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California on the Skids

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Twenty-thousand layoff notices go out Tuesday morning

LOS ANGELES — The state of California — its deficits ballooning, its lawmakers intransigent and its governor apparently free of allies or influence — appears headed off the fiscal rails.

(Source: NY TIMES)

Mathematically, it’s really simple. If people can’t build, they don’t by property, if they don’t buy property, the don’t pay property taxes. If there are no property taxes, the economy hits the rails, basic services, including police, and fire, follow soon thereafter. 

The state, nearly out of cash, has laid off scores of workers and put hundreds more on unpaid furloughs. It has stopped paying counties and issuing income tax refunds and halted thousands of infrastructure projects.

(Source: NY TIMES

In a democracy, what happens to the least of us happens to the most of us.

SINS OF COMMISSION documents several AMERICAN stories that happen to take place in California but could happen anywhere in America… whenever people come smack up against quasijudicial regulatory agencies: Agencies or commissions that make their own rules, enforces the rules they make, and then pass judgment - usually without the hope of appeal, since you’re appealing to the same commission who sentenced you. 

When the time comes for our elected representatives to explain why the state of California, once the 5th largest economy in the world, is being flushed out to sea faster than crap into the Santa Monica Bay, they won’t admit they allowed property rights to erode. The biggest offender, along the coast at least, is the California Coastal Commission.

As California government continued its grinding downshift toward insolvency, lawmakers appeared to be settling in for an overnight stay at the Capitol as they spent a fourth afternoon searching for the last vote needed to span the state budget gap.

(Source: LA TIMES)

California is faced with a projected $42 billion deficit (CNN).

Interesting footnote. A few weeks ago, I was invited to screen SINS OF COMMISSION to an organization in the real estate sector. But as quickly as I was invited, they uninvited me because they didn’t want to be seen as anti-coastal commission - even though members of this group have been hardest hit by the double whammy of the state’s economic crash, and onerous over-regulation by the triple C that is helping to bankrupt the state.

It’s sad to watch. The Golden State — which a decade ago was the booming technology capital of the world — has been done in by two decades of chronic overspending, overregulating and a hyperprogressive tax code that exaggerates the impact on state revenues of economic boom and bust. Total state expenditures have grown to $145 billion in 2008 from $104 billion in 2003 and California now has the worst credit rating in the nation — worse even than Louisiana’s. It also has the nation’s fourth highest unemployment rate of 9.3% (after Michigan, Rhode Island and South Carolina) and the second highest home foreclosure rate (after Nevada).

Roughly 1.4 million more nonimmigrant Americans have left California than entered over the last decade, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. California is suffering more than most states from the housing bust, but its politicians also showed less spending restraint during the boom.

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

You don’t have to be a physical engineer to know once a foundation collapses, whatever is built on top goes down. That’s why Property rights is considered the “cornerstone” of democracy…. pull that away and poof - viola!

 

California Wildfires - Who Really Gets Burnt? Follow The Money - Part 1

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Fire Victims Feel Burned by Lawmakers Tied to Insurers

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

By Jordan Rau Times Staff Writer
February 27, 2006 in print edition A-1 

SACRAMENTO ” Karen Reimus’ San Diego house was obliterated by the 2003 wildfires, leaving nothing recognizable except a charred jogging stroller and her daughter’s burned bicycle.  Yet her insurer insisted that she catalog each of her family’s destroyed personal items  ” down to pens and tampons ” if she wanted to be reimbursed.

“When insurance companies are selling peace of mind the way they do in their advertisements, nobody has any inkling of the hoops you are going to have to jump through,” said Reimus, a 39-year-old lawyer and mother of two.

She reached a settlement with her insurer after months of wrangling. Dozens of similarly frustrating experiences prompted Reimus and other survivors of one of the worst wildfire seasons in California history to urge that new rules be imposed on insurers. But the most far-reaching efforts were derailed by a panel of state lawmakers that is closely aligned with the insurance industry, offering an unusually clear window on how Sacramento works and how legislation can be determined by a handful of well-placed politicians.

Insurers have spent $25 million on lobbyists

Insurers have spent $25 million on lobbyists, campaign contributions and perks for lawmakers  ” even some who regularly cross them  ” since 2003. Their money shows up particularly prominently in the campaign coffers of members of the Assembly Insurance Committee, a pro-business, relatively conservative bastion within the generally liberal Legislature.

Insurance money  ” more than $1 million in 2003-04  ” makes up nearly a fifth of some of those members’ war chests. And members, their spouses and their aides routinely accept expensive meals, free golf games, hotel rooms, tickets to Laker and Clipper basketball games and other gifts from insurers and their lobbyists.  

See which California lawmakers, that represent you, make the biggest bucks from the insurance industry in Part 4.

Source: Times reporting
Los Angeles Times

See the article on Los Angeles Times website

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Donate now through the International Documentary Association, our fiscal sponsor.

Big Kudos to California Clean Money Campaign. Visit them at CCMC



 
 
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