Walters: Wrangling over local taxes heats up in California

A change in the governor’s office and expanded Democratic supermajorities in the Legislature have emboldened long-frustrated advocates of increasing taxes to expand health, welfare and education services.

The California Tax Foundation calculates that bills already introduced this year would raise Californians’ taxes by $6.2 billion a year with others to come.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is clearly not tax-averse, since he’s proposed a new tax on water to finance improvements to substandard local water systems and an indirect tax on corporations, via partial conformity with federal tax law changes, that would finance a $1 billion expansion of the state’s “earned income tax credit” for low-income working families.

While wrangling over taxes heats up in the Capitol, the same dynamics are playing out in dozens of California cities, counties and school districts.

The last couple of election cycles have seen hundreds of local tax measures placed before voters, and more are on the way.

The conflicts over those local taxes are increasing in intensity, as a situation in Los Angeles illustrates.

The financially strapped Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is seeking voter approval in June of an unusual form of “parcel tax” on property, hoping to raise as much as a half-billion dollars a year.

Parcel taxes typically levy a fixed dollar amount on each parcel of land, regardless of value. LAUSD proposes, however, to tax property 16 cents a square foot and it has drawn strong opposition from the local business community.

The jousting over LAUSD’s Proposition EE turned nasty last week. Tracy Hernandez, chief executive of the Los Angeles County Business Federation, alleged that Measure EE campaign manager Rick Jacobs told her that federation members who campaigned against the measure would be frozen out of dealings with the City of Los Angeles, whose mayor, Eric Garcetti, is backing the tax.

Jacobs, a long-time Garcetti advisor, denied Hernandez’s account …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Voices from the Columbine High School shooting: Survivors, families of the fallen reflect 20 years later

As the 20th anniversary of the deadly Columbine High School shooting approaches, The Denver Post takes a look back at the aftermath of the April 20, 1999, massacre and what has happened in the decades since. A number of Columbine student and faculty survivors and the families of some of those killed in the shooting shared their stories and reflected on the impact of that tragic day 20 years ago.

Evan Todd at his home on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Evan Todd was the first student wounded in the library at Columbine and the last student to speak to the killers before their rampage ended. Todd was hiding beneath the librarian’s desk as the killers were leaving. “I pulled the chair up to just try to hide a little bit more. They saw me and one of them yanked the chair out and kneeled down. That’s when he put a gun to my head and asked me, ‘Why shouldn’t we kill you?’” Todd responded somewhat defiantly, “Look, I’ve been good to you and everyone in this school and you know it.” The students let him live before leaving the library and committing suicide.

Josh Lapp outside his home on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Columbine survivor Josh Lapp, who is now married with two young children, has a Columbine memorial tattoo on his left arm that reminds him every day of the tragedy he survived.

Columbine survivor Josh Lapp was a sophomore on April 20, 1999, when two armed students entered the library where he was studying with three friends. Lapp recalls knowing that the sound was gunfire and took cover with classmates. He used his own body to shield those around him in hopes that if shots came in their direction, he would be able to protect them. “I was basically peering …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Letter: Great chance for Democrats to welcome asylum-seekers

Great chance for Democrats
to welcome asylum-seekers

Re: “Retaliation against sanctuary cities” (Page A1, April 12):

Thousands of illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers flood our border every day. Immigration and Customs Enforcement faces a shortage of detention beds to accommodate all the asylum-seekers.

Democrats should be very happy to learn that President Trump has proposed releasing these people into “sanctuary” cities.

Reportedly 800,000 are waiting for hearings and 65,000 more are expected in April, so this is a great opportunity for Democrats to demonstrate their commitment to welcome illegal immigrants with “open arms,” as Trump wondered, and to “provide sanctuary to all who seek it,” as Gov. Newsom vowed, and further validate their policies.

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Letter: California’s rich are not fleeing state due to taxes

Federal authorities dropped off 70 migrants in Las Cruces, N.M., on Friday.

Not to worry though. Nancy Pelosi assures us there is no crisis.

Mae Lewis

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Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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