New website launched to help recall Sen. Josh Newman

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has launched a new website — FireJoshNewman.com — dedicated to recalling tax-raising state Senator Josh Newman, who voted for new gas and car taxes on California motorists that will amount to $5.2 billion annually.

Recall Josh NewmanThe major goal of the Newman recall is to end the Democrats’ two-thirds supermajority and stop the mad rush for tax increases currently under way in Sacramento.

According to HJTA, in just the first four months of the legislative session Sacramento politicians have proposed $155 billion in new taxes. And that doesn’t count the $200 billion annual tax increase built into their $400 billion single-payer healthcare plan.

If you live in Newman’s district you can help by signing the recall petition and telling your friends and neighbors about it (see map of district).

The 29th Senate District, which Newman represents, includes the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Chino Hills, City of Industry, Cypress, Diamond Bar, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Placentia, Rowland Heights, Stanton, Walnut, West Covina, and Yorba Linda.

Note that you MUST live in one of the cities above for your petition signature to count.

Click here to sign the recall petition.

 

Posted in 29th State Senate District, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Josh Newman, Recall | Comments Off

Single-payer bill could bankrupt California

This is the greatest case of fiscal malpractice in the state’s history

By Marc Joffe | The state Senate’s vote to pass Ricardo Lara’s single-payer healthcare bill last week was a singular act of fiscal malpractice. By failing to control costs and access to the program – and by leaving unanswered how or whether federal funds could be leveraged – Lara’s Healthy California Act amounts to a blank check for hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies on the state Treasury, a blank check that could well bounce once it’s presented to Sacramento.

While there are many reasons to dislike the concept of single-payer health coverage generally, the fact is that it can be made to work on some level. The United Kingdom and Canadian provinces have implemented forms of single-payer coverage, without causing a fiscal meltdown and while achieving acceptable life expectancies (although both systems suffer from long waits for certain medical services).

Marc JoffeBut the UK and Canada accomplish this outcome through cost controls missing from Lara’s bill. For example, these systems do not normally provide free healthcare to undocumented residents. To qualify for Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan one must not only live in Ontario but must also be a Canadian citizen or legal resident. The province recommends that visitors purchase private medical insurance. The UK National Health Service also has provisions to charge individuals who are not legal permanent residents.

By contrast, Lara’s bill provides free healthcare to any “individual whose primary place of abode is in the state, without regard to the individual’s immigration status.” With healthcare costs now averaging about $10,000 per capita, the state’s free healthcare will create a strong incentive for people to come to California illegally or overstay their visas.

And this incentive is not limited to foreigners; individuals from other states diagnosed with expensive medical conditions could legally move to California, establish residency and start obtaining free medical care. Although the bill does not define what would be required to establish residency, the published criteria for getting a California driver’s license – a potential model – are quite lenient. If that is the standard, one would merely need to produce a lease and a voter registration postcard to qualify.

The UK and Canadian systems also limit the types of care eligible for coverage. As I discussed in a March 2017 article for The Fiscal Times, the UK National Health Service generally does not provide mammograms for women under 50, does not offer routine colonoscopies and does not cover circumcisions for newborn boys. In Ontario, the government dropped coverage for eye exams, chiropractic treatments and physiotherapy in 2004.

By contrast, the Healthy California Act proposes to cover “all medical care determined to be medically appropriate by the member’s healthcare provider.” Further, plan members “shall not be required to pay any premium, copayment, coinsurance, deductible, and any other form of cost sharing for all covered benefits.”

Although the bill claims to create “a healthcare cost-control system,” it does not contain any specific cost control provisions. There is no gatekeeper charged with saying “no,  this test, procedure or medication should not be covered.” With patients paying nothing out of pocket and health providers getting reimbursed for whatever they recommend, the incentives for overtreatment are strong.

Indeed, the bill shreds privately implemented cost controls that have proven themselves over decades. Kaiser Permanente, operating since 1945, covers 8.5 million Californians through a system of managed care. Kaiser generally provides all healthcare services to its members, charging them a flat annual insurance fee and copays for physician visits. This gives Kaiser both the ability and incentive to restrict unnecessary or redundant treatment. As a result, Kaiser provides high-quality care at low cost: that’s what makes it a national model.

Lara’s bill tosses out this model. With the state taking over all medical payments, Kaiser would be obliged to become a “fee for service” provider if it wanted to continue operating in California. The legislation would thus force more than 20% of Californians out of a system that effectively controls cost to the mainstream U.S. approach that has led to the world’s highest healthcare expenditures.

Single-payer advocates often emphasize the opportunity to save money by eliminating insurance company profits. But Kaiser is not-for-profit, as is Blue Shield, which covers another four million California residents.

Also, insurance company profits don’t necessarily increase health costs – if these profits are offset by cost savings. For example, the Mexican health insurance company SIMNSA offers California health insurance plans that use providers across the border in Tijuana and Mexicali. Because healthcare in Mexico is so much less expensive than it is in the U.S., the carrier can save customers money while making a profit. Cross-border insurance arrangements like the one offered by SIMNSA would also be wiped out by Lara’s bill.

While other insurance providers may not be able to offer the unique product SIMNSA provides, all have an incentive to control costs, by, for example, limiting fraudulent claims. By contrast, the nation’s main single-payer system, Medicare, is racked by fraudulent and other improper payments.

By removing cost-control incentives and providing first-dollar coverage to all comers, the Healthy California Act is likely to cost well above the $400 billion mentioned in a Senate Appropriation Committee report.

There’s another risk – that California would not be able to fully leverage the $200 billion in federal funds now devoted to California healthcare. Most federal healthcare spending in California is related to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California, is administered by states with federal matching funds under federal guidelines. States can request waivers from the federal Medicaid guidelines under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. Any program waivers must not increase federal spending and are issued at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The odds of obtaining a Medicaid waiver appear low as long as Republicans control the White House. Since Medicare is solely administered by the federal government, there’s no such thing as a state Medicare waiver.

If California Democrats were serious about implementing a cost-effective single-payer system, they would work with Congressional Republicans to make federal funding more flexible. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House gives states the option of receiving a block grant in lieu of Medicaid matching funds and provides each state with new funding to stabilize their insurance markets. If these state subsidies were further expanded and made less restrictive, it would be easier to integrate the federal funds into a state single-payer system.

But Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats have expressed no interest in working with the GOP. Indeed, they made an especially ironic criticism of the AHCA process – excoriating House Republicans for passing the bill before the Congressional Budget Office had an opportunity to update its budgetary score.  In the end, CBO found that AHCA would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over 10 years, somewhat less than the previously scored revision of the bill.

By contrast, Ricardo Lara did not ask the California Legislative Analyst’s Office to score his bill, even though an initial guestimate suggests that it would balloon state spending by $200 billion per year, or more than $2 trillion over the normal 10-year budget window used by CBO.

The state Senate has passed a bill that, if it becomes law, will have the largest fiscal impact in the history of California, and it will do so without having an objective body of budget experts review the legislation. Given this lack of oversight and the aforementioned risk of serious cost overruns, the Senate’s ratification of Healthy California is the greatest case of fiscal malpractice in the state’s history – and one that threatens to flatline our state’s budget and economy.

[Cross-posted from the California Policy Center.]

 

Posted in California Legislature, Health Care costs, Marc Joffe | Comments Off

Prison unions punish California taxpayers

By Steven Greenhut | If you ever wondered what’s wrong with California’s state government, then mull over this simple example: While California cuts its prison population and staff, it’s increasing the amount of money it spends to operate its massive prison system.

Steven GreenhutIn the private sector, a decline in the number of “customers” and workers would mean lower overhead. But in state government – or, at least, this state government – the opposite is true. The higher costs are driven by escalating pay and benefit packages negotiated by unions that represent prison guards and other staff. It’s an example of how powerful public-sector unions keep the state from getting spending under control, even when the need for such spending plummets.

That example comes from a new report by the Vera Institute for Justice. “(D)espite a decline in both its prison population and the number of prison staff, California’s prison spending rose $560 million between 2010 and 2015, primarily because salary, pension and other employee and retiree benefits continued to increase, also a result of union-negotiated increases,” explained the New York-based think tank that promotes criminal-justice reform.

California is unusual from a national perspective, per the report. Thirteen states have reduced prison populations since 2010, but they’ve also cut their prison spending by $1.6 billion. Seven states have increased their populations, but have managed to decrease their prison spending, (by $254 million). Fifteen states have increased their prison populations and also increased their total prison spending by a half-billion dollars.

California is in an ignominious group of 10 states that saw declines in the prison population since 2010, but which increased spending by $1.1 billion. Furthermore, California’s spending increase accounts for more than half of that number. California has by far the costliest system of incarceration in the nation at more than $75,000 per inmate per year – more than triple the average cost of the 18 states with the least-costly rates.

Regardless of one’s views on prison-reform issues, it’s clear that California gets far less bang for its buck than other states. The savings could go to other parts of the criminal-justice bureaucracy, or to other programs or, heaven forbid, back to taxpayers. Instead, the money goes to maintain a system that isn’t changing to reflect new realities.

Read the rest of this column on the California Policy Center website . . .

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Watch last night’s city council meeting

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Mayor Bruce Whitaker interviewed by Charter Communications

Last week, Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker was interviewed on Charter Communications’ “Local Edition” show by anchor Brad Pomerance:

 

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Tomorrow night’s city council meeting agenda

To read or download tomorrow night’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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The California caste system

By Jon Coupal | After the Legislature imposed billions of dollars in new car and gas taxes on Californians last month, a friend emailed me to register his disappointment and disgust: “It’s like we live in an apartheid society where the politically powerful live in luxury and laugh at the working people of our state.”

Sadly, his point is accurate. The separation between the ruling class and the rest of Californians is becoming more extreme by the day. So much so, in fact, that California is beginning to resemble a society based on a caste system, meaning a formal structure of social stratification (usually associated with India) deriving from the hereditary division of the population into the highest caste (Brahmins) and various castes below.

Jon CoupalCalifornia’s high cast Brahmins reside primarily in coastal enclaves including the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara, Malibu and the west side of Los Angeles but they are also numerous in the Silicon Valley and Hollywood. These elites tend to be high income or wealthy and can afford to separate themselves from the trials and tribulations suffered by average citizens. This immunity from “real world” problems allows them to obsess about issues like bathroom access, climate change or the president’s hair. They lack respect or compassion for less fortunate citizens and, if truth be known, they find those outside their caste to be annoying.

And a gas tax? This tax to them is nothing when they can avoid paying it by plugging in their $120,000, taxpayer subsidized Teslas. And if their cars do run on gas, they never even bother to check the price. These are folks who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Walmart.

Next in the caste hierarchy are the politicians and members of government employee unions. While the Brahmans may help to elect the politicians, as do the unions, this second tier caste is much less secure because they still have to scrounge for financial advantage. The unions — representing the highest compensated state and local workers in all 50 states — are constantly seeking more pay and benefits. And because the politicians are constantly trying to consolidate and expand their influence, they establish a symbiotic relationship with the unions to keep campaign contributions rolling in that guarantee reelection.

Read the entire column in the Orange County Register . . .

 

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

The Newman Recall has collected more than half the signatures needed

An email update just arrived from Carl DeMaio:

Despite the terrible bullying and harassment our campaign workers have been subjected to by Gov. Jerry Brown’s team, I’m thrilled to report that after only three weeks we have collected more than HALF of the signatures we need to put the recall of state Senator Josh Newman on the ballot. Over 35,000 signatures have been submitted to the Registrar of Voters’ offices in Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties – which cover Newman’s district.

Read the full story here.

This weekend we will deploy nearly 200 college students and volunteers to collect more signatures and deal with the “goon squads” Brown and Newman are paying to impede signature collection.

With the amazing progress we are making, for once it looks like we have the grassroots support to actually win against the forces of Sacramento.  This recall will end the super-majority of Democratic tax-raisers in the Legislature and will give us the momentum to repeal the car and gas tax hikes with a statewide initiative.

The campaign will hold the following events this weekend:

WHAT: Signature Collection Deployment Rally of College Students

WHEN: Rally Saturday, June 3 at 8am-9am – various shifts on Sat & Sun

WHERE: 4901 Main Street, Yorba Linda

Get your friends to sign up at StopTheCarTax.org or make a contribution here.

Posted in 29th State Senate District, Carl DeMaio, Josh Newman, Taxes | 7 Comments

UPDATE on Newman Recall: Signature gatherers being harassed

Yesterday on KFI Radio, talk show hosts John and Ken got an update on the progress of the recall campaign from Carl DeMaio — the talk show host on KOGO Radio who is spearheading the effort. It’s about 10 minutes:

From Carl DeMaio:

Governor Jerry Brown and his political allies are using paid “goon squads” to harass citizens collecting signatures to stop the car and gas tax hikes.

Even worse, the Governor’s team is encouraging individuals to make false reports to local police departments!

The harassment is occurring as Phase 1 of the campaign to roll back the car and gas tax hikes is already under with the Recall Initiative filed against State Senator Josh Newman – the deciding vote in approving the car and gas tax hikes.

Over 63,500 signatures must be collected within a set time frame in order for the citizens to trigger a special election.

Official state campaign disclosure reports show Governor Brown’s political team has transferred $100,000 in the past week and has hired out-of-state “blockers” to target volunteer signature gatherers.

The blocking tactics include showing up in front of stores where people are gathering signatures and yelling at signature gatherers and anyone who shows interest in signing the petition.

Over Memorial Day weekend, “goon squads” of 6-8 people showed up at each store to square off against signature gatherers standing by themselves in front of the store.

Worse, the Governor’s Goon Squads are actually encouraging call local police departments with phony tails of misconduct in an effort to get police to ask signature gatherers to leave stores and neighborhoods where they are walking door-to-door.

“If you have time today, please call your local police station (non-emergency line) and voice your concern over the harassing and over aggressive Recall Josh Newman petitions that you experience as you shop,” reads the post.

The only aggressive behavior at the stores is not coming from the little old lady collecting signatures to stop the gas tax hike by recalling Newman. The harassing and aggressive behavior is coming from the goon squads of blockers.

Since 1910, California citizens have held the cherished constitutional right of the initiative and recall to keep politicians in check. The Initiative and Recall process allows citizens to overturn decisions of politicians by forcing issues on the ballot for a public vote.

“Bullying and harassment should have no place in our democracy,” says DeMaio who is helping lead the campaign against the gas tax.

“Governor Brown and his allies should be ashamed of this despicable tactic of harassing signature gatherers and campaign workers who are simply exercising their constitutional rights of initiative and recall,” continues DeMaio.

“Brown and his bullies are clearly afraid of the voters having a say on these tax hikes by placing the issue on the ballot,” notes DeMaio.

DeMaio and his campaign have redoubled their efforts to collect signatures and will be submitting the first batch of signatures within the next week.

Want to volunteer? Go to BlockTheGasTax.com

Posted in 29th State Senate District, Carl DeMaio, Jon and Ken Show / KFI Radio, Recall, 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*
June2, 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

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