California Voters Take Free Market Positions On Some Key Ballot Measures

VotingOn Nov. 6, California voters defeated a statewide rent control measure and Los Angeles city voters declined to move forward with a public bank. These results suggest the electorate has the economic wisdom to turn back some of the state’s worst economy-damaging impulses. And it may even augur well for market-friendly policy ideas in the Golden State going forward.

Proposition 10, a measure which would have restored local governments’ ability to impose new rent control laws, was defeated by a wide margin. More than 60 percent of those voting on the measure opted to retain the Costa-Hawkins Act, a state law that prohibits local rent controls on properties built since the mid-1990s. Passage of the measure would have freed cities like Santa Monica to impose price controls on new rental housing, thereby likely choking off the already insufficient amount of new residential housing construction going up in California.

The vote against Proposition 10, along with the passage of two statewide affordable housing bond measures and a new corporate tax to support homeless services in San Francisco is suggestive of a pattern. Voters, aware of skyrocketing housing costs and widespread homelessness, want to see more housing supply.

New housing units can be added most cost-effectively inland, where land acquisition costs are lower. Unfortunately, a lot of the bond funds will be devoted to central city residential in-fill projects that could be built privately for market rents and without subsidies. While San Francisco’s leaders have rightly called for a regional approach to the Bay Area’s housing crisis, what is really needed is a statewide strategy.

It would be much cheaper to build large amounts of supportive housing well inland. The state should deploy affordable housing bond proceeds away from San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego, where land acquisition costs are so high. Instead, the state should consider increasing the amount of social service funding it makes available to inland counties if they approve affordable housing units and take in homeless or under-housed individuals from coastal counties.

In Los Angeles, voters rejected a measure that would have paved the way for the city to create a public bank. Municipal and state-owned banks have become a holy grail for some activists in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The Bush administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) reinforced suspicions that banking is a one-way bet, with bankers reaping windfall profits and big compensation packages during the good times and then handing taxpayers the bill for bad loans when the music stops. Why not end this rollercoaster through public ownership, the reasoning goes.

But, as recent experiences in Germany show, public banks don’t necessarily protect taxpayers; indeed, they often heighten risks to the public purse. While TARP loans were ultimately repaid with interest, failures at multiple German publicly-owned banks necessitated tax funded bailouts that will never be recouped.

A better way to take the excess profits and cushy compensation packages out of banking is to encourage more competition—from both for-profit startups and not for profits.

Web-based, peer-to-peer lending platforms like LendingClub make it easier for savers and borrowers to connect with one another while limiting the amount taken by intermediaries. Alternative payment providers like Veem compete with expensive funds transfer services offered by banks. In recent years, the term fintech has come to embrace a wide array of technology-driven financial innovations that provide viable alternatives to consumers frustrated with banks. It is worth noting that banks have responded with significant innovations of their own – as anyone who deposits checks via their smartphone or uses Zelle for interbank transfers can confirm.

Alternative banking does not necessarily have to be a for-profit enterprise. Kiva is a non-profit that helps borrowers in 80 countries obtain subsidized microloans to help them start businesses. Another financial non-profit, EARN, helps low-income families save for retirement and other purposes.

So rather than pursue an initiative that could impose more risk on the community, public bank advocates in Los Angeles and elsewhere should consider partnering with startups and non-profits to provide better, cheaper and more socially responsible financial services.  The $44,000 advocates raised for the Los Angeles public banking ballot measure could have more usefully invested in microloans to struggling Angelinos.

As for the potentially positive long-term political and policy implications, it seems many Californians remain open to economically rational public policies.

This article was originally published by the Reason Foundation

It Will Be A While Until All Votes Are Counted

vote ballotsWhile some elections offices say all their precincts have reported, workers aren’t close to counting all of the ballots.

That’s because a precinct is counted as reporting after all ballots received are submitted to the county elections office, not after those ballots have been tabulated.

Janna Haynes, spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections Department, said the results that were released at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning make up more than one-third of the ballots that the county has received.

“We have 185,000 and some change that have been tabulated, calculated and results released,” Haynes said. “We have already partially processed another 175,000 ballots. And there’s probably another 150,000 sitting here that haven’t even been counted yet.”

And then there are the ballots that were mailed in. The county will conduct a final pickup of those ballots on Friday and should have the voter turnout numbers by Monday. …

Click here to read the full article from Capital Public Radio

What Employers Need to Know About Election Day

VotedUnder California law, employers and employees have rights and obligations related to election day. These provisions of law are found in the California Elections Code as set forth below:

If a voter does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote at a statewide election, the voter may, without loss of pay, take off enough working time that will enable the voter to vote. (Elections Code Section 14000(a))

No more than two hours of the time taken off for voting shall be without loss of pay. The time off for voting shall be only at the beginning or end of the regular working shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift, unless otherwise mutually agreed between the employer and employee. (Elections Code Section 14000(b))

If the employee on the third working day prior to the day of election, knows or has reason to believe that time off will be necessary to be able to vote on election day, the employee shall give the employer at least two working days’ notice that time off for voting is desired, in accordance with this section. (Elections Code Section 14000(c))

Although this requirement has passed as of this article, not less than 10 days before every statewide election, every employer shall keep posted conspicuously at the place of work, if practicable, or elsewhere where it can be seen as employees come or go to their place of work, a notice setting forth the provisions of Section 14000. (Elections Code Section 14001)

Note that both Sections 14000 and 14001 shall apply to all public agencies and their employees, as well as to employers and employees in private industry. (Elections Code Section 14002)

Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

10 Reasons NOT to Vote

vote-buttonsWe live in divided times. Polls tell us that about equal numbers of voters prefer Democrats and Republicans. Only about 5 or 6 percent of the electorate consider themselves truly undecided and persuadable. That means little things can make a huge difference in the election’s outcome.

With just 2 weeks to go, polls tend to show that high enthusiasm among Democrats will result in historic turnout levels. Republicans, on the other hand, appear more complacent, more satisfied with the way things are and less motivated to turn out.

Given that just a 2 or 3 percentage point drop in turnout among Republicans mean Democrats take control of Congress next year, I thought I’d list a few reasons why Republicans might want to consider skipping this election. Here goes …

1. If you like higher taxes, and you hate the explosive growth, new jobs, and higher incomes, that have lifted every American family — especially the poor — then don’t vote.

2. If you enjoy the polarization, blame shifting, and finger pointing in Congress, don’t vote. It seems like the moment the results of the last election were announced Democrats have been doing everything they can to create chaos and stop any progress at all. Imagine the congressional investigations they’ll launch if they take control of Congress. With Democrats in charge, expect even more resist, disruption, and delay.

3. If you want more violence in the streets, stay home. Groups like ANTIFA attack regular Americans with Democrat encouragement. Black Lives Matter regularly advocates for violence against police. Put Democrats in control and voters will send a clear message to these groups that their approach works and they should step it up in time for the 2020 Presidential elections.

4. If you want to replace rule of law with rule by the mob, don’t go to the polls. We all watched while Democrats found now Justice Kavanaugh guilty by allegation without the slightest shred of proof. They sought not to prevent confirmation by appealing to reason or argument. They worked to destroy a man’s reputation, career, and life — along with his wife, 2 daughters, and distraught mother — without presenting even a hint of justification.

5. If you want to stop the confirmation of conservative judges and appointees, forget about voting. Democrats have successfully stopped or delayed more presidential appointments than any congress in the last hundred or so years. Put them in charge of Congress and the trickle of confirmations will grind to a total stop.

6. If you think open borders for anyone who cares to enter is a good idea, then do nothing on November 6th. If you hate the idea of a wall, border security, or immigration enforcement; then Democrat control is for you. Don’t vote, let Democrats win, and we’ll see millions of new migrants enter America scot free. Not only that, but we’ll also see many billions more in spending on things like welfare, health care, and education for immigrants who flock here.

7. If you want more sanctuary towns, cities, and states that protect criminal illegal immigrants, then ignore election day. Crimes committed by illegal immigrants include murder, assault, rape, robbery and many more. But in sanctuary states and municipalities, police are banned from cooperating with federal authorities responsible for prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes. If you want more places where violent criminal immigrants are protected, vote Democrat in November!

8. If your heart’s desire is more government-controlled everything, then don’t vote. If you agree Obamacare doesn’t go far enough and that only a total takeover of healthcare by government is acceptable, then stay home on November 6th. Health care is only the beginning. Democrats now openly advocate socialism as a better approach than allowing free people, freely choosing, to decide our economic well-being.

9. If you’re ready to dispense with the Constitution and the freedoms it protects, forget about voting. If you agree with the left’s view that things like respect for personal freedom, individual dignity, and limited government are old-fashioned, then don’t vote. The Kavanaugh hearings were only a single shot in their assault on justice, rule of law, and freedom. They’ve been clear they also want to repeal the 2nd Amendment — by legislation or court decree. And it won’t stop there. With them in charge, our constitution and guaranteed rights will be little more than a memory.

10. If you like the idea of breaking the budget and running up even bigger deficits, don’t vote. Obama ran up our deficit by trillions of dollars — more than all the other presidents in America’s 200 year history COMBINED. More Democrats in Congress will make sure Trump and Republicans don’t return to the old-school idea of discipline and restraint in spending, that they can’t cut the size of government, make it more responsive, or bring new efficiencies.

These are just a few of the reasons you may want to stay home and let Democrats run rampant over the election this November.

Or, you can go to the polls and stop Democrat Socialist policies that will hurt our future, damage our economy, and destroy our freedom.

In this highly polarized, divided environment, every single vote counts, and with this election everything is on the line.

November 6th, it’s up to you.

John Philip Sousa IV is an entrepreneur, political activist, author and accomplished business person. John has worked in the financial services industry for over 40 years, built a highly successful marketing company, ran for congress at age 24, and in 2016 created and led the successful movement to draft Dr Ben Carson into his candidacy for President of the United States. John is author of John Philip Sousa, A Patriot’s Life in Words and Pictures and Ben Carson, RX for America.

This article was originally published by Stars and Stripes Forever PAC

San Francisco to allow noncitizens to vote for school board

San Francisco, CA, USASan Francisco will become the largest city in the United States and one of only a handful nationwide to allow noncitizens, including people in the country illegally, to vote in a local election in November.

They are only allowed to vote in the city school board race, and the fear that their information may reach U.S. officials appears to be stronger than the desire to have a say in their children’s education. Only 35 noncitizens have signed up to vote as of Monday, the registration deadline in California, according to San Francisco’s Department of Elections. The state allows people to register and vote on Election Day.

Voters in 2016 approved a measure allowing parents or guardians of a child in San Francisco schools to help elect representatives to the school board regardless of their immigration status. In the same election, Donald Trump won the presidency and has since cracked down on illegal immigration and ramped up rhetoric against those living in the U.S. illegally. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press

California Adds Extra Review to Prevent Voter Registration Errors at DMV

vote-buttonsWith the midterm elections quickly approaching, California officials are taking extra steps to prevent people from being improperly registered to vote.

The Department of Motor Vehicles, which has been automatically registering customers since the spring, will now complete a manual review of a sample of those registrations each day before sharing them with the Secretary of State’s Office to be added to the voter rolls.

California’s Motor Voter program came under fire in recent months after thousands of registration errors occurred when customers came to DMV field offices. Non-citizens are among those believed to have been wrongfully added to the voter rolls, and it remains unclear whether any of them voted in the June primary. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

Will California Voters Approve $3.6 Billion Per Year in New Taxes?

VotedWith the 2018 general election a few weeks away, it’s time to review just how many tax increases are on state and local ballots in California. And while media attention focuses on the statewide tax measures, even bigger money is represented by the sum of hundreds of proposed local tax increases.

Every election cycle, the California Taxpayers Association (CalTax) produces a list of local tax and bond proposals. After every election, they provide information as to how many were approved by voters and how many failed. Using CalTax data, it can be seen that in November 2016, California’s local voters approved 181 bonds, mostly for school construction, totalling an incredible $32.3 billion. Annual payments on these bonds will cost California’s taxpayers an estimated $2.1 billion per year. At the same time, local voters approved 159 new tax measures, mostly increases to local sales taxes and parcel taxes, adding another $2.9 billion in annual payments.

If you add up all the voter approved new taxes in November 2016, state and local, you have to include not only $5 billion in new local taxes and payments on local bonds per year, you also have to add the voter approved statewide measures. That would include Prop. 51, adding yet another $9 billion in school bonds (estimated payments $585 million per year), and Prop. 55, the extension of the “temporary” increase to state income taxes on personal incomes over $250,000 per year (estimated collections, between $4 billion and $9 billion per year), and Prop. 56, the $2.00 tax increase per pack of cigarettes (estimated collections just over $1 billion per year).

Before turning to 2018, it’s important to also note that in 2016 the Democrats recovered their two-thirds majority in the state legislature, meaning they could pass new taxes without voter approval. And in 2017, that’s exactly what they did, adding twelve cents per gallon to the already high state taxes on gasoline and increasing vehicle registration fees. Voila, another $5.4 billion per year in taxes on Californians.

When considering how California’s proposed new taxes will fare with voters in November, history is a good indicator. In November 2016, ninety-four percent of local bond measures were passed by voters, and seventy-one percent of new local taxes were approved. Similarly, this past spring, in the primary elections of 2018, California’s voters approved eighty-three percent of local bond measures ($200 million per year in annual payments), and sixty-five percent of new local taxes ($228 million in new taxes per year). Statewide, Californians approved a $4 billion “water” bond (Prop. 68), which equates to another $260 million per year in annual payments.

Which brings us to November 2018. The table below shows 125 new local bonds are proposed. If they are all approved by voters, that will add another $1.2 billion in annual payments. In addition, 259 new local taxes are proposed, which if approved will total another $1.6 billion in annual payments. This time, along with the perennial hikes to sales taxes and parcel taxes, the other popular new mode of taxation is marijuana, with 73 of California’s cities and counties proposing to cash in on sales of recreational cannabis.

California’s Local Tax and Bond Proposals – November 2018

If historical trends apply this time, California’s voters will likely approve four-fifths (or more) of the local bond measures, and two-thirds (or more) of the local tax increases. This will equate to roughly $2 billion in new taxes and payments on bonds per year. And then there are the statewide initiatives.

On California’s November ballot there are four bond proposals, totaling $16.4 billion in additional borrowing. Prop. 1 issues $4 billion in bonds for housing programs and veterans’ home loans. Prop. 2 sells future revenue from the millionaire’s tax for $2 to guarantee $2 billion in bonds for homelessness prevention housing – that’s tax revenue that has to be made up somewhere else, so yes, it counts. Prop. 3 issues a whopping $8.9 billion in bonds for water-related infrastructure and environmental projects. And Prop. 4 issues $1.5 billion in bonds for children’s hospitals. Total payments on these bonds? Another $1.1 billion per year.

To summarize, in 2016, voters approved new taxes and payments on bonds (not including the $4 to $9 billion per year in “millionaire” taxes that were not new, but were continued by the passage of Prop. 56) totaling $6.5 billion per year. In the 2018 June primary, California’s voters approved another nearly $700 million in new taxes and payments on bonds. And this November, voters have the opportunity to approve (or reject), $3.6 billion per year in new taxes and bond payments.

For the children. For education. For safety. For safe drinking water. The list goes on, and the stories are compelling. But here’s the problem: Even if all of the 2018 tax and bond payments are approved, and those payments are added to the payments on new taxes and bonds already approved in Nov. 2016 and June 2018, the total is “only” $10 billion. Why “only”? Because the estimated payments on public employee pensions in California are estimated to increase from $31 billion in 2018 to $59 billion in 2024, and that is the “normal” scenario, not one reflecting the impact of a major correction in the value of stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Money is fungible. When more tax revenues go to pension funds, vital publicly funded programs are either defunded or new taxes are imposed to keep them alive. Similarly, when more tax revenues go to pension funds, maintenance projects that might have been funded using operating budgets, suddenly become capital projects requiring debt financing.

Californians may expect a deluge of new tax and bond proposals for many years to come.

California’s DMV finds 1,500 more people wrongly registered to vote

VotedMore than a thousand people may have incorrectly been registered to vote in California, according to an internal audit of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles that was reportedly released Monday.

“Approximately 1,500 customers may have been registered to vote in error,” the DMV stated in a letter to the Secretary of State’s office, according to The Sacramento Bee. “This error has been corrected and is separate from the processing error we notified you about in writing on September 5.”

None of those affected by the improper voter registration were illegal immigrants, the agency reportedly said.

The DMV’s director told the news outlet that agency officials “have worked quickly with the Department of Technology to correct these errors and have also updated the programming and added additional safeguards to improve this process.”

Secretary of State Alex Padilla in response said …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News

CA Motor Voter Law Registers Twice as Many Democrats

A California law that registers every citizen to vote when they apply for a driver’s license also has resulted in over twice the number signing up as Democrats versus Republicans.

The California Motor Voter Program (AB-1407) was passed in February and became effective in April this year. It has led to a huge spike in voter registration for the three months from June through August versus the comparable period in 2014.

Under the law, each person who applied for a California driver’s license or identification card is deemed to have a “completed affidavit of registration and the person is registered to vote, unless the person affirmatively declines to register to vote.” Juveniles age 16 years and older can also pre-register through the DMV to be eligible to vote at age 18. …

Click here to read the full article from Breitbart.com/California

California DMV Registers 23,000 Voters Incorrectly

Voting BoothsCalifornia’s Department of Motor Vehicles, already under fire for excessively long lines, told Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Wednesday that it made key errors in 23,000 voter registrations filed under the state’s 2017 “motor voter” law.

In 2015, AB 60 went into effect, granting over one million illegal aliens in the Golden State the ability to apply for driver’s licenses without having their immigration status reported to federal authorities. In 2017, AB 1461, the “motor voter” law, automatically registered Californians to vote when they applied for driver’s licenses unless they were ineligible. State officials reassured the public that non-citizens would not be allowed to register to vote because database safeguards would prevent it.

The 23,000 errant applications did not include any illegal aliens, the DMV says. However, there were other crucial errors, including registering people who had opted out of registration, and registering some people with the wrong party preference.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The errors, which were discovered more than a month ago, happened when DMV employees did not clear their computer screens between customer appointments. That caused some voter information from the previous appointment, such as language preference or a request to vote by mail, to be “inadvertently merged” into the file of the next customer, Shiomoto and Tong wrote. The incorrect registration form was then sent to state elections officials, who used it to update California’s voter registration database.

A small number of the mistakes — officials estimated around 1,600 — involved people who did not intend to register to vote. State officials said no people in the country illegally — who are eligible to get a special driver’s license in California — were mistakenly registered to vote. An unknown number of errors included voters whose political party preferences were changed without their consent. Officials did not provide additional details about the errors they uncovered during a monthlong investigation.

The Associated Press reports that the state will inform voters whose details were entered incorrectly so that they can make corrections. The 23,000 flawed registrations represent a tiny fraction of the 1.4 million who have registered or updated their registrations from the beginning of 2017 through August 5, 2018.

Republican businessman John Cox, who is running against Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor, has made reforming the DMV a key pledge of his campaign.

California is a key battleground in the 2018 elections, where Democrats are targeting seven Republican-held congressional seats. A few votes in each could sway the overall national result and bring back House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Speaker of the House.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com/California