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THE Nooner for December 2, 2017


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Happy Saturday! Regardless of what team you were rooting for in the Pac-12 championship game, you're definitely feeling better today than the Stanford coach. It was 4th and 2, with Stanford down by 3 points and coach David Shaw decided to go for an unsuccessful touchdown instead of a game-tying field goal. USC, then Stanford, traded additional touchdowns, and Stanford lost by those 3 points.

Of course, there's also the question of whether the refs blew a call, ruling Stanford's player down, when he didn't hit the ground since he was on top of his fellow player, and pushed across the goal line while doing so.

In somber news, one year ago today was the Ghost Fire in Oakland, and two years ago today was the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Fortunately, it could have been much worse had it not been for the admirable work of first responders. Thank you.

Well, that was an interesting Senate debate last night.

I'm still trying to determine the impact on California.

One of the biggest negatives was the compromise on State and Local Taxes (SALT) to appease Susan Collins (R-Maine). While it appeared to be good news in restoring one of the provisions eliminating deductibility of state and local taxes, the Senate compromise maintains a $10,000 deduction for state and local property taxes as opposed to the current SALT deduction which includes all state and local taxes. 

California doesn't have a state property tax and local property taxes are capped by Proposition 13, whereas California has among the highest income taxes in the country. In order to use the entire deduction in California, a home would need to have an assessed valuation (note, not "worth," but rather a Prop. 13 limited assessment) of a little over $1.2 million. In Maine, it would be a non-constrained assessed valuation of $720,000. In Texas, it would be a current assessed valuation of $530,000.

Arguably, if included in the final package that comes out of conference committee, this provision could become the argument for a ballot measure that does a swap for Prop. 13 "reform" in exchange for a reduction in income taxes to ensure more Californians can avail themselves of the deduction. 

Regardless of your position on the tax bill, Republicans, Democrats and Independents need to unify in urging this to be fixed in conference committee, although that may not be possible as both the House and Senate proposals appear to be the same. Under Prop. 13, only the wealthiest Californians will recognize the full benefit of this, and constituents in even high housing cost areas won't realize the benefit, as their houses may be market valued at $1.2 million, but that's not their taxed valuation.

Under the amendment by Ted Cruz (R-TX), taxpayers would be able to use tax-sheltered 529 "college savings accounts" proceeds for private K-12 schools, which could cause a decline in public K-12 and charter enrollments. 

The Senate bill repeals the Affordable Care Act mandate, while the House does not. What this and possible cuts to Medicare and Medicaid (MediCal) does in California is unclear, but could be large exposure to the state and county budgets, beyond just the provision of health care.

On the positive side, the Senate bill does not include the House bill's provision to tax waived tuition for graduate students with teaching responsibilities. Generally graduate-level teachers have their tuition waived and are provided a modest stipend for living expenses. The House bill would consider the waiver as "income" and require it to be taxed. 

For Stanford, that would mean that up to $48,987 in non-cash "income" to teaching graduate students would be taxed on the normal individual schedule. Institutions and student advocacy groups argue that this would make graduate education unattainable to non-affluent students or crippling debt. For the state, it could mean lowering tuition on public institutions by more money from the general fund to avoid collapse of graduate programs.

The Senate's bill had--until the last-minute--a provision that would have taxed licensing fees from school names and logos. As you saw last night with that sea of red at Levi's Stadium, that's a lot of money in big-name sports.

The Senate has always been the guardian of higher education (particularly private non-profits) on a bipartisan basis, under the leadership of the late Ted Kennedy to Patty Murray to Lamar Alexander, chairs from both parties of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee.

WaPo lists the seven major differences between the Senate and House that will need to be resolved.



DACA: In the LAT, Sarah D. Wire reports that Jeff Denham (CA10) and David Valadao (CA21) are joining a group of fellow Republicans in calling for a fix to the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. "California is home to an estimated one-third of the 750,000 people who were granted work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, giving the Golden State an outsized stake in resolving their legal status. President Trump announced in September he would end the program and gave Congress until March to come up with a legislative fix for DACA recipients." 

The districts of Denham and Valadao are both politically challenging districts, but also are among the biggest agricultural districts in the state. As farm workers came over from Latin America, they frequently brought their young children who were raised in American schools, often went to college, and have been in the workforce. Not only social justice, but also business groups, are deeply concerned what would happen if their work permits are cancelled.

THE KATE STEINLE VERDICT: A lot is being made about the verdict in terrible 2015 death of Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco, including from POTUS. People all over are opining and people ask me my opinion. I'll just say that the LAT's Robin Abcarian has it right.



Probolsky Research


HOLIDAY TRAVEL: Good news on the travel front. American Airlines and its pilots came to an agreement that won't devestate that airline's service over the Christmas holiday. A computer glitch opened up time-off requests and far more pilots were allowed to schedule time off than the carrier's schedule required. That would have taken LAX from a pain in the ass to complete unbearability.

#CAKEDAY: Christopher Nikhil Bowen and Stephen Gale!

DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: Yesterday's early-bird Nooner had an error in referring to the results of PPIC's poll on the question on single-payer health care. The question was not framed as whether respondents "favored" it, but rather asked them how "important" they thought it was. Semantics, perhaps, but for any of us who have designed polls, we know words matter. I didn't talk to PPIC yesterday, but I'm guessing that since there are lots of concepts of single-payer floating, they kept it general.



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  • Hepatitis A: Expert Briefing hosted and moderated by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), Thursday, December 7th, 11:45am-1:15pm, Capitol Room 2040. Please join us for a conversation with experts in infectious disease, vaccination, and local public health efforts to learn how hepatitis A is spread, how at-risk populations are identified for vaccination, what local actions are being taken and can be taken to address or prevent outbreaks, and what policymakers can do to help. Organized in partnership with Senate Health Committee, Assemblymember Gloria, Assemblymember Maienschein, Assemblymember Wood, and the Health Officers Association of California. Please come with any questions you have. Lunch boxes provided after briefing. Reserve by Noon on December 6th by emailing
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  • California State Student Association seeks Government Relations Associate
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Robin Abcarian: The Verdict In The Kate Steinle Murder Trial Was Shocking But Fair. Jurors Put Facts Over Politics.
Robin Abcarian @
A San Francisco jury acquitted Mexican national Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of murder and manslaughter charges in the 2015 death of Kate Steinle, a case that has been politicized by immigration critics. President Trump used the killing to decry sanctuary cities and build support for his border wall.

Senate GOP Shields Prominent Conservative College From Endowment Tax - Politico

Senate Republicans are seeking to exempt schools like Hillsdale College, a prominent conservative institution, from their plan to impose a controversial new tax on university endowments.

Surviving Ghost Ship: Man Learns To Stand, Walk And Talk Again - San Francisco Chronicle
STOCKTON — Sam Maxwell’s hands shake as he raises a cup of water to his mouth.

Western governors shrug off Flynn furor

Hours after the news broke Friday, some governors weren’t even aware of the plea deal that rocked Washington.

'nothing Is Permanent': One Year After The Ghost Ship Fire, A Survivor Struggles To Find Housing In Oakland
Liam Dillon @
One year after the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, former residents still face severe housing problems leaving them wondering if they can stay in the Bay Area.

Stanford University Alerts Employees To Data Breach Of Confidential Records - San Francisco Chronicle
Stanford University mailed alerts Friday to nearly 10,000 employees and former employees whose Social Security numbers, birth dates and salaries were visible on campus servers for six months.

Trump Touts Tax Win At GOP Fundraiser - Politico

President Donald Trump speaks at a fundraiser at Cipriani in New York on Dec. 2. Trump is attending a trio of fundraisers during his day in New York. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo

Sf City Agency Halts Use Of Drones Amid Concerns Over China - San Francisco Chronicle
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has temporarily halted its use of drones while it reviews a federal government agency’s concern that the flying devices made by a Chinese company could transmit sensitive U.S. infrastructure information to that country, a spokesman said Friday.

Tented Shelter For Homeless People Returns To Downtown - The San Diego Union-tribune
Gary Warth @

What's next on tax reform

GOP lawmakers are confident they can iron out key differences and send the president a bill.

Lawyers Argue Santa Rosa Courts Should Handle Wildfire Suits

Sf Defends The Verdict. Elsewhere, #boycottsanfrancisco Goes Viral - San Francisco Chronicle
Kevin Fagan, Jenna Lyons and @
The latest proof that San Francisco exists in a Left Coast bubble was evident in the contrasting opinions over the not-guilty verdicts in the Kate Steinle murder trial.