Majority of Unemployed Have Now Been Out of Work So Long They No Longer Get Benefits

From Conservative Byte:

The jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America’s unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

Early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent – a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America’s 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

Congress is expected to decide by year’s end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further.

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California is becoming ‘post-industrial hell,’ economist says

From California Watch:

Since the recession began, times have been tough in California – everybody knows it. The economy is in a protracted stall.

But it took economists at California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting to describe, in hyperbolic language, the depth of the problems that have beset the Golden State since the stock market started to tank in the summer of ’08.

“California,” writes center director Bill Watkins, “is fast becoming a post-industrial hell.”

That’s true “for almost everyone except the gentry class, their best servants and the public sector,” he writes.

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McDonald’s CEO: cut taxes to create jobs in America

From The Hill:

McDonald’s Corporation President and CEO Jim Skinner says for things to turn around in the American economy, spending and taxes must be curbed, especially towards business. Jeff Randall writes in the Telegraph on his upcoming interview with Skinner on Sky News Jeff Randall Live:

“‘The question is, how can we get the ox out of the ditch?’ Mr Skinner said. ‘In order to create jobs in America, you’re going to have to cut taxes… particularly in the business community.

‘We pay some of the highest [corporate] taxes around the world. There needs to be some leveling.’

Asked about federal borrowing, he said: ‘It’s not a good story… the government has to spend less. We have to grow the economy, grow GDP… and you have to be able to do it in an organic way and not through borrowings and increasing debt.’”

McDonald’s third-quarter profit gained 8.6 percent, but Skinner has said that the economic environment is still fragile.  ”We are officially out of the recession, but it hardly feels that way,” said Skinner on October 21 in a call with analysts. “Consumers everywhere continue to be cautious and hesitant to spend.”

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Taxpayers Take On L.A. County’s Unconstitutional Grocery Bag Tax

From Flash Report:

With inflation eating away at Californians’ buying power, going to the grocery store has become an increasingly expensive activity for the average family. But in their quest to create an environmentally-friendly utopia, California liberals don’t seem to care that families are struggling to pay those hefty grocery bills. The most blatant example of this insensitivity is the imposition of a new grocery bag tax.

Several cities and counties across the state have passed or are considering plastic bag bans in order to placate the demands of the environmental elites. As part of the bans, local municipalities also impose a 5 or 10-cent tax per bag if customers fail to bring their own grocery bags to the store.  This tax increase was never brought before voters and as such is a violation of last year’s Proposition 26, which specifically precludes a new tax—or euphemistically referred to as a “fee” to skirt tax laws—without a two-thirds vote. Los Angeles County passed such an ordinance in its unincorporated areas and it went into effect July 1.

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San Jose faces December decision on pensions

From the SJ Mercury:

The city of San Jose and its employee unions seem headed for a December showdown after months of talks produced no agreement on a pension reform measure that Mayor Chuck Reed wants to put before voters to deflate ballooning retirement costs.

With the Oct. 31 deadline for negotiations on ballot language passed, city and union leaders remain far apart. And it seems unlikely that mediation sessions will deliver an accord by early next month, when the City Council must decide whether to put a measure before voters in a March special election.

Union leaders have shown little interest in negotiating over ballot language that Reed and other council members have proposed. The union officials dismiss the proposals as an illegal violation of their “vested rights” to pensions. Union leaders argue that the proposals would be overturned in court, resulting in no savings and more layoffs.

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California Supreme Court takes on legal battle over redevelopment

From Oakland Tribune:

With once powerful redevelopment agencies such as San Jose’s on the brink of extinction, the California Supreme Court this week will consider whether state lawmakers staged an unconstitutional raid on redevelopment coffers to help close a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

The state’s high court will hear arguments Thursday in a lawsuit brought by redevelopment backers arguing the move to seize redevelopment money statewide violates a voter-approved ballot measure last year, which barred the state from taking away local government funding to pay its bills.

The prospects for California’s precarious budget and the future of the state’s 398 active redevelopment agencies hang in the balance.

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Seats in seven cities, 13 school districts and three water boards up for grabs

From SGV Tribune:

San Gabriel Valley residents will go to the polls today to elect dozens of people to fill seats on seven city councils, 13 school boards, two community college boards and three water boards.

While local governments such as these are easily accessible to voters and often have a great deal of impact on their everyday lives, experts expect turnout to be low for the election.

“The perception is that these issues matter less,” said David Speak, chair of the Political Science Department at Cal Poly Pomona and former Claremont school board member. “People don’t pay attention.”

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office is not making any projections about what voter participation might be this year, but data from previous year’s elections support predictions of low turnout.

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Low-key election set for Tuesday in the East Bay

From Contra Costa Times:

It’s Election Day in a handful of East Bay communities.

Voters in San Ramon and Livermore will choose new mayors and council members, while those in Lafayette and Pittsburg will weigh in on ballot measures.

In addition, Emeryville and Newark have city council and mayoral elections. Emeryville also has ballot measures that would increase the business tax and raise cash for public safety, streets and other city programs.

Solano County voters in Benicia, Fairfield, Vallejo and Vacaville also will go the polls.

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Bullet train ridership projections down in latest plan

From the SD Tribune:

The new business plan for building California’s $98 billion high-speed rail project estimates that between 23 million and 34 million passengers will use the system by the time bullet trains traverse the state two decades from now.

If those numbers fail to pan out, taxpayers could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars a year in operating expenses.

Getting the number right is crucial to avoid public subsidies in the future, but predicting ridership is complicated and in some ways a guessing game. It relies on unknowns such as future gas prices and airline taxes, population growth, traffic patterns and even technology that has yet to be invented.

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Initiative could protect funds for San Diego, other counties

From the SD Tribune:

An alliance of law enforcement and government officials last week began what’s expected to be tough fight to protect funding for public safety and other services shifted to counties under Gov. Jerry Brown’s realignment plan.

The group filed a ballot measure that, if approved by voters next year, would bar the state from redirecting the money and prohibit lawmakers from shifting more responsibility to local governments unless they provide funding.

San Diego and other counties for months have been grumbling about assuming responsibility for felons convicted of what the state considers nonserious, nonviolent and nonsexual crimes in an effort to save the state money and alleviate prison overcrowding. The state legislation took effect Oct. 1.

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