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THE NOONER for March 15, 2012


  • AD75 (Escondido) - updated analysis


As looked like it would happen when I wrote yesterday's Nooner, the governor and backers of the Millionaires Tax came to an agreement yesterday to consolidate behind one ballot measure. The governor filed the new measure with the attorney general yesterday.

For tax years 2012-2019, marginal personal income tax rates for individuals would be raised as follows:

  • $250,000-300,000: 1% (to 10.3%)
  • $300,000-$500,000: 2%
  • $500,000+: 3%

The state sales tax rate would be increased by 0.25% from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2017.

The measure's language doesn't change how the funds would be distributed, leaving the Proposition 98 fight to the budget process.

The qualification effort is going to be fast, and thus likely, expensive. As Kevin Yamamura writes, he measure will probably be cleared for circulation by early April, leaving about one month to gather the signatures. I hear that the current price on the street is $1.50 for the tax measures, and a one-month effort will likely spike it over $2. Since this is a constitutional amendment requiring 807,615 valid signatures, backers will want at least 1.1 million to have a safety margin to skip a full count of signatures and ensure qualification. 

The big question is whether the state Chamber will tacitly accept the measure. It previously took positions in opposition to the Millionaires Tax and the Munger initiative, and stayed neutral on the governor's plan. Now that the governor's plan is a hybrid of Millionaires and his own, where will business land?

Chamber chief Allan Zaremberg specifically called out the "40 to 50 percent tax increase" in opposing the Millionaires Tax. Now, he and the Chamber brain trust have to decide whether to accept a 30 percent hike, in exchange for a smaller sales tax increase, which some of its members must be applauding.


Consumer Watchdog -- or Lapdog for Special Interests?

Watch the new video exposing the grandstanding "consumer" group that's funded by special interest groups to do its dirty work, collects millions in state fees through a self-serving provision, and pays its founder more than $600,000 per year.

Click here for the video

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@JenniferFearing - "@tedlieu I am only 8 followers behind you... Who will be 1st to break 3,000?"

@tedlieu - "@JenniferFearing With legislators polling so low, I'm surprised I even get any followers."

@JenniferFearing - "@tedlieu you must be doing something right then."

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA: LA Weekly's Michael Goldstein reports that the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority collected $2.4 million in tickets from stop-sign cameras in FY 2010.

HMMM...: SEIU pulls endorsement from Joel Young in AD18. [Steven Taveres @ East Bay Express]

Sorry I'm short today...spending too much time updating candidate lists following last night's deadline.


Senate Leader Steinberg 'Happy And Relieved' Over Ballot Deal
Kevin Yamamura @
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg celebrated a deal Wednesday between Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Federation of Teachers to place a compromise tax initiative on the November ballot.

CalPERS OKs Reduction In Investment Forecast, Costing State Extra $167 Million Per Year - State Pensions - The Sacramento Bee
The CalPERS building in Sacramento is noteworthy for this striking, glass-enclosed tower. The pension fund is also drawing attention for lowering its investment forecast. It will look at softening the impact on state government, too.

Apnewsbreak: Brown Makes Tax Deal With Group
LONG BEACH, Calif.—Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that he has reached a deal with a rival group to combine forces on a November ballot initiative seeking to raise taxes, a move that will allow Democratic-leaning interests to align behind a single, high-stakes budget proposition.

Acrobat Brown Does A Flip On Tax Hike Measure
George Skelton @
Governor strikes a deal with California Federation of Teachers to avoid butting heads with the union's 'millionaires' tax' on November ballot

Jerry Brown Hails Compromise Tax Proposal
Gov. Jerry Brown bows to pressure from left and changes tax proposal to hit rich harder, Top Democrats joined Jerry Brown in announcing the governor is changing his tax proposal to hit the rich harder.

Jerry Brown changes his tax plan to address concerns of liberal allies
Kevin Yamamura @
After a months-long feud with his most liberal allies, Gov. Jerry Brown compromised Wednesday to eliminate a rival tax initiative for the November ballot.

Assembly Panel Blocks Expansion Of Court Computer System
An Assembly budget subcommittee voted unanimously Wednesday to block expansion of a statewide court case management system that has become the focal point of a months-long political war between the state's judicial leadership and some rebel judges.

Pension Benefit Costs Cut By Record 43 States, Study Says - Bloomberg
Pension benefits for U.S. public workers were reduced by a record 43 states over three years to cut costs following the longest recession since the 1930s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California Lawmakers Remain Highest Paid, So Raises Unlikely
Patrick McGreevy @
Gov. Jerry Brown’s $173,987 salary is slightly lower than the pay of his counterpart in Pennsylvania, but California legislators still have much higher salaries than lawmakers in other states, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Reconsidering The Term Limits Law :: Fox&hounds
In two decades under the term limit law, voter support for the job performance of the legislators has dropped dramatically. An indication that term limits, as currently constituted, are not working as well as the voters hoped.

CalPERS 'Smoothing' Eases Employer Rate Shock
Ed Mendel @
Lowering the investment earnings forecast from 7.75 to 7.5 percent is expected to increase the annual state payment to CalPERS by $303 million, pushing the total to $3.8 billion.

Farmers Gain Ground In California Water Wars As Bill Passes House
Matt Weiser @
Central Valley farmers in California's Westlands Water District would find themselves with more stable water deliveries under HR 1837, which was written by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia.

Brown takes tougher tack on wealthy
Anthony York @
In a deal with a union on his ballot initiative, the governor pares the sales-tax provision and hikes rates on the rich.

Mary Hayashi's House Raises Ethical Questions | News | Oakland, Berkeley, Bay Area & California | East Bay Express
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi's home, high in the Castro Valley hills, offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire East Bay. Except it's not Hayashi enjoying the view, but two close colleagues who both earn lucrative state-funded salaries. According to recently released public finance records, Hayashi rents the four-bedroom, three-bath townhouse, assessed at around $500,000, to the chancellor of Chabot College, Joel Kinnamon, and his longtime partner, Christopher Parman, who also is Hayashi's district coordinator. While the deal may be legal, it raises ethical questions surrounding a member of the Assembly also acting as a landlord to her subordinate and a prominent academic administrator within her district. Between them, Kinnamon and Parman, who are legally married, take home nearly $400,000 annually in taxpayer money — a portion of which then goes to Hayashi in the form of rent.

Gov. Jerry Brown Faulted For Taking Down Transparency Website
Group gives state a D-minus for transparency

Was General David Baldwin Completely Candid with the California Senate?
The current Commander of the California National Guard, Major General David Baldwin, was mysteriously selected to be the commander of the largest National Guard in the nation. He didn't even put in for the job and at the time he was only a Colonel. The Governor rejected all the initial applicants for the position and hand selected Baldwin to be the AG. He was promoted to 2-star General over other higher ranking officers. During the hearing General Baldwin was asked to explain how he came in to the job but he glossed over the answer and the Senators never went back to the question.

PG&E Settles Forest-fire Suits For $29.5 Million
Demian Bulwa @
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and two of its subcontractors have agreed to pay $29.5 million to settle a pair of federal lawsuits in which the government said the company's power lines sparked wildfires in national forests in California, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Head to Head: Should California abandon its high-speed rail project?
Voters in 2008 approved Proposition 1A – the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century. The California Legislature must decide by June 30 whether to release $2.7 billion in voter-approved high-speed rail construction funds to begin construction on the first segment and take advantage of $3.5 billion in federal high-speed rail funds.

Prominent Berkeley Marijuana Dispensary To Close Shop
Michael Montgomery and David Downs @
One of California’s biggest medical marijuana establishments – embraced by local officials as a model business that donates to the poor and pays millions in taxes – has become the latest target in a statewide crackdown by federal prosecutors.

Transitional kindergarten gets boost from legislators
The vote by the education finance subcommittee is an early signal of Democratic opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to cut the two-year kindergarten program.

Us Senate Passes Bill Extending County Payments
By JEFF BARNARD, Associated Press @
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CalPERS cuts investment forecast by quarter-point
CalPERS is forcing state and local governments to pay more to support the giant pension fund – but will let them ease into it.