April 8, 2013
Have you seen on television all the commercials trying to lure California companies to New York and Michigan? As I recall my economics teacher used to say, "All the empirical evidence shows that raising a state's tax burden weakens its tax base."
Recently there is so much going on that a volume could be written. We all know about Prop. 8 and the Supreme Court and Stockton's bankruptcy with their bondholders scheduled to receive approximately 17 cents on the dollar.
For many of us the biggest news was a court ruling that private text messages, emails and other electronic communications sent and received by San Jose officials about city affairs are public records. The San Jose City Council and its staff are already required to turn over their private discussions about public business to all requestors.
And now for some bad news. The Legislative Analyst's office reported California needs to pay an additional $4.5 billion a year for the next three decades to shore up the shaky teacher retirement system fund.
NEWS FLASH: The CalPERS board tentatively decided to incrementally increase payments from state and local governments by 50% to offset the heavy losses it sustained from its stocks and real estate investments.
Sacramento is planning to issue $3.7 billion in bonds this year so they can begin construction in July 2013 of the first full segment of the $68 billion high speed rail line that will run from Madera to Bakersfield. Interest payments on the entire amount would cost California taxpayers an estimated $700 million a year for 35 years.
Every once in a while state employees at the state Capitol come up with a great idea. I am referring to the two-passenger diamond lane requirement. What a joy to pop into the HOV lane during rush hour while others are doing the "stop and go." Well, enjoy it while you can because Caltrans is considering a change -- car pool lane vehicles will need three people.
The American Society of Civil Engineers claims California roads are so bad that it's costing drivers $13.9 billion in repairs and operating costs each year, or an average of $586 per driver. Their report also said 68% of our roads were in poor to mediocre condition. 12% of our 24,812 bridges were structurally deficient.
Save all the money you can because high taxes are coming, and coming fast.