California lawmakers, raising fears of political violence, want to shield their properties

Citing safety threats, California lawmakers are advancing a bill that would keep the property they own and other personal information from annual financial disclosures off the internet.

Photo by Fred Greaves for CalMatters

The measure, Assembly Bill 1170, would shift to an electronic filing system for the statement of economic interest, known as Form 700, that elected officials and some public employees in California are required to complete each year.

But a secondary provision proposes to expand the redactions on publicly available versions of the form, shielding the addresses of filers’ real property interests and businesses, though they would still be available upon request.

Organizations that advocate for greater transparency in government have objected to withholding information that could illuminate conflicts of interest. Laurel Brodzinsky, legislative director for California Common Cause, said Form 700 is an important tool for understanding how elected officials’ economic interests shape their decision-making.

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“We do think that having that transparency is really important for accountability,” Brodzinsky said.

A compromise on the bill — which passed through the Assembly today on a 58-0 vote and is headed to the Senate — may be imminent.

Assemblymember Avelino Valencia, the Anaheim Democrat who is carrying the measure, said he is working on amendments that would narrow the redactions to only addresses where a filer lives. He declined to further discuss any changes.

“By modernizing state processes and improving government efficiency, we are focused on the priority of saving the state money during this critical budget time,” Valencia said in a text message. “However, that will not come at the expense of the public’s access to government documents that provide transparency into potential conflicts of interest.”

Lawmakers are increasingly raising concerns about what they say has been a rise in political violence and harassment in recent years, such as the October 2022 hammer attack against then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband at their San Francisco home.

During a committee hearing for AB 1170 earlier this month, Assemblymember Gail Pellerin, a Santa Cruz Democrat, said she believes “the expanded redaction requirements in the bill are important to ensure filers’ privacy and safety.” 

The Legislature approved another bill last year that would have expanded the ability of California political candidates to use campaign funds to pay for security expenses, such as home security systems and bodyguards. It was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said the measure did not provide enough guidance on what would be a legitimate security expense.

The Fair Political Practices Commission, the state campaign ethics regulator that manages the statement of economic interest, sponsored Valencia’s bill because it wants to require electronic filing of the form. Senior legislative counsel Lindsey Nakano said the redaction provision came out of discussions with lawmakers about increased security and safety issues.

“We heard concern about people who might use the addresses found online on the Form 700s to harass the filer or those connected to them, including to potentially harass tenants of real property owned by the Form 700 filer,” Nakano said in an email. “I’m not aware of any specific incidences.”

The bill, as currently written, would also require the commission to redact the signature, personal address and telephone number of a filer, though none of that information currently appears in the copies of Form 700s available online.

Brodzinsky of California Common Cause said there are reasonable limitations on what information is disclosed about elected officials and other public servants given the threat of violence. 

“We do understand the concerns of the privacy of the filer and they would not want their residential address out so publicly on the internet,” she said.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Board blasts EV charger firm, then OKs plan

After ripping into Electrify America’s latest public EV charger spending plan for its perceived inadequacies, members of the California Air Resources Board approved it unanimously.

“I want to get the money out,” board member Davina Hurt said.

The air board oversees an $800-million court settlement that requires German carmaker Volkswagen to pay for a fast charger system in California — the effective penalty for VW’s decision to install software in its cars that falsified emissions testing results and hid the fact that its vehicles were spewing more pollution than state law allows.

Thursday’s vote approved the final $200-million tranche, and a plan for spending it. Already, $600 million has been doled out to pay for 1,093 chargers and EV education and marketing programs.

The emphasis at the meeting was getting chargers deployed, reducing long waiting times at charging stations as EV sales grow. However, it was acknowledged, nonworking chargers are partly responsible for waiting times that can stretch into hours. 

Electrify America, the company created by VW, has admitted to problems with charger reliability, as have state-subsidized companies ChargePoint, EVgo, Blink and others. 

The board met Thursday, and right away members started talking tough.

“What we see here today is a lack of specificity in the maintenance plan,” said member Eric Guerra. “I would hate that today becomes a rubber stamp for a maintenance plan that says ‘trust us.’ ”

Air board member John Balmes said he’s “frustrated” with unreliable Electrify America chargers. On a recent attempt, “I had trouble connecting.” He said it took “40 minutes for [a Kia EV6], a fast-charging car.”

Liane Randolph, the board’s chair, said even Electrify America’s newest stations are undependable. At the recently opened Kettleman City station along Interstate 5, she said, “three chargers were out for several days.”

Some members blasted what they said was Electrify America’s lack of transparency on fulfilling its commitment to install 35% of its chargers in disadvantaged communities. 

Member Diane Takvorian said she “questions the validity” of the company’s statistics. Member Dean Florez said “this may be our last hearing on this thing. How do we know you’ll come through on the 35%?”

Working furiously in the Sacramento hearing room while board members talked, the air board staff came up with amended plan language. The staff, according to the air board’s top executive, Steven Cliff, will work with Electrify America to come up with reliability and maintenance data and to clarify where in disadvantaged communities chargers are being located.

Electrify America’s chief executive vowed to reach a level of 97% reliable for all its chargers. (State and federal officials are still working out a definition for “97% reliable.”)

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Dream for All: Down payment assistance for first-time California homebuyers relaunches with new lottery

California will dole out $250 million more in down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers this spring, while making changes to its 1-year-old program aimed at reaching a more diverse group of borrowers across the state.

Photo by Semantha Norris, CalMatters

Last year frenzied homebuyers hoovered up nearly all $300 million budgeted for the California Dream for All loan program in just 11 days. While the new program was wildly popular, some realtors and lenders reported that clients who received the funds were already far along in the home purchase process, fueling speculation about whether the loans were going to people who already could afford to buy homes.

The program’s next round, launching today, keeps the same “shared appreciation” lending model: The state will give first-time homebuyers money towards a down payment — up to 20% of the purchase price or $150,000, whichever is lower — then it will get paid back the loan plus a share of the home’s appreciation whenever it sells again.

This time the California Housing Finance Agency, which administers Dream for All, hopes to head off a mad scramble for the loans by replacing its original first-come, first-served model with a lottery. 

Homebuyers will have until April to find a state-approved lender and start working on an application. A lottery opens in early April, and buyers will have a month to submit their applications. Between 1,700 and 2,000 lucky lottery winners will receive vouchers that they’ll then have 60 days to spend on a home.

More time to prepare

The extra time to prepare should help Californians who may not be sure if they could buy a home without state assistance, said CalHFA spokesperson Eric Johnson. 

The program is for people for whom homeownership “may be a dream but they’ve got the steady income, they’ve got the decent credit score of above 660 and they’re thinking, ‘OK, wow, this could really make the difference,’ ” said Johnson. “This gives them time to get motivated, to find a loan officer. If they need to do a little work on their credit score or change their debt-to-income ratio, they’ve got time to work with one of our loan officers or brokers.”

The agency will set aside a number of vouchers for each region of the state based on its share of the state’s households. That’s to avoid the geographic disparities that emerged in the program’s first round, in which Sacramento County homebuyers disproportionately benefited but those in Los Angeles County, which represents 25% of the state’s population, received just 9% of loans. 

California Dream for All “was initially conceived of as focusing on higher-cost parts of the state where it’s especially hard to use existing down payment programs, and that was not exactly an unequivocal success,” said Adam Briones, CEO of California Community Builders, which advocates for closing the racial wealth gap through homeownership and helped draft the research that inspired the program.

The state’s red-hot housing market means some Californians who might otherwise be able to afford mortgage payments must struggle to save enough for a down payment. About 55% of Californians own their homes, the second-lowest home ownership rate of any state, behind New York.

Who will benefit?

Dream for All’s backers had hoped it would especially benefit members of communities that have experienced redlining or low homeownership rates, such as Black and Latino Californians. A CalMatters analysis of Dream for All’s first round found that its beneficiaries included a higher share of people of color than exists among California’s current homeowners, but they were still whiter than the state’s overall population.

California law prohibits state-sponsored affirmative action, which poses a challenge for officials trying to design a program that tackles historical redlining without explicitly addressing race, Briones said.

California Dream for All’s new rules include a requirement that at least one homebuyer in each transaction be a first-generation homebuyer, defined as someone who has never owned a home and whose parents also did not own a home, or someone who grew up in foster care. The state also has lowered the income eligibility threshold from 150% of the area median income to 120%, a number that ranges from about $95,000 a year in Fresno County to about $215,000 in Santa Clara County. 

The state plans an outreach campaign beginning in February that will focus especially on Southern California and the Central Coast to let potential homebuyers know about the program, Johnson said. It will include flyers in laundromats, text messages and advertisements on Spanish-language radio and in Black newspapers.

Colette Washington, a realtor in Oakland, said that about a quarter of her clients are first-time homebuyers and she tried to encourage them to apply for California Dream for All last year. But most were confused by the program and procrastinated, she said, and the money ran out before any of them successfully applied. 

Buying a house “is probably the biggest financial commitment most average folks will make in a lifetime and so it’s intimidating,” she said. “Fear is paralyzing.”

This time around, she said, “I personally would like to see the people who really need the money get it first.”

How to apply for Dream for All

So far California Dream for All has survived Gov. Newsom’s budget ax, which fell on some of the state’s other housing programs last week, as the governor proposed clawbacks of unspent funds to solve a budget deficit his office projects will reach $38 billion in 2024-25. 

Created in 2022, Dream for All was originally envisioned as a 10-year, $10 billion investment before lawmakers scaled it back last year.

Click here to read the full article in CALMatters

Coupal: California is not East Berlin. A wealth tax in California would expedite the exodus.

Daily news reports on the great “California Exodus” are not just from conservative outlets. Left-leaning publications such as the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle have recently reported on the outmigration of upper-income citizens who, even if not billionaires, still generate a lot of income tax revenue.

FILE — In a photo provided by Alex Lee for State Assembly 2020, Alex Lee poses for a photo at the Warm Springs Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Fremont, Calif., May 22, 2019. (Vanessa Hsieh/Alex Lee for State Assembly 2020 via AP)

This past week the California Legislature held a hearing on Assembly Bill 259 which would lay the foundation for the imposition of a wealth tax. The companion legislation to AB 259 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would, among other things, effectively sweep away Proposition 13’s limits on taxing property.

Fortunately, the idea that California would be the first in the nation to impose a highly unpopular wealth tax is so radical that the proposal was rejected by Democrats as well as Republicans on the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee. It didn’t take long for the Democrat chair of the committee to shuffle the bill to the “suspense” file where bad legislation goes to die.

Coincidentally, the wealth tax hearing occurred on the same day that Gov. Newsom released his proposed budget. Things got a little sparky during the presentation with Newsom pushing hard against the Legislative Analyst’s figure of a $68 billion deficit. Newsom contends that the deficit is “only” $38 billion. (But hey, what’s a $30 billion difference between friends).

Newsom saved his most animated criticism for those who highlight the state’s shortcomings, including the significant outmigration of California’s most productive citizens. He especially targeted the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which has never been reticent about commenting on the state’s well-deserved reputation for anti-business bias.

But to his credit, Newsom rejected the notion of a wealth tax – at least for now. For taxpayers, it matters little whether the governor’s stance is motivated by politics or a sincere policy position. Either way, we’ll take it.

The problems with the wealth tax proposal – even as half-baked as it is – are legion. But one issue should be especially troubling to anyone who believes both in fiscal restraint and basic constitutional freedoms. That is, could a wealth tax be applied to people who voluntarily leave the state for the specific purpose of avoiding California’s highest-in-the-nation income taxes? AB 259 contains a provision that applies the wealth tax to every “wealth-tax resident,” defined as someone who “is no longer a resident, and does not have the reasonable expectation to return to the state.”

The question here is not whether a resident of another state can be taxed when they have a “nexus” to California, for example income earned in California or owning property in the state. Rather, what about someone who no longer has any connection to California? The proposal to tax wealth on such people would likely be deemed to violate the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

More fundamentally, an “exit tax” could be construed as an impairment to the right to travel. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in 1958 in Kent v. Dulles that citizens have a liberty interest in the right to travel: “[t]he right to travel is a part of the ‘liberty’ of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment …”

Setting aside the practical and legal problems with this or any wealth tax proposal, a fundamental problem is the signal it sends to all productive California taxpayers as well as those in other states who might consider moving here.  California already has a horrible reputation for its treatment of taxpayers and businesses, why would we even consider another punishing tax?

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Bill to Ban Tackle Football For Under 12 Youth Heard in Assembly

An overall ban on youth contact before the age of 12 has failed before in the state

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

A bill to ban tackle football for children under the age of 12 in California was finally brought up before the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Tourism Committee on Wednesday after almost a year of not advancing through the legislature.

Assembly Bill 734, authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would prohibit youth sports organizations that conduct a tackle football program, or a youth tackle football league, from allowing a person younger than 12 years of age to be a youth tackle football participant through the organization or league. Should the bill pass, the law would begin to take effect beginning in January 2026.

Assemblyman McCarty wrote the bill last year because of increased concerns over youth football injuries, as well growing concerns with head injuries at a younger age. Specifically. McCarty cited several studies in support of his bill. These included a 2022 United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) study finding that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is caused by repeated traumatic brain injuries, a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointing to higher head injuries amongst younger athletes, and a Boston University study confirming a link between CTE, suicide, and early in life head injuries caused by athletics.

“Flag football is an alternative that is safer for youth and can still give them the opportunity to learn the skills to be successful at tackle football later in life,” said the Assemblyman last year. “The 2023 NFL Pro Bowl was a flag football game for the safety of the players. Why can’t we have that for our youth? AB 734 will help protect kids and nurture their brain development, and not put them in a situation that’s proven to cause irreparable harm.”

In a statement made earlier this month, McCarty added, “It’s not even about concussions. It’s about repetitive hits to the brain. If kids want to play tackle, wait until they get to puberty when their bodies are more developed. You can teach tackling once you get to 12 years of age when it’s fully developed. There’s only one brain. There’s only one life, but it’s a game you can play forever. There are certain things that just aren’t safe for younger people. Banging your brains around for little kids just isn’t safe. It’s a high school sport. It’s going to be an Olympic sport. There is no way you can do a safe sport of 9, 10, 11 year-olds.”

SB 734 heard after 11 months

While many health officials and early childhood development experts agreed with McCarty and supported the bill, many other pointed to flaws in the bill. Many youth sports officials worried that the ban would lead to players not being ready for when tackle football then begins and said that more injuries could occur as a result of not being ready. Others pointed out an overall lack of similar injuries amongst youth players as well as what the effects it would have on poorer and at-risk athletes who rely on football at a young age to keep active in a positive way.

“We have had to fight it all three times, and I can tell you we will fight it again,” added Sacramento Youth Football Commissioner Jay Erhart in a statement. “The league has changed rules for less contact at practices and made the sport safer with equipment. With over 9,000 kids last year, we had less than 20 kids that went into return-to-play protocol for concussions. It’s going to just disenfranchise kids. Those kids in our most needed communities, inner city, our rural communities are going to miss out on a lot, a lot of life lessons as well.”

Jamal Lawrence, a youth football coach in Los Angeles, also said that “When I grew up in LA in the late 80s, you know, football was the escape. And I’m talking about bloods and crips. The reason many managed to stay out was because of sports. Football in particular. Many were looking for that outlet, and full-on tackle football was that for many who would have otherwise moved towards other activities that aren’t exactly legal, if you know what I mean. I know. I was close myself, but I stuck with football.

“And today, it still is for many. Part of that appeal is to act real physical on the field. A lot of young kids need this, and they would just not do it if it was flag football. We are already having a hard time attracting young people in. We’re seeing declines nationwide in youth football participation because of head injury worries. We’ve been doing everything to address that. This thing in Sacramento, it would only hurt us further.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

California proposal to ban tackle football clears first legislative hurdle

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California could become the first state to ban tackle football for children under 12 to reduce the risk of brain injuries under a bill that cleared a key legislative hurdle on Wednesday.

FILE – Pop Warner football players look on before an NFL pre-season football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers Friday, Sept. 4, 2009 in San Diego. The California Legislature is considering a bill that would ban tackle football for children under 12. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

A legislative committee voted 5-2 during a public hearing to advance the bill authored by Democratic Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. But the measure is a long way from passing. It must clear the state Assembly by the end of January to have a chance of becoming law this year.

Advocates say the bill will protect kids from the risk of brain damage, which studies have shown increases the longer a person plays tackle football. But coaches and other football advocates say the ban would cut off kids from a source of exercise and an important after-school activity.

No state has banned tackle football for kids. McCarty introduced a similar bill in 2018 that failed to pass. Other proposals in New York and Illinois also failed to pass. The California proposal still has many steps to go through in the Legislature before it could become law.

“Football and organizational sports in general are clearly proven ways to keep kids out of trouble,” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson, chair of the state assembly’s committee in charge of regulating sports in California. “This bill is not taking away that ability, it is simply saying that we’re going to move from tackle football to flag football and we can still have the same learning experiences.”

McCarty told the committee Wednesday that, if approved, the measure would set rules to protect the brains of the youngest children and join measures that already regulate other contact sports in the state.

“Just like we have (rules) for soccer that you can’t head before a certain age in California, and in hockey that you can’t check before a certain age, (the bill) says to our youngest kids, ‘you can play flag football under 12 and over 12 you start having contact.’”

If passed, the ban would be gradually phased in, prohibiting children under 6 starting in 2025, under 10 in 2027 and those under 12 in 2029.

Flag football has been gaining popularity nationwide, especially for girls. The sport has provided scholarship opportunities for female players, with around two dozen NAIA schools fielding women’s teams in 2023 and more schools planning to join in upcoming seasons.

The NFL has promoted flag football, helping it to become an Olympic sport that will be included in the LA Games in 2028. The league has set up camps, clinics, a circuit and even exhibitions through its NFL FLAG program, which serves kids between the ages of 4 and 17.

According to research by USA Football, more than 1 million kids between the ages of 6 and 12 played the sport in 2022.

Research has shown tackle football causes brain damage, and the risk increases the longer people play football, said Chris Nowinski, CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation and former Harvard football player and WWE professional wrestler. It can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which kills nerve cells in the brain.

“I don’t have a problem with NFL players, who are adults and understand the risk and are compensated, risking CTE,” Nowinski said. “I can’t imagine a world in which we have children, who don’t understand the risk, doing this for fun (and) taking the same risk with their brain.”

California law already bans full-contact practices for high school and youth football teams during the offseason and limits them to two practices per week during the preseason and regular season. A law that took effect in 2021 also requires youth football officials to complete concussion and head injury education in addition to other safeguards.

Ron White, president of the California Youth Football Alliance, said the measure is misguided and discriminatory because if passed, it will greatly impact underserved communities. White also said the science on CTE is constantly evolving.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Blue-state leaders can’t see that their ‘progressive’ tax systems are bleeding their states dry

The latest Census Bureau data on population changes in America should have been a wake-up call to lawmakers in blue states and cities. The Census data provide even further evidence that “soak the rich” tax policies have incited a blue-state meltdown.

California, New York and Illinois all lost the most population last year. These states have nearly lost a combined 5 million people over the last decade. California and New York could both lose another three congressional seats by the end of the decade, and Illinois another two.

Did I mention that these are the three states with the highest taxes?

Is this just a coincidence?

Democratic governors evidently think so. This year, seven blue states are pursuing even higher tax rates on the top 1% of earners, despite the evidence that these policies are detrimental to their citizens.

One such state is Washington. Once an importer of talent and brainpower because of its no-income-tax status, the Dems who control all the levers of power in Olympia just enshrined a 7% capital gains tax, and the Democratic Washington Supreme Court strangely ruled it is constitutional. This is one of the highest taxes on the sale of assets in the country.

State Sen. Noel Frame (D-Seattle) wants a 1% annual tax on financial intangible assets — such as cash, stocks and bonds — over $250 million. And then they wonder why one of the world’s richest human beings, Jeff Bezos, has moved to South Florida.

In Vermont, Dems have just proposed raising their top income tax rate to more than 8%. Pretty soon Ben and Jerry will be the only rich people left in the state — and don’t be surprised if they move out, too.

Meanwhile, Maryland Dems are pushing a “millionaire tax” ($750,000 in income and above), a capital tax and a new corporate tax.

California just raised its top income tax rate to the highest in the U.S. — from 13.3% to 14.4%. The Golden State just moved past New York to reclaim the income tax top spot. They must be so proud. The Dems in Sacramento also expanded the state’s 1.1% payroll tax to include all income earners. The tax was previously applicable only to those making up to around $153,000 annually.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Williams, the chief economist at the American Legislative Exchange Council — an association of more than 2,000 conservative state legislators — reports that eight red states are cutting income taxes including Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia. Oklahoma is set to cut rates this year to as low as 2%. Several of these states now have flat taxes, not multiple tier “progressive” rates. Every state on this list is a red state, except Connecticut.

What does all this mean? The blue-state deep thinkers can’t see that their “progressive” tax systems are bleeding their states dry. Or they don’t care.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

California Democrats Pushing for Legalized Racial Discrimination on Ballot – AGAIN

Could ACA 7 run afoul of the June Supreme Court ruling that banned affirmative action in higher education?

Judge’s gavel on courtroom background. Law and justice. (Photo: Zolnierek, Shutterstock)

Even after badly losing a 2020 referendum to bring back racial preferences, the professional class of race hustlers are back again – with a constitutional amendment.

Proposition 16 would have overturned California’s ban on Affirmative Action – the preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 7 by Assemblyman Corey Jackson (D-Riverside) already passed the Assembly 62-18, and is in the Senate awaiting committee hearings.

If passed by by the California Senate, ACA 7 will be on ballot as an amendment to the existing constitutional language of Proposition 209, which banned racial preferences in education and hiring… but it’s not as if the state or higher education actually honored Prop. 209…

Assemblyman Jackson claims, “Since its passing in 1996, Proposition 209 has served as a barrier toward implementing potential programs to assist vulnerable communities who have intentionally been neglected and left behind for over 400 years. This unjust law has substantially limited the state’s ability to address disparities in business contracting, education, housing, wealth, employment, and healthcare, which are deeply embedded in laws, policies, and institutions that perpetuate racial inequalities.”

Ironically perhaps, Prop. 209 is based on the exact language of the 1964 U.S. Civil Right Act.

In June, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling against using affirmative action in the college admissions process. California passed its own Civil Rights Initiative, Proposition 209, in 1996, passed by voters 55% to 45%, which said that the state cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, and public contracting.

Assemblyman Jackson is pro-reparations, and notably, the California Reparations Committee Reparations report released earlier this year calls for the repeal of Proposition 209, which Jackson says “is a substantial obstacle to remedying systemic racism in California.”

The Globe spoke with Gail Heriot, Chair woman of the No on ACA 7 campaign and Professor of Law at the University of San Diego. She said the new attempt to overturn Prop. 209 “is trickier” because “instead of attempting an outright repeal, it creates a procedure under which the governor can make ‘exceptions.’”

“ACA-7 is all about asking voters to pre-approve whatever exceptions to Proposition 209 that Governor Newsom or some unknown future governor decides to make,” said Heriot. “I am confident that if it makes the ballot and voters understand it, they will reject it. The state Senate should stop it before it gets that far.”

The No on ACA 7 website gives the background:

“No on ACA 7” is a ballot measure committee organized for the purpose of defeating Assembly Constitutional Amendment No. 7, a discriminatory and unconstitutional proposal that would erode and effectively repeal the California Constitution, Article I, section 31 (a). The constitutional provision states the following:

“The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

First codified via the successful passage of Proposition 209, which was approved by 54.55% of California voters in November 1996. In 2020, opponents of Prop. 209 tried to repeal it via Proposition 16, placed on the ballot through the State Legislature. This time, 57.23% of the California electorate, more progressive and diverse than in 1996, voted to keep Prop. 209 in place.

Some have said that ACA 7 could run afoul of the June Supreme Court ruling that banned affirmative action in higher education. But because the ruling was limited to college admissions, the answer is probably not.

As for those “exceptions” ACA 7 will allow the governor, Assemblyman Jackson notes:

ACA 7 will allow the Governor to issue waivers to public entities that wish to use state funds for evidence-based or research-informed and culturally specific programs to increase life expectancy, improve educational outcomes, and lift specific ethnic groups and marginalized genders out of poverty.

As the Globe reported in September:

In other words discrimination is permissible if an academic somewhere says it is doing good.

ACA 7 says that the “State may use state moneys to fund research-based, or research-informed, and culturally specific programs in any industry, including, but not limited to, public employment, public education, and public contracting, if those programs are established or otherwise implemented by the State for purposes of increasing the life expectancy of, improving educational outcomes for, or lifting out of poverty specific groups based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, or marginalized genders, sexes, or sexual orientations.”

The discriminatory programs would have to be approved by the governor.

Click here to read the full article in the CA Globe

State controller wants Ohtani’s taxes.  What about Hunter Biden’s?

Shohei Ohtani could avoid paying tens of millions in California taxes. Not so fast, state says

Congress should narrow a loophole that could spare Shohei Ohtani from paying tens of millions in California taxes, the state controller said Monday.

The Dodgers last month signed Ohtani to a 10-year, $700-million contract, with Ohtani deferring $680 million until after the contract expires in 2033.

By that time, Ohtani could have returned to Japan or moved elsewhere outside California, where he might not be liable for state taxes on the deferrals. That could cost the state an estimated $98 million in tax revenue, according to the California Center for Jobs and the Economy.

“The current tax system allows for unlimited deferrals for those fortunate enough to be in the highest tax brackets, creating a significant imbalance in the tax structure,” Controller Malia Cohen said in a statement Monday. “The absence of reasonable caps on deferral for the wealthiest individuals exacerbates income inequality and hinders the fair distribution of taxes. I would urge Congress to take immediate and decisive action to rectify this imbalance.

“Introducing limits on deductions and exemptions for high-income earners promotes social responsibility and contributes to a tax system that is just and beneficial for all. This action would not only create a more equitable tax system, but also generate additional revenue that can be directed towards addressing pressing important social issues and fostering economic stability.”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

California Gov. Newsom expected to announce proposed budget this week amid $68 billion deficit

The serious budget deficit has many concerned about what spending cuts could be coming.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to present his proposed budget this week as the state faces an estimated $68 billion shortfall. The serious budget deficit has many concerned about what spending cuts could be coming.

“We knew there was going to be a deficit, but the magnitude of that deficit, I think, took everyone by surprise,” said Troy Flint, a spokesperson for the California School Boards Association.

Wednesday is the deadline for the governor to announce his 2024-2025 budget. In anticipation of his proposal and the months of budget negotiations ahead at the State Capitol, CSBA is weighing in on the options the Legislative Analyst’s Office outlined for education funding in its December fiscal outlook report.

“They mentioned the possibility of cuts, but we appreciated that they also mentioned that there are other avenues, other ways, other areas that we can explore to try and make ends meet in the budget without direct cuts,” Flint said.

The report suggested that lawmakers consider dipping into the reserve for education, which has a balance of more than $8 billion, and cutting program funding that has not yet been allocated to schools.

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, has said he is confident lawmakers can craft a budget that preserves classroom funding.

Senate Budget Vice-Chair Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, is hopeful that will be the case, too.

“I would hope that the impact on education would be the very minimum. We do have a $68 billion deficit, so it has to come from somewhere. To the extent that it doesn’t come from some of the education spending, it would have to come from somewhere else, and we’ll see how the governor views those priorities,” Niello said.

About $26 billion of the deficit is from the 2022-23 budget year, which the LAO called an “unprecedented prior-year revenue shortfall.”

Lawmakers did not have all the tax revenue counted up when they put together their spending plan last summer because of tax filing extensions after severe winter storms.

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