• Antonio Villaraigosa,  California,  Proposition 13,  Rick Perry

    Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Proposes Driving the Rest of California Business to Texas

    Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky hold souvenir concrete chips as they celebrate the demolition of two lanes of the Mulholland Drive bridge over Interstate 405 ahead of schedule in Los Angeles Sunday, July 17, 2011. The event that many feared would be the “Carmageddon” of epic traffic jams cruised calmly toward a finish Sunday as bridge work on the Los Angeles roadway was completed 16 hours ahead of schedule and officials reopened a 10-mile stretch of one of the nation’s busiest freeways

    Oh, I mean Mayor Villar has proposed to modify California’s Proposition 13 for business property taxes.

    In what could be an initial foray into statewide politics, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Tuesday for a renewal of progressive politics in California in the nation, including an overhaul of the state’s iconic limit on property taxes, Proposition 13.

    “Progressives have to start thinking – and acting – big again,” Villaraigosa declared in prepared remarks for the Sacramento Press Club, to counteract anti-tax and anti-government drives by the Tea Party and other conservative blocs.

    “If the Tea Party in Washington and their counterparts here in Sacramento are intent on pitching jobs overboard in the mindless pursuit of ideology over country, we have to be willing to stand and defend our people,” Villaraigosa said, adding, “And yes, that means making a case for new revenue to sustain long-term investment.”

    Villaraigosa was particularly critical of the spending cuts that Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature’s Democrats made to balance the state budget after their efforts to extend some state taxes were rejected by Republicans. Those cuts, he said, will damage California’s ability to educate its children and remain economically competitive.

    “Governor Brown, I say we need to have the courage to test the voltage in some of these so-called ‘third-rail’ issues, beginning with Proposition 13,” Villaraigosa told the press club. “We need to strengthen Proposition 13 and get it back to the original idea of protecting homeowners, Proposition 13 was never intended to be a corporate tax giveaway but that is what is has become.”

    Some Democrats have backed changes in Proposition 13 that would remove, or at least modify, its protections for business property, but Brown has not signed onto that drive. He was governor when Proposition 13 passed in 1978 and although he opposed it prior to the election, after its passage he declared himself to be a “born-again tax cutter” and became a champion of state tax cuts and spending limits.

    Does Villaraigosa who is termed out for another term as the Los Angeles Mayor, really think he has a shot at the California Governorship? And, by going to the LEFT of Jerry Brown, Lt. Governor and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and/or Attorney General Kamala Harris?

    I guess so.

    But, Texas Governor Rick Perry must be licking his chops for all of the California businesses planning to move out of state, once this massive property tax increase hits the ballot.

  • California Citizens Redistricting Commission,  Flap's California Morning Collection,  Jerry Brown,  Los Angeles Community College District,  Peter Foy,  Proposition 13

    Flap’s California Morning Collection: June 24, 2011

    A morning collection of links and comments about my home, California.

    The first from my friend Jon Fleishman who had this excellent video from Simi Valley neighbor and  Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy of the Americans for Prosperity on the Los Angeles Community College District.

    Gov. Jerry Brown sees little progress on budget, but insists ‘I’m not giving up’

    Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he was increasingly skeptical that a tax deal could be struck before the July 1 beginning of the new fiscal year, as Democrats and Republicans heatedly blamed each other for the impasse.

    Brown, who issued a historic veto of Democrats’ budget plan a week ago, told a gathering of about 250 apartment owners and developers in San Francisco that he continues to seek GOP support for his budget plan, which includes a tax referendum in the fall.

    “I’m not giving up,” Brown said, even if he has grown less sanguine about the prospect of a legislative accord.

    Although state Controller John Chiang this week invoked a new law to halt lawmakers’ pay until there’s a budget in place, the renewed commotion in the Capitol has produced little progress.

    A critical sticking point is that Brown wants to extend sales and vehicle taxes — which Republicans oppose — until an election can be held. He needs the support of at least four GOP lawmakers for both moves. If he fails, the governor said, he will help gather signatures to place taxes on the ballot next year.

    “It will take the use of the initiative, in all probability,” he said, to restore California’s financial health.

    With talks slipping and time running out, Republicans held an unusual news conference outside the doors of the governor’s Capitol office to blame Brown and his labor supporters for the lack of progress.

    “The public unions and the governor have become the problem in this, not the Republicans,” said Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar).

    In Wood Ranch, nobody planned for this Congressional district boundary

    When it comes to drawing a new congressional district, the phrase “close enough for government work” does not apply.

    And, for the moment at least, that’s a problem for residents of the master-planned community of Wood Ranch in Simi Valley.

    Under case law stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark “one man-one vote” decision in 1962, congressional districts in each state must be drawn to make the population of each almost exactly equal.

    Under that formula, as the Citizens Redistricting Commission goes about drawing 53 new congressional districts this year in California, each one must have 702,905 people. A variance of one person is allowed.

    So where does Wood Ranch come in?

    In the draft map for a new congressional district that includes most of Ventura County, the commission moved Moorpark and Simi Valley to a separate district to the east. That arrangement would avoid splitting any city in the county almost.

    It turns out the commission needed to take 2,000 people from the combined Moorpark-Simi Valley population of 158,658 to make the numbers work out. To accomplish that, the commission drew a line down the middle of Wood Ranch Parkway.

    Simi Valley city officials and residents of Wood Ranch appealed to the commission to find its 2,000 people somewhere else.

    “The proposed boundaries fracture neighborhoods in Wood Ranch and place neighbors living on opposite sides of the street in different congressional districts,” wrote Mayor Bob Huber in a letter to the commission. “These divisions appear inconsistent and incompatible with the commission’s goal of respecting neighborhood boundaries to the extent possible.”

    Testifying before the panel at a hearing this week in Oxnard, Richard Olson, representing a Wood Ranch homeowners’ association, asked that the planned community be reunited.

    “There are 2,000 residents who have separated from everything,” he said.

    Jerry Brown says Proposition 13 could be tested if budget talks fail

    Gov. Jerry Brown hinted Thursday that if the budget talks with Republicans break down, the initiative fight that would follow would not be limited to Brown’s plans to raise sales, vehicle and income taxes. He said he expects labor groups to pursue changes to Proposition 13, tweaking the current caps on commercial property taxes, if no bipartisan deal can be reached.

    “I would expect there will be efforts to accelerate the reassessment of commercial property tax,” Brown said.

    During his remarks to about 250 apartment owners and developers at the Moscone Center on Thursday, he acknowledged some of his failures in budget talks, particularly over his proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies.  “I wouldn’t be ready to write the obituary of redevelopment agencies,” he said. “They’re very powerful and they’re still alive and well despite my best efforts.”

    Enjoy your morning!

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger,  California Legislature,  Proposition 13

    California Democrats Attempt to Balance State Budget By Violating the California Constitution But Arnold Schwarzenegger Says NO

    Howard Jarvis June 1978

    Howard Jarvis, chief sponsor of the controversial Proposition 13, signals victory as he casts his own vote at the Fairfax-Melrose precinct.” June 1978. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

    Even RINO California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will NOT take on Prop 13 and the California Constitution.

    Democratic leaders sent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger an $18 billion deficit-cutting package on Tuesday, a plan he quickly vetoed as anti-tax groups filed a lawsuit to stop it.

    The activity came amid the Legislature’s third special session since the November election to deal with California’s worsening budget deficit, projected at $42 billion over the next 18 months.

    With Schwarzenegger’s veto, time is running out for lawmakers to find a midyear fix. The state controller has warned that California will be so short of cash it will have to start issuing IOUs in February to vendors and taxpayers expecting refunds.

    Democrats said their plan would have avoided what Schwarzenegger has described as a “financial Armageddon,” but it appeared to be dead even before it arrived on the governor’s desk.

    California Legislative Democrats tried an end run around the California Constitution that was amended in 1978 by Proposition 13 that requires any increase in taxes be affirmed by a 2/3rd’s vote of the Legislature.

    If the Governor were to have a change of heart and approve such an outrageous scheme, the California Supreme Court would quickly issue an injunction and/or a referendum petition would be quickly filed by California voters.

    Looks like the California Legislature better get busy and cut spending.

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  • California,  Proposition 13

    Proposition 13 – 30 Years Later

    Howard Jarvis, chief sponsor of the controversial Proposition 13, signals victory as he casts his own vote at the Fairfax-Melrose precinct.” June 1978. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

    It has been 30 years ago today that California voters approved tax reduction initiative, Proposition 13.

    Thirty years ago today, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 13 as a way to keep seniors from losing their homes to skyrocketing property taxes. But the 1978 vote also ignited a revolution that dramatically changed the way people across America look at government and taxes.

    The grassroots initiative has saved California property owners billions of dollars since it was passed, but the shackles Prop. 13 put on the ability of state and local governments to increase taxes could turn out to be its most important legacy. Even today, with the state facing a $17 billion budget shortfall, tax increases face certain opposition from many legislators and voters.

    “Clearly, the Prop. 13 movement had the general attitude … that government and its ability to tax people isn’t to be trusted,” said Mark Baldassare, head of the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. “That’s very much the theme that Ronald Reagan picked up when he ran for president in 1980, and it’s had a dramatic impact on national politics, particularly on the Republican side.”

    Flap remembers the election well and was a California voter who voted to approve Proposition 13. Average Californians were struggling to pay their property taxes as each county trumped each other to reassess property and change the property tax rates to atone for spending mismanagement.

    This fiscal mismanagement continues today with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $17 billion deficit laden budget. God only knows what tax rates would be today if Proposition 13 had not passed and started a nationwide tax revolt.

    California’s LEFT continues to rail against the measure even after thirty years. Look at the pieces at the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times who both editorially opposed the June 1978 vote.

    But, today’s polls show Californians still very much in favor of Proposition 13.

    Across the state, 57 percent of voters said they would vote for Prop. 13 if it was on the ballot today while just 23 percent would vote against the measure. Support for the initiative was even stronger among homeowners, with 64 percent saying they support it.

    About 79 percent of homeowners who bought their current homes prior to the passage of Prop. 13 said they support it.

    “It’s always been popular,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of Field Poll. “And for many years, political insiders have considered Prop. 13 as a third rail of California politics. You just cannot touch it or if you do, you’ll be electrocuted. And this poll is another confirmation of that.”

    The California Field Poll on Proposition 13 is here.

    Key graphs:

    • Sixty-six percent oppose a plan to gradually raise property taxes of longtime property owners so that they would pay rates similar to those who recently bought homes.
    • Seventy-eight percent oppose amending Prop. 13 so that local governments can increase property taxes by more than 2 percent per year.
    • About 70 percent of voters strongly object to the idea of amending a provision in the Prop. 13 that requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase taxes.

    Howard Jarvis with Proposition 13 started an era of limited government and tax limitation. It has also fueled a real estate boom in California over three decades.

    However, California politicians have NOT learned the lessons of 1978. And, this will be to their political peril.

    After thirty years, the “dream” of Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann lives on.