Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday Must Read: Californians Want to Vote Down Brown’s Tax Plans; Counties Could Get New Revenues

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Californians want to vote on Governor Brown’s tax measures, and they want to vote them down, a new poll shows. The poll by the respected Public Policy Institute of California showed that 62 percent of likely voters want Brown’s tax measures to be on the ballot, but only 46 percent said they would vote for them, while 48 percent said they would vote against them, the Chron and CoCo Times report. In other words, the poll provides a mixed bag for the governor. Californians agree with him — and not with Republicans — that the tax measures should be on the ballot, but they apparently will vote against them if they are.

2. California counties, meanwhile, could get a significant revenue boost under a bill that passed the state senate yesterday.

Counties could raise vehicle license fees.
  • Counties could raise vehicle license fees.
The bill by San Francisco Senator Mark Leno would allow counties to increase vehicle license fees with a two-thirds vote from county boards of supervisors and a simple majority vote of local residents, the SacBee reports. The state senate is expected to also take up additional legislation that would allow counties and school districts to more easily raise revenues on their own.

3. Retail sales jumped 8.5 percent in California during the first quarter of the year compared to 2010, the SacBee reports. No wonder California’s tax revenues are $6.6 billion higher this year than expected.

4. The state of PG&E’s gas-line recordkeeping is abysmal. The utility revealed this week that it will again fail to meet a deadline set by state regulators to turn over gas-line records and said it won’t be able to fully comply for at least eighteen more months, the Mercury News and Chron report. In short, the utility appears to have no clue as to the actual condition of its natural gas pipelines.

5. If you own an expensive laptop, then you need Hidden. The special software enabled Oakland police to nab the cab driver who allegedly stole an Apple MacBook from Joshua Kaufman’s North Oakland apartment, the Chron and Trib report. You also should probably launch your own blog, so that when OPD tells you it doesn’t have the resources to arrest the guy who steals your laptop, you can then get the media to pressure the cops into doing so.

6. The state assembly passed a bill by Sandre Swanson that will make it easier for police and prosecutors to target human traffickers, the Trib reports.

7. The assembly also approved the so-called California Dream Act, which will allow illegal immigrant college students who graduated from state high schools to become eligible for financial aid, AP reports.

8. And finally, the assembly passed an anti-bullying bill that would require schools to pay closer attention when kids are being bullied, the Chron reports. Seth’s Law is named after a 13-year-old Kern County youth who committed suicide after years of being bullied at school.

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