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Investigative Reports

Stormwater tax drowns voters

October 21st, 2014 By Wayne Lusvardi. California is embarking on a program of capturing storm water from flood control channels for urban landscaping at high costs.  And stormwater capture projects won’t require voter approval under Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act, because courts have ruled stormwater recapture is not a tax on top of basic water service. Prior to 2014, there was no taxing authority and...

Counties vie for ‘disadvantaged’ cap-and-trade bucks

October 16th, 2014 By Dave Roberts.   In the fictional town of Lake Woebegon, all of the children are above average. But in the real world of California, all of the counties are disadvantaged. Or so it seemed at a recent California Air Resources Board meeting as officials from all over the state poor-mouthed their districts to gain a share of cap-and-trade funds set aside for “disadvantaged communities.” ...

Tiered pricing ends up subsidizing solar panels for the rich

October 15th, 2014 By Wayne Lusvardi.   In a new development for energy conservation, it turns out charging more for electricity, the more juice is used, could be bad for the environment. This "tiered pricing" is also called Increasing Block Pricing. IBP is pushing some homeowners into installing uneconomic rooftop solar panel installations. IBP is not set by “Big Oil,” but is a policy set by the state Legis...

Lack of mental health accounting ‘sheer craziness’

October 13th, 2014 By Dave Roberts.   In 2004 California voters passed Proposition 63, based on the promise it would tax the rich to help the state’s mentally ill population. But 10 years later, while it’s been successful in taking about $10 billion from top earners, state officials are largely clueless about whether the money has been well spent. The problem is a “dilapidated, antiquated” data collecti...
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