Entries by Jon Coupal

Always Check for the Government Union Label

Because of Proposition 13, the unions representing California’s government employees — employees that are the highest paid in all 50 states according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — have a huge stake in who is elected to the state Legislature. While most Californians are aware that Proposition 13 limits increases in property taxes — […]

Unions Back Unelectable Republican to Draw Votes from Reform Democrat

Last November’s election saw some of the most craven political tactics ever seen in California.  Fearful that they would lose the two thirds supermajority in both houses, many anti-taxpayer candidates – usually Democrats – attempted to portray themselves as friendly to taxpayers and in favor of Proposition 13 when, in fact, the exact opposite was […]

"Tax Reform," Government Union Style, Equals Tax Increases

There is a clamor in Sacramento for “tax reform.” But for every political pundit, politician and bureaucrat in the room, there is a different definition of “tax reform.” For fiscal conservatives, tax reform means tax cuts. The State of California takes too much of our money now and this heavy tax burden unquestionably hurts working […]

Public Sector Pay: Transparency and Perspective

Public sector labor leaders in California would rather that the public remain relatively ignorant about how well their members are compensated. But they are fighting a losing battle. Because of California’s massive unfunded pension liability and other scandals, the public is demanding answers. Interests as diverse as taxpayer groups, business organizations, the media and some […]

Government Unions Need Property Tax Increases to Fund Unsustainable Pensions

Let’s be honest.  When politicians and pundits discuss the state budget, very little is about the impact on homeowners. Notwithstanding the fact that a person’s home is their most important asset, this lack of perspective is understandable. When people think about political issues impacting their status as homeowners, they are far more likely to focus […]

Do Newer Technologies Threaten High Speed Rail?

So many lies were told to convince voters to approve the High Speed Rail project six years ago, that most Californians have soured on it. They are appalled that the estimated cost to build, the time to build, the time between destinations and the price of a ticket have all nearly doubled since voters approved […]

Unions Begin Campaign to Extend Prop. 30 Tax Hike

No matter how high taxes are increased, it’s never enough for public officials and bureaucrats who live off taxpayer funded paychecks.  According to these people, there is always one more dollar that is needed to make government “whole.”  And being made “whole” in California means maintaining the highest paid government employees in all 50 states. […]

For What Are Taxpayers Thankful in 2014?

“In this season of Thanksgiving, please don’t blame taxpayers if they are distracted by the injuries being perpetrated against them by our political class.” These words were the preface of this column at the beginning of the holiday season in 2008 and, sadly, little has changed. In fact, in many ways taxpayers are worse off […]

Affordable Tuition vs. Gargantuan Pensions for Unionized Faculty

Californians have abysmally low levels of civic engagement as evidenced by the recent election where voter turnout set an historic low.  And the widespread disengagement of California’s younger voters is even worse. True, in 2008 California’s youth turned out in large numbers to elect Barack Obama as President.  And in 2012 they turned out again […]

Prop. 13 Narrowly Survives Another Legislative Session

Two years ago, when 2013-14 legislative session began, things looked very dark for California homeowners. Democrats, many hostile to Proposition 13, achieved a super-majority in both the Assembly and Senate. Many publicly expressed their hostility to the landmark property tax initiative and one even said he would like to “nuke” Prop 13. Others were a […]

Let Them Drive Teslas

Once again, Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg has thumbed his nose at the working class and other Californians of modest means by blocking legislation that would have slightly delayed implementation of carbon emission fees charged to oil companies. The fees are part of the state’s “cap-and-trade” program, California’s one-of-a-kind effort to reduce wordwide carbon emissions. These […]

California's (Government Union) Attorney General Blocks Real Initiative Reform

Just last month, this column noted that the professional political class harbors great hostility toward the tools of direct democracy — the powers of initiative, referendum and recall. These are effective tools to control an indolent or corrupt legislature. From the perspective of politicians, direct democracy allows the great unwashed and unsophisticated to deal with […]

Arrogance of the Political Elite Costs You at the Pump

It’s election season and finally there’s a bit of good news for California politicians seeking reelection. A recent Field poll shows that, for the first time in 7 years, there are more California voters that think they are financially better off than those who believe they are worse off. However, for the political elite, that […]

Mileage Tax Would Put Big Brother in Your Back Seat

California is known as the world capital of the car culture. The automobile played a central role in creating the California Dream, giving people the freedom to travel, to live where they choose and to experience the exhilaration of the open road. Now, if Senator Mark DeSaulnier gets his way, you’ll have to pay a […]

Why Not Sustainability in a Spending Limit?

Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown delivered the keynote address at a sustainability summit hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council. While the summit focused on California’s environmental, energy and water policy, we have to wonder whether the governor will exert the same effort in support of fiscal sustainability now that he has called a special […]

Cap and Trade Revenue to Fund High Speed Rail?

Liberals and good government advocates frequently decry citizens’ mistrust in government, especially in California. Over the last decade and a half, numerous surveys have confirmed that voters distrust government on several levels including waste, corruption and lack of responsiveness to legitimate public needs. The recent criminal exploits – both actual and alleged – of three […]

The Best State Governors: Two Examples

Suppose you pick up your typical California newspaper and see headlines like, “State Unemployment Far Below the National Average” and “State Running Healthy Surplus; Gov. to Return Money to Taxpayers.” You just might find yourself paraphrasing Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, “Sutter Brown, I’ve got a feeling were not in California anymore.” (For those […]

Crony Capitalism – California Style

It’s good to be in with the “in” crowd, especially when the “in” crowd is made up of Sacramento politicians capable of doling out millions of dollars in tax credits. Those currently in with the “in” crowd include any industry or company that can somehow attach “green” to their credentials. This helps explain why the […]

Is California's Union-Controlled Legislature Waking up to Pension Problem?

Is it possible that the California Legislature is finally coming to grips with the public employee pension crisis? We certainly hope so. For years, our political leadership has behaved more like ostriches with their heads buried in the sand regarding the many billions of dollars of “unfunded liabilities” in California’s pension funds. Unlike most retirement […]

Do We Need More Unionized State Workers?

Government employee union leaders are grinning from ear to ear. Governor Brown wants to hire an additional 1,600 employees and jettison some state contracts with private sector workers. It’s been said that all government work should be subjected to the “Yellow Pages test.” If a service provider can be found in the phone book — […]