-and-trade tax.

Numerous folks and organizations spoke in support of the bill at an April 23 hearing before the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. I testified myself. Absolutely no one from the public spoke in opposition.

But the Democratic-controlled committee didn’t want the public to know why we’re paying so much, and voted to kill the bill from future consideration.

I watched closely the action on the Senate floor.

The senator who spoke most against the bill was Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton). But when the time of the vote came and it became clear the bill would fail, he voted Aye, which could help him in his close recall election bid this June.

Newman already had enough problems on the issue because he provided the key vote last year to pass Senate Bill 1, which jacked up gas taxes $5.5 billion a year. An initiative to repeal that gouging at the gouging at the pump just submitted more than 1 million signatures and also should go before voters this November.

It’s strange that almost every other product we buy comes with the price listed on the tag, with the taxes then clearly added to the receipt: clothes, computers, cars, furniture, office supplies, books, etc.

By contrast, the price at the pump is not broken down by tax or other cost, but actually includes a multitude of taxes, as well as costs from numerous environmental regulations.

In addition to the federal tax on fuels that applies to all states, California’s state taxes are among the highest in the country. Beginning last November, SB 1 alone added 12 cents to a gallon of gasoline and 20 cents to diesel.

SB 1074 specified the multiple taxes and regulatory costs that would have to be listed: a) The federal fuel tax per gallon; b) the state fuel tax per gallon; c) the state sales tax per gallon; d) refinery reformatting costs per gallon; e) cap and trade program compliance costs per gallon; f) low-carbon fuel standard program compliance costs per gallon; and g) renewable fuels standard program compliance costs per gallon.

That’s a lot of taxes and costs.

The cap and trade costs, by the way, now are the major funding source for outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown’s favorite boondoggle, the Choo Choo train project.

The high fuel taxes impact not just drivers, but almost everything in our economy, such as the food carried to grocery stores, materials to housing construction and clothing to children’s stores. Even Amazon.com and other online retailers will charge more for shipping as their costs rise.

Especially hurt by the high cost of fuel are the working poor, who often must commute an hour or more inland because coastal housing is so expensive. Aren’t such people supposed to be a key constituency of the Democratic Party?

No wonder we now have a better understanding of why California suffers the highest percentage of people in poverty and a homeless crisis so acute it shocks the world.

SB 1074 would have given motorists information on what’s really going on. But for the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature, bliss is keeping Californians ignorant.

Ronald Stein is the founder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine. This article originally appeared on Fox & Hounds.

Posted in 29th State Senate District, Gas Tax, Josh Newman, Ronald Stein | Comments Off