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THE NOONER for April 29, 2014
TWEET DU JOUR: @JerryBrownGov - "Back to the future! Cruising in my old blue Plymouth."
Bonus points if you know the lovely couple photobombing in the background.
Yesterday, the rumored Toyota Motor Sales departure from Torrance to Plano, Texas was confirmed by the automaker. The LAT's Jerry Hirsch reports "Toyota officials said the move to a Dallas suburb had nothing to do with cost-cutting and everything to do with fostering efficiency and collaboration."
While it is wise for Toyota--which sells California's 1st (Prius) and 3rd (Camry) most popular new cars--to frame it as a non-adversarial move, clearly the move is a blow to the Golden State and provides an issue on a platter to those who believe California's tax and regulatory infrastructure are adversarial to business.
The move will take place in phases over the next three years as the new headquarters is built at an office park in Plano, a Dallas suburb. All of Toyota's employees can transfer to the new office at their same salary and benefits. Toyota will pay for workers to visit Plano before they decide and will cover their relocation expenses.
The car company will keep about 2,300 workers in California at its design studio in Newport Beach, a motor-racing division in Costa Mesa, a parts factory in Long Beach and at other facilities. But no Toyota workers will remain at the company's 2-million-square-foot office complex in Torrance. The company said it has not yet determined what it will do with the property.
From a NOONERific perspective, we have to look at the political impact. First, Jerry Brown won't lose reelection over the issue, even while Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari try to finger him for the move.
However, the news is quite bad for first-term Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and Assembly Democrats, who very likely need Muratsuchi to hold his AD66 to hold two-thirds of the membership. The Toyota facility is in the heart of AD66, a district which runs from Manhattan Beach to Palos Verdes. In 2012, Muratsuchi beat Craig Huey, who had run against Janice Hahn for a congressional special election in July 2011. Huey framed himself as a Tea Party Republican in both races, although toned it down for the Assembly race.
Now Muratsuchi faces Republican businessman David Hadley, who owns an El Segundo investment banking firm, focused on mergers and acquisitions. Hadley is positioned a bit more to the center than Huey, proclaiming he voted "no" on Proposition 8's ban of same-sex marriage and offering that he is generally pro-choice (with restrictions).
Muratsuchi easily beat Huey 54.8%-45.2% in a district in which Obama won 54.2%-43.2%. However, Meg Whitman beat Jerry Brown there 47.7%-45.8%, and this year's ATC Partisan Index is only 51.8% Democratic. That's an awfully close margin and an issue like Toyota could move a few points.
Hadley had $301,000 cash-on-hand on March 17, while Muratsuchi had $622,000. Both have raised a little more than $50,000 in big reportable contributions since. Both will be looking to their respective base to highlight this as a key district for Assembly Democrats and will have plenty of resources for what is certain to be a November battleground.
The LAT's Hirsch reports that Toyota first informed Governor Brown last Friday of the move, and this was clearly not a case of a fight between California and Texas for a decision by the company. There was likely nothing that Muratsuchi or Democrats could have done to affect the decision, but it still stings in this region of Los Angeles that is watching a booming Silicon Beach just north of the district (notably also in the hot overlapping CD33 and SD26).
Meanwhile, Pfizer Proposes a Marriage With AstraZeneca, Easing Taxes in a Move to Britain [David Gelles and Michael J. De La Merced @ NYT] - "And moving to a lower-tax jurisdiction would allow Pfizer to tap cash that it holds overseas without paying a steep tax to bring it back to the United States. Of the company’s $49 billion in cash, some 70 to 90 percent of that is estimated to be held overseas. That would help pay for part of the takeover by Pfizer. By using those assets to buy a foreign company, the drug maker would avoid racking up the sort of big tax bill that would come from buying a domestic rival like Bristol-Myers Squibb."
Congress really needs to tackle this repatriation issue and bring this cash home.
AD70 (Long Beach): Thanks, but no thanks, Assembly hopeful Patrick O'Donnell says of donation from conservative tycoon [Joshua Stuart @ OCR] - "The contribution came from Oxbow Carbon and Minerals Holdings Inc., a group founded and led by William Koch. According to its website, Oxbow produces a type of petroleum coke."
Oh, Walter, we miss you.
#CAKEDAY: Light the candles for Andre Quintero!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Brown Touts Budget Reserve Plan To Assembly Committee
Jim Miller @ sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown urged members of the Assembly’s budget panel Monday to support his plan for a new rainy-day reserve before voters in November, with a floor vote on the proposal possible as early as mid-May.
Tim Donnelly Pushes For Concealed Carry Bill
David Siders @ blogs.sacbee.com
Republican Tim Donnelly, who has made gun rights a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign, is pushing for legislation in the Assembly that would expand gun owners' access to concealed carry permits.
Assemblyman Donnelly pushes concealed carry bill; Kashkari rolls out big endorsements
David Siders @ sacbee.com
Republican Tim Donnelly, who has made gun rights a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign, is pushing for legislation in the Assembly that would expand gun owners’ access to concealed carry permits.
Brown Pushes Rainy Day Fund; Steinberg Signals Delay
Ben ADler @ capradio.org
When California Governor Jerry Brown made a rare appearance before a legislative committee Monday to support a ârainy day fundâ constitutional amendment, the surprisingly warm reception in the room belied the tensions beginning to emerge.
Jerry Brown Urges Committee Support For Reserve Plan
Jim Miller @ blogs.sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown urged members of the Assembly's budget panel Monday to support his plan for a new rainy-day reserve before voters in November.
Senate OKs Workers' Comp Claim Extension For Law Enforcement Survivors
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO -- The state Senate on Monday approved a measure that would give families of deceased firefighters and police officers more time to file for workers’ compensation death benefits when the death resulted from cancer, tuberculosis or other diseases.
Donnelly pushes for gun rights in governor's race
Associated Press @ utsandiego.com
Republican state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly is promoting legislation that would expand the right to carry a concealed weapon in California, continuing his focus on gun rights in his campaign for governor.
Mitt Romney, Pete Wilson, Darrell Issa Back Neel Kashkari For Governor
Seema Mehta @ latimes.com
Gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari announced Monday that he has been endorsed by three prominent Republicans: 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney , former California Gov. Pete Wilson and Rep. Darrell Issa .
Avalos seeks to expand S.F.'s landmark Children's Fund
John Cote @ sfgate.com
The petitions that put San Francisco's landmark property tax set-aside for children's programs on the ballot in 1991 were brought to City Hall by kids pulling little red wagons.
Legislation would speed up clock for disciplining California state workers
Jon Ortiz @ sacbee.com
State departments would have considerably less time to discipline California state workers under the terms of a bill now making its way through the Legislature.
AM Alert: Teachers, welfare advocates rally for oil extraction tax
Alexei Koseff @ blogs.sacbee.com
Though Gov. Jerry Brown rejected the notion during his January budget proposal, another effort to introduce an oil severance tax in California is winding its way through the Legislature.
Gov. Brown To Decide On Tax Break For Companies Like Elon Musk's SpaceX
Allen Young @ bizjournals.com
Californiaâs manufacturers like it; tax collectors donât. Sitting on Gov. Jerry Brownâs desk is a bill that would give Elon Musk's SpaceX and other commercial space companies a 10-year exemption on property taxes. The law, Assembly Bill 777, would target propulsion systems that are shot into space.
Calif. Senate Acts On Websites Seeking Fees To Remove Booking Photos
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
SACRAMENTO — The state Senate on Monday approved a measure that would crack down on the growing number of Internet websites that post booking photos of those arrested until a fee is paid to take them down.
Democrats For Donnelly As A Campaign Strategy? :: Fox&hounds
Hoffenblum suggested that Democrats eager to see Donnelly as the Republican facing Brown might try to help pick the Republican nominee with negative ads against Kashkari.
Calif. Soda-Labeling Bill Sidelined Over Costs
Patrick McGreevy @ latimes.com
A state bill that would require health-warning labels on sugar-added drinks and sodas in California was sidelined Monday for further review of its enforcement costs even though its author argued that it would cut costs to taxpayers in the long term by reducing diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.
SD10: "Mug Shot Mary" Website Targets Hayashi
Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
The gloves are off in the 10th State Senate District race, where Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski has brought former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashiâs shoplifting conviction front and center.
State Counts Empty Medical Beds To Cut Prison Crowding
Paige St. John @ latimes.com
Gov. Jerry Brown's administration states that California has already met a court-ordered limit on the state prison population, but inmate lawyers argue that is because the state is counting a half-filled medical prison closed to new admissions.
Jeb Bush endorses Kashkari campaign for governor
Associated Press @ utsandiego.com
Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari is announcing an endorsement from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a potential contender for the party's 2016 presidential nomination.
Assembly race between Chiu, Campos finally picks up steam
[...] lately the margin has been closing, indicating that Campos' aggressive attacks are having some effect. In response, Chiu may go on the offensive. [...] the tale of two Davids has played out with such predictability that when I asked a political consultant if he watched The Chronicle's debate between the two on video, he said, "No, but I'm sure I could reconstruct their responses word for word." From the start, Campos has painted Chiu as the pawn of big developers and an untrustworthy politician who was elected as a progressive but then moved to the business-friendly middle of the road. Chiu voted against reinstatement, and Campos - despite avowed support for domestic violence prevention organizations - voted in favor. Look for Chiu to maintain his professorial demeanor while his campaign hits Campos on opposing new housing and bashing the tech industry. [...] .
Report Calls For Reform In State's Higher Education Master Plan
Larry Gordon @ latimes.com
California’s Master Plan for Higher Education is sorely inadequate for meeting the needs of students and employers here, according to educational researchers at the University of Pennsylvania .
University Of California's Napolitano To Senate: More Cash Means More Innovation - San Francisco Business Times
Tech & Innovation Awards
California still owes big bucks for unemployment insurance
Dan Walters @ blogs.sacbee.com
As severe recession struck the nation a half-decade ago, California and most other states borrowed heavily from the federal government to prop up their unemployment insurance programs.