Not a Propitious Start for Governor Newsom
January 31, 2019
By Neil Rubenstein
To the surprise of absolutely no one, California’s new governor has proposed a $209-billion state budget with billions in increased spending and lots of tax hikes. And, as a bonus, he is proposing new mandates on businesses and local governments as well as depriving Californians of the right to vote on certain kinds of local debts. From the perspective of taxpayers, this is not a propitious start.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget calls for spending of $144 billion in general funds, an increase over former Gov. Jerry Brown’s last budget, which clocked in at $140 billion. To put this in perspective, general fund spending was less than $100 billion just six years ago. In California, state government is the No. 1 growth industry. No California spending plan would be complete without new “revenue enhancements.”
And the biggest item on this list is the imposition of the “individual mandate” for health insurance. Remember that President Obama’s so-called Affordable Care Act (which was anything but affordable) imposed a burdensome tax on millions of Americans. (Indeed, it was only the fact that the ACA imposed a “tax” that saved it from a constitutional challenge).
The good news is the Congress repealed the tax at the federal level. The bad news is that Gov. Newsom wants to reimpose it at the state level in order to save Covered California from imploding. The costs to Californians for a state-imposed individual mandate with a penalty? $700 per person, which is projected to raise $500 million in new revenue.
A new state law allowing public disclosure of internal investigations of officer shootings and other uses of force -- along with confirmed cases of sexual assault and lying while on duty -- has gone into effect after the California Supreme Court denied a bid by a law enforcement union to block it. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employment Benefit Assocation challenged the law in December 2018, asking the court to decide that it will apply only to incidents that occur in 2019 or later. The court rejected that request allowing the public to seek all applicable records.
It was about two years ago that voters in Los Angeles County passed a half-cent increase on the sales tax with the proceeds earmarked for homeless programs. Thanks to Measure H, 10,000 men, women and children have been housed over the past 15 months in our county.
News organizations are reporting that another barrier just might fall. Recent reports claim that Cleveland Browns pro football team was considering naming Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, to fill its head coaching vacancy. The National Football League is making great strides. San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals and the New York Jets all have reportedly hired females as offensive assistant, special team’s coach, strength and conditioning coach and assistant coach, respectively.
Now let’s move ahead with female firefighters in Culver City.
Folks I had a conversation with Culver City Mayor Small at the Senior Center just prior to the start of the Dr. Martin Luther King celebration. I told him neither the City of Culver City nor the Fire Department, in my opinion, was serious in having female firefighters because there are no facilities for them to take showers or sleep at the station.
The city erected three “new” stations with no facilities for females. I just wonder if a federal judge in downtown Los Angeles would agree with my perspective. Also, the lawyers might ask the men about physical training. Who set up the PT and why couldn’t the same program be designed for the females as well?
There is a military drinking water crisis that the White House tried to hide. A major study found that perfluoroalkyls-contaminated groundwater poses a grave threat to citizens and military families. The government tried to suppress the study so chemical manufacturers could prepare for the expected lawsuits.