Culver City Observer -

(Oh, No) A New State Tax Bill Is Pending


September 6, 2015

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

Did you feel the big hand of those in Sacramento reaching out to “swipe” our money by trying to pass SBX-1 in this special session of the state legislature?

The author, Senator Jim Beall, a Democrat from San Jose, would impose another tax on a gallon of gasoline, and this time it’s 12 cents. Perhaps you remember Sacramento raised that tax in February 2015 by 18 cents to 36 cents and our federal government wants an additional .15 to .25 cents per gallon on the federal side. Also, the bill would raise the car license fee by 50% and raise the cost to register a vehicle by 80%.

The politicians claim money is needed for roads and they are looking to raise at least $3.5 billion annually on the backs of California drivers even though State Controller Betty Yee has said the state is awash in cash. Current tax receipts are almost $6 billion over expectations.

Let’s not forget much of the money taxpayers have provided through gas taxes and fees has been spent by the legislature for other purposes. This year’s state budget increased spending by $7.5 billion, yet they ignored spending on roads. Now they are reaching for your wallet, demanding more money if they are going to fix the potholes.

As soon as you read this call our State Senator Holly Mitchell’s office, (213) 745-6656, and urge her to vote NO. The bill is currently in the State Appropriations Committee, (916) 651-4101. Although I spoke to Larissa, any staff person can register your disapproval.

Theodorsia and I just returned to Culver City from a wonderful seven-week vacation. Although more will be written later about the sights, we had an enjoyable time being with the family at a wedding, three reunions, several gatherings and two birthdays.

By the time the postman finished delivering the mail I realized a bulldozer would be needed to transport the trash to the landfill. Vacations were necessary but a job just might be needed, so I began to read Money Magazine’s July 2015 issue and discovered how companies are paying their employees an average of almost $700 for participating in wellness programs. Cousin Neil could get $179 for completing a questionnaire about health, diet and lifestyle. Flu shots and some cancer screenings are free and there’s a reward averaging $161 for preventive care. Those who quit smoking could get up to $323 and weight management programs pay $141 on average.

Did you know the average we paid for a gallon of gasoline in Georgia was $2.17? Yes, except for Atlanta the gas was darn near two bucks a gallon cheaper.

Are you puzzled when deciding at which hospital to get your treatment or operation? Today the decision is made a lot easier when you use the Medicare Hospital Compare website, Hospital procedures and costs are laid out.

Just because my 1996 Toyota Tercel has less than 100,000 miles and gets approximately 33 miles per gallon doesn’t mean I’m not looking at the auto showrooms. The vehicle that gets me excited is the Volvo XC90 SUV. Here are just a few of the safety items engineered into this vehicle: radar-based cruise control keeps the Volvo a safe distance from traffic ahead; cameras monitor traffic ahead for automatic lane centering and if the car senses you’re letting it drift, it vibrates the steering wheel; radar scans your blind spots and if you attempt to merge into an occupied lane, an alarm sounds and lights in the side mirror flash. There are a lot more features, but for $50,000 I’m sold. Sign me up!

For those pilots in our naval aviation, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in April that the F-35 “should be and almost certainly will be the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.” Are layoffs coming?

I bet you didn’t know more than 80 nations already use unmanned drones and the next generation will be jet-powered and capable of air-to-air combat. In the U.S. the Navy’s X-47B has already made unmanned landings on an aircraft carrier. China is also developing drones. It has three drone strike programs in the works.

Sometime in late 2014 or early 2015 China reportedly tested its top-secret Divine Eagle. Built by the “Hush Hush” division of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the drone aircraft as seen in leaked drawings has a unique double body design which can carry up to seven radars of varying types. That mix of sensors could allow it to detect and hunt down stealth planes at long range.

I hate mosquitoes and not just a little bit but a whole bunch. As Theodorsia and I traveled this great nation this year from Winchester, Virginia to Tampa, Florida I was attacked by those mean flying bloodsuckers so many times, I thought it was a conspiracy by the NSA, FBI or CIA. To control the little devils the government plans to release DNA-modified mosquitoes to prevent millions from reproducing, a little idea whose time has come.

For those who missed an article, ally my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in the website’s search box.


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