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THE NOONER for September 1, 2011

[jump to the headlines]

DISTRICT UPDATES

  • CD32: Removed Roger Hernandez (D) as a candidate
  • AD48: Added Roger Hernandez (D) as a candidate
  • AD49: Removed Henry Lo (DTS) as a candidate
  • AD59: Added Greg Akili (D) as a candidate

DRIVING THE CONVO: AMAZON, SOLYNDRA, JOBS AND TAX BREAKS
The Bee reports on the buzz du jour--Amazon.com is offering to drop its referendum and locate 7,000 distribution jobs in California in exchange for a two-year moratorium on online sales tax collection. Retailers and political consultants hate the idea, but legislators find it awfully tempting. Members head home next Friday and desparately want to have an action related to "job creation" that they can tout on the stump. And, despite Jon Fleischman's tepid endorsement, it's unlikely the single sales factor tax swap is going to make it through at this point.

So, the deal is essentially dropping an ugly ballot fight and promising 7,000 jobs in exchange for around a $630 million tax holiday. Well, that's a pretty small add-on to the growing budget shortfall, so why not?

Well, there's an additional complication to the wariness of Democrats, who are frequently suspicious of tax credits for specific industries (except the film industry), and that's the bankruptcy of Solyndra. The solar panel manufacturing company yesterday announced that it was shutting its doors and laying off 1,100 employees at its Fremont manufacturing plant. That would normally just be another ugly story in the business section with which we are all too familiar.

However, the big story is that, aside from vaporizing $1.1 billion in venture capital, Solyndra burned through $535 million in loans guaranteed by the federal government to stimulate green jobs.  And, the company also earned sales tax credits believed to be worth up $24 million through the passage of SB 71 in 2010 (although it's unclear how much it actually used). 

Less than two years ago, Arnold Schwarzanegger and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu dug in their shovels for the groundbreaking of Solyndra's monstrous manufacturing building next to I-880.  Joe Biden appeared by video to say "These are jobs that won't be exported."

Solyndra's demise makes the seemingly "easy" Amazon deal a bit more complicated, and gives us more drama to follow in the remaining days of session.

QUICK CHANGE: A day after Grace Napolitano declared she was running for CD32, Assemblymember Roger Hernandez declared that he was redirecting his ambition from Congress to reelection. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez then announced she was running for CD38.  Sanchez cousin and El Monte Councilmember Norma Macias, however, hasn't yet bowed out of CD32, telling the Whittier News "We're certainly not going to drop out now that she's decided to run."

Meanwhile, ladies and gents, we have some new laws:

  • AB 110 by Assemblymember Robert Blumenfield (D-Van Nuys) – Courts.
  • AB 139 by Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles) – State claims.
  • AB 434 by Assemblymember Dan Logue (R-Chico) – County penalties: forensic laboratories.
  • AB 1300 by Assemblymember Robert Blumenfield (D-Van Nuys) – Medical marijuana.
  • SB 24 by Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) – Personal information: privacy.
  • SB 207 by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) – State claims.
  • SB 514 by Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) – Dextromethorphan: sale to minors prohibited.
  • SB 636 by Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) – Personal information: Internet disclosure prohibition.
  • SB 796 by Senator Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) – State hospitals: prohibited items: misdemeanor penalty.

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On to the headines...

Senate Approves Bill To Create Watchdog For National Guard - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
The Senate today approved legislation to give the governor the power to appoint an independent inspector general to oversee the California Military Department.

Amazon Offers Jobs To Avert Ballot Showdown Over Tax - Dale Kasler and Torey Van Oot @ sacbee.com
Amazon.com is offering to bring thousands of jobs to California as it tries to back away from a ballot-box confrontation over the state's new Internet sales tax law.

Bill Approved To Allow Illegal Immigrants On Paid Campus Boards - Dan Smith @ blogs.sacbee.com
The Assembly today sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants eligible for resident fees at CSU or community colleges to be compensated for student government positions they hold.

Gov. Jerry Brown Gives Cities Power Over Pot Shops - latimesblogs.latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown stepped in the middle of a dispute over the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries, signing a law Wedesday that gives Los Angeles and other cities clear authority to restrict their location and operation.

Jerry Brown Poised To Take On Pensions - Jon Ortiz @ sacbee.com
As the Capitol gears up for another round of budget talks, word is that Brown also plans to put forward a pension agenda for next year. He's been circumspect about the details, although recent history hints at his plans.

We've Got The New Details: Obama's September Silicon Valley, La Jolla Fundraisers : Politics Blog - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
Talk about running hard: President Barack Obama -- who plans a 3-state, 3-day Western swing later this month -- will headline two big Silicon Valley fundraising events, and a toney...

Lawmakers: Gov't Didn't Do Enough For Solyndra - Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
At least two local lawmakers say the layoff of 1,100 workers and bankruptcy of Fremont-based Solyndra – a solar cell manufacturing company held up as a paragon of California’s burgeoning green economy by politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barbara Boxer and Barack Obama – is because government hasn’t done enough.

Court clarifies Schwarzenegger's furlough order - JUDY LIN, Associated Press @ signonsandiego.com
An appeals court has ruled in favor of a decision by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to furlough about 15,000 employees of elected statewide officers during the height of California's budget crisis.

Amazon offers jobs to avert ballot showdown over tax - Dale Kasler and Torey Van Oot @ sacbee.com
Amazon.com is offering to bring thousands of jobs to California as it tries to back away from a ballot-box confrontation over the state's new Internet sales tax law.

Flash Advises GOP: Trade Biz Tax Break For Tax Cuts - Jon Fleischman @ calbuzz.com
Last week Gov. Jerry Brown introduced a so-called “job creation package” — the substance of which was to eliminate a current tax break called the “single sales factor” — which would score around a billion dollars of additional revenue to state coffers, which Brown then proposed be used to provide sales tax exemptions to manufacturers, and to politically attractive types of businesses — biotech, software, and clean energy.

GOP Sees Politics In Timing Of Obama Speech - Michael A. Memoli @ latimes.com
The White House says it's "coincidental" that President Obama 's planned address to Congress next Wednesday conflicts with a debate for GOP presidential candidates.

Senate Approves Bill For National Guard Oversight - sacbee.com
The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to give the governor the power to appoint an independent inspector general to oversee the California Military Department.

Amazon offers plan to avert ballot showdown over tax - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
Amazon.com is offering to bring 7,000 distribution center jobs to California in order to ward off a ballot-box fight over the state's new Internet sales tax, sources with knowledge of the talks said today.

Chant Of 'Tax The Rich' Growing Louder In Nation - Carla Marinucci @ sfgate.com
Billionaire Warren Buffett may not seem to have much in common with angry laborers at town hall meetings or armies of California nurses protesting in the streets. But these days, the executive celebrity in his boardroom...

Viewpoints: Gay marriage fight headed for another round in the courts - sacbee.com
Before it's all over, the battles over same-sex marriage in California, now focused on Proposition 8, may enrich as many lawyers and take the time of as many judges as any legal issue in the state's history.

Bill to regulate California health insurance rates stalls - Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
A controversial push to give state regulators the power to reject proposed increases in health insurance rates has stalled in the state Senate.

Waste Connections Threatens To Move To Texas - Rick Daysog @ sacbee.com
Citing a tough "business climate" and a "dysfunctional" state Legislature, the largest publicly traded company in the Sacramento area said it may relocate to Texas.

Last-minute Proposals Introduced In Legislature - Brian Joseph, Timothy Sandoval and Ramon Solis @ totalbuzz.ocregister.com
With time ticking away on this year’s legislative session, state lawmakers have started the annual ritual of introducing last-minute proposals of potentially major impact.

‘open Carry’ Ban Bill’s Author Says It’s Not Dead - ibabuzz.com
By Josh Richman Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 12:18 pm in Anthony Portantino, Assembly, California State Senate, gun control, Public safety.

Editorial: Furlough remains part of the tool bag - sacbee.com
The 3rd District Court of Appeal this week did the state a favor. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the furlough order former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued in 2008 was valid and that it properly applies to the state's constitutional officers.

Legislative Analyst issues summary of labor contract provisions - Jon Ortiz @ blogs.sacbee.com
The Legislative Analyst's Office has issued a webcast and handout summarizing the major provisions of collective bargaining agreeements that lawmakers ratified in fiscal 2010-11.