If you don't see images in this message, click "Display Images" or the equivalent.
Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
Receive this as a forward? Get the Nooner in your e-mail box
THE NOONER for January 22, 2016
You made it! It's Friday! #HappyDance
As our friends in DC are preparing to be stuck in a meat locker for the next few days, Netflix should provide a free subscription for a few days to those affected. A huge chance to build goodwill and subscriptions.
DEADLINE: Today is the last day to submit bill proposals to the Legislative Counsel. So, if you come up with a great one over lunch, get your derriere to the Capitol and find a sponsor ASAP. Of course, if you don't have an idea, submit a "spot bill." A spot bill is one that doesn't really have the intended contents but creates a vehicle for future amendments.
GAS TAXES AND ROADS: There's an interesting debate in Sacramento right now about how to pay for needed highway repairs. It's universally agreed upon that our roads are not in great shape. Anyone who has driven to Reno from Sacramento knows when they cross into The Silver State, not by the "Welcome to Nevada" sign, but rather the condition of the highway.
Sure, there are some high-profile projects--widening of the 405 in LA and the addition of carpool lanes to I-80 in Sacramento. However, the regular maintenance and projects on lower-profile roadways has declined.
There are two taxes applied to gasoline in California. One is the state excise tax of $0.395 per gallon. That relates obviously to the quantity of gallons sold in the state. The second is the state/local sales tax, which ranges roughly from 7%-10%, depending on the locality. That tax revenue correlates with both the volume of gallons and the price of gasoline.
Two major factors are affecting this. First, cars have become far more fuel efficient, particularly with hybrids and all-electric vehicles. My car is a Nissan Leaf, so I haven't paid any gas taxes. (I also rarely drive.) That means that far less in gasoline excise tax is being collected than in the era where everybody was driving Hummers (side note: where did all those Hummers go?).
Secondly, the price of gas in California has nearly been cut in half over the last three years. What that means is the sales taxes on gas have dropped significantly--a drop of nearly 18 cents per gallon. Now, that money wasn't earmarked (unlike the excise tax) for road repairs, but has strained state and local government.
Thus, there needs to be a rethinking of how we pay for road maintenance in this era of increasing efficiency and lower gas prices to tackle a big infrastructure challenge. Some argue for switching to a "pay per mile" tax to capture the actual use of the roads. Of course, that's hard to administer. Either you make drivers check in annually to a state-administered facility, or you take them for their word. Either is a headache for either drivers or the state. Others would like a large bond that would be repaid by the state General Fund for up to 30 years, and others argue that the state has a surplus and is creating a large rainy day fund and could be used for road repairs without creating future obligations on taxpayers of the state.
Governor Jerry Brown has called for a $65 tax on all vehicles, as well as an increase in the excise tax, trying to address both the issue of increased efficiency and lower price of gas. This would require a two-thirds vote as an increase in taxes, something that appears to be unanimously opposed by Republicans.
It'll be an interesting debate to watch this year.
THE GHOST TOWN: Gas company forced to resume offering rental houses to Porter Ranch families [Louis Sahagun @ LAT] - "The Los Angeles city attorney has forced the Southern California Gas Co. to back down from a plan the utility quietly put in place this week to stop offering rental houses to Porter Ranch families dislocated by the nearby gas leak. The company instructed its relocation specialists on Tuesday to no longer place residents in rental houses because they are increasingly hard to find and expensive for short-term lease. The utility, noting that it expects to plug the leak in four to five weeks, told agents to put families in hotels and motels instead."
DEFENSE AGAINST THE UNDEFENDED: Mt. Diablo school trustees plan to defend pedophile's behavior [Daniel Borenstein @ CCTimes] - "Re-victimizing child-abuse victims. We've seen this disgusting legal ploy before. But Mt. Diablo school trustees and their attorneys have taken it to a new level. They face a civil lawsuit alleging the school district failed to protect students from former teacher Joseph Martin. To defend against it, they plan to challenge the central issue of the criminal trial in which he was convicted of 19 felony counts: Whether Martin's behavior constituted abuse."
NOT AN ENDORSEMENT: This Bernie Sanders ad is one of the best of my lifetime. I've yet to find a candidate that I want to go out on a second date with, but this ad is great (and clearly targeted at the very white Iowa and New Hampshire voters).
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to the Advancement Project's Suzy Costa and Biotechnology Industry's Association's Richard Engelhardt!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Senator Janet Nguyen introduces legislation to provide undergraduate education to the spouses and children of the San Bernardino Terror Attack Victims
s higher education system (UC, CSU, and California Community Colleges). Specifically, Senate Bill 893 would assign the California Victim Compensation Board to identify and notify eligible participants and establish tuition fee waivers for victims of this terror attack as they pursue undergraduate degrees.
From Ideology To Pragmatism: The Political Twists Of Jerry Brown
In his decades on the national stage, Jerry Brown has taken on wildly different personas in pursuit of the governorship and the presidency
California's Four Largest Health Plans Could Owe State $10 Billion In Back Taxes
Tracy Seipel @ mercurynews.com
Should that happen, insurance industry critics say, it would end one of the biggest tax code abuses in state history -- one that for decades has allowed Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Health Net to avoid paying a state tax on health insurance premiums. The health plans, however, say they aren't insurers and thus shouldn't be subject to the tax.
Kamala Harris Touches Democratic Themes On Statewide Tour Stop | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @ sacbee.com
Harris wants affordable child care, paid family leave
Feinstein Water Plan Would Fund Recycling, Desalination And Storage
Republicans Say Government Mismanaged Health Care Co-ops
Twelve of the 23 health insurance cooperatives set up with $2.5 billion in federal funding have shut down, rather than spur competition as intended.
Two More Waves Of Rain For Sacramento, Northern California Coming Up | The Sacramento Bee
Bill Lindelof @ sacbee.com
By Bill Lindelof
Turf Rebate Recipients Will Have To Decide How To Report Funds On Federal Taxes
It will be up to the thousands of Southern Californians who received a rebate to trade grass for drought-tolerant landscaping how to report the grant money in their tax forms, officials said.
Senate Budget Vice Chair Comments on Governor Brown's State of the State Speech
issued the following statement:
10 days till Iowa: The latest photos from the campaign trail
With the Iowa caucuses just a flip of a calendar page away, POLITICO takes you on the campaign trail Thursday, Jan. 21, as presidential candidates scramble for last-minute support.
FPPC Adds Reporting Rules For California Lobbyists | The Sacramento Bee
Taryn Luna @ sacbee.com
Critics warn that rules can be circumvented
Senator Gaines Responds To Governor Brown's 2016 State Of The State Address
s 2016 State of the State address, which he delivered to a joint session of the Legislature and the people of California this morning.
State Lacks Backup Plan If Natural Gas Dwindles Due To Porter Ranch Leak | 89.3 Kpcc
Southern California Public Radio @ scpr.org
Eric Nam addresses members of the state Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee at Granada Hills Charter High School Jan. 21, 2016. He lives near a natural gas leak that has led thousands of families to relocate away from Porter Ranch, Granada Hills and Chatsworth. Sharon McNary/KPCC
The 5 political numbers that mattered this week
Continuing our new POLITICO feature, where we dig in to the latest polls and loop in other data streams âÂÂ like advertising figures, election results, voter registration trends and other measures that tell the story of the 2016 campaign.
Study: Airbnb Landlords Rent Out Properties Full Time
Marisa Kendall @ mercurynews.com
The report, authored by Pennsylvania State University's hospitality school and backed by Airbnb's opponents in the hotel industry, targets Airbnb hosts it claims are using the site to run full-time, short-term rental businesses. The report looked at 12 cities, analyzing how many landlords rented their properties more than 360 days a year and how many rented two or more properties. In San Francisco last year, more than 300 "full-time" hosts raked in $44 million, or 22 percent of all Airbnb revenue made in the city, according to the study. The study also found that 1,600 landlords rented two or more units, making $62 million.
Gov. Brown Warns Of 'profoundly Uncertain' World In State Of The State
Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his State of the State address before a joint session of the California Legislature in Sacramento on Thursday.
Brown's Plan To Fix Transportation Infrastructure May Hit Road Block - Capradio.org
Ben Bradford @ capradio.org
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826
First Draft: Donald Trump, Challenging Political Correctness, Strikes a Chord
s caucuses, and many voters cite his bravado and willingness to assail political correctness, more than his policy proposals, as the main reasons.