FROM Dan Walters
Are Tax Cuts the Key to Economic Growth? You can call California the conservative media’s piñata. It gets smacked over and over again about its so-called anti-business climate, high taxes and an overall liberal mantra.
Work Permits and the Politics of Immigration It's the summer harvest season in California, and farmers are facing a problem that's all too familiar: undocumented workers are needed to pick the crops. Temporary "guest worker" programs were once used to bring labor from other countries… but not anymore. Now, the workers already live here. Dan Walters is a syndicated columnist for the Sacramento Bee.
Which Bills Passed, Which Didn’t and What’s Still to Come The latest two-year legislative session is scheduled to end this week. Senators, Assembly members and Governor Brown are all looking ahead to the November election. One veteran observer says most of what he calls “big public policy issues have given way to conflicts among moneyed interests.” He’s Dan Walters, syndicated columnist with the Sacramento Bee.
State Senator Yee's Inditement Latest Blow to Sacramento Dems Leland Yee , who lives in San Francisco, represents parts of the Bay Area in the State Senate. He's also a candidate in this year's statewide election to be Secretary of State. Today, Yee was arrested on charges of corruption by FBI agents, who handcuffed him and took him away. Dan Walters is a syndicated political columnist for the Sacramento Bee .
Calderon Leaves California Senate amid Corruption Charges Last week, LA Democrat Rod Wright was granted a leave of absence from the State Senate. He's been convicted on eight counts of perjury and voter fraud. Yesterday, another LA Democrat, Ron Calderon, took a paid leave. He's charged with 24 counts of bribery and other crimes. That means the Democrats will no longer have the two-thirds majority needed to pass some bills without support from Republicans. Dan Walters is a syndicated columnist for the Sacramento Bee .
Elected Officials, Their 'Domiciles' and the Districts They Represent It's common knowledge among political junkies that local, state and federal officials don't live in their districts, even though they have to swear under oath that they do. Not all of them are prosecuted. The latest exception is Los Angeles Democrat Rod Wright, who could face eight years in prison after conviction of eight felonies , including voter fraud and perjury.
Al Jazeera, the FBI and a Political Dynasty in California A 124-page FBI affidavit describes the details of an elaborate sting operation, with agents setting up a fake Hollywood film company and paying State Senator Ron Calderon for legislative favors in Sacramento. The document is still officially sealed, but it was uncovered by investigative reporters for Al Jazeera America.
The Future of Renewable Energy in California Google is investing 94 million dollars in solar plants in Northern California, but will other companies follow suit? California’s leading the nation in dealing with climate change—but that’s driving up the cost of electrical power. Will higher energy cost drive new investment out of state—including the money needed to fund more alternative sources?
Politics and Finance in a World-Class Economy With a majority vote in the legislature, Democrats can pass a budget, but Republicans can prevent the two-thirds required to raise taxes. The failure to come up with a balanced plan by last week's constitutional deadline means that Senators and Assembly members are not being paid. Now the Democrats and Governor Brown have agreed on a plan based in part on revenues that might never materialize. Most of the cuts to social services were made a couple of months ago. But they could go deeper. If the economy doesn't provide the new revenues the budget depends on, K-12 education will be allowed to drop one week of school. Is this really a state too poor to pay its bills, or is this all about politics? We hear more about what the new budget could mean for the quality of life in California.
Redrawing Congressional Districts in California On Friday, California's Citizens Redistricting Commission , created by voters, will make public 153 maps for new Assembly, Senate and Congressional districts. Preliminary drafts will be displayed on the group's website on Friday, June 10. What kind of changes are in store for LA?
Poll Finds Support among Californians for Tax Increases Governor Brown appears to have changed the political atmosphere in California. Just last November , 44 percent of the people polled by the LA Times and USC's Dornsife College of Letters said they wanted the state's massive deficit reduced by spending cuts alone. Now, that's dropped to just 33 percent ; and 60 percent -- Republicans as well as Democrats — want the election Brown has called for, with the option of combining spending cuts with increases in income, sales and vehicle taxes.
Backdoor Plan to Get Tax Extensions on the Ballot? Only a week remains to qualify a June ballot measure that would let state voters decide if tax increases should be extended to prevent doubling the $12.5 billion in budget cuts Governor Jerry Brown has already proposed. Now, the Governor has found an alternative that Democrats could enact by themselves, even though it might sound like another "gimmick." Dan Walters, syndicated columnist for the Sacramento Bee , has been following the story.
Pensions and Politics, from LA to Sacramento Jerry Brown did something today that Governors almost never do. He testified before a joint legislative committee hearing on the state budget, delivering stern lectures to both political parties. We hear about that and about pension reform at the state level.
Jerry Brown: The Budget and Education Public schools, colleges and universities are already reeling after years of multi-billion dollar reductions. But the over-all budget gap will soon be $28 billion. At Jerry Brown's budget forum yesterday at UCLA, the Governor-elect discussed the dilemma with David Sanchez, President of the California Teachers' Association. The CTA President lamented that after all the budget cuts to K-12, "no more meat on this bone to carve, all that is left is amputation." Brown agreed that one wants to close schools, but reminded that no one wants to raise taxes either, and said it falls to him to bring people together to ensure the future of California.
Could Jerry Brown Get the 'Fishhook'? The latest Field Poll shows Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown tied at 41% in the closest race for Governor since 1990. To win statewide in a state where Democrats have a 13-point lead in registration, Republican’s need “the Fishhook,” and Whitman just might have it, according to Dan Walters, syndicated columnist for the Sacramento Bee .
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.