Market closing Prop. 13 commercial property tax gap

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Almost 36 years after it was passed by voters, controversy continues to swirl around Proposition 13, the 1978 tax limitation measure. Periodic calls to repeal or modify it, supposedly to gain more tax revenue, so far have gone nowhere. The main objection is that it's unfair because homeowners -- ...

Will San Francisco take a big gulp of soda tax?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Big Gulp, wikimedia

  There have been a number of efforts to increase the tax on sugary beverages in California in recent years, with little to show for it so far. But the next battle in the soda tax war, in San Francisco next November, could make or break the sour-on-sugar movement. Proponents argue that increa...

Covered California unplugs most top hospitals from patients

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Obamacare fix, beeler, cagle, Nov. 26, 2013

President Obama has been claiming that people can keep their favorite doctors under the Affordable Care Act. But anyone who wants a premier hospital in California better do some homework before signing up. A survey of the state’s top hospitals has revealed that most contract with only one o...

Pressure grows for CA $15 minimum wage

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
McDonalds, Downey, wikimedia

  The California Legislature this year boosted California's $8 per hour minimum wage to $9 in July 2014 and $10 in January 2016. But advocates for, and beneficiaries of, that 25 percent wage hike are not content. Pressure is building to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Nationwid...

Expert: CA may need ‘paramilitary’ response to climate change

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
2012 movie poster

  Paramilitary tactics may be necessary in California to prepare for, or head off, an apocalyptic future with flooded coastal communities, scorched central valleys and rampant wildfires in the Sierras. That was the advice and prediction from one of the experts at a recent hearing on climate chan...

Business bills reach Brown’s desk

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Bureaucracy, Arcadio Esquivel, Cagle, Sept. 25, 2013

  While there has been much focus on the impacts to California businesses from Obamacare and the state minimum wage hike, less noticed are the smaller pieces of legislation regulating businesses. Two of those bills, which passed the recent legislative session despite opposition from the Calif...

CA Obamacare implementation funds activist groups

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Covered California front page, Sept. 24, 2013

This is Part 1 of a two-part series. As California continues taking the lead in implementing Obamacare, officially called the Affordable Care Act, the state’s health care insurance “exchanges” are expected to serve as a model for exchanges in other states. The exchanges are being set up u...

Weeds could whack your house and job

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
weed whacker, wikicommons

Failure to keep up your property in California could damage your credit rating, prohibit you from buying or selling property, and hurt your ability to get or hold a job, thanks to a bill recently approved by the Legislature. Assembly Bill 683 empowers cities, counties and special districts (a...

Life imitates sci-fi: Why CA pension crisis is sure to get far worse

Monday, September 16th, 2013

The debate in California over public employee pensions has grown familiar in recent times. Those who demand reform finally appear to have momentum. In Sacramento, Gov. Jerry Brown won passage of a pension reform measure in September 2012. While many thought it didn't go nearly far enough, its app...

Refinery ‘safety’ bill could reduce safety

Monday, September 16th, 2013
California refinery, state government photo

Never let a refinery disaster go to waste. That’s what Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is doing with Senate Bill 54, according to critics of her bill. Hancock and fellow Democrats say SB54, which passed the Legislature last week, will improve refinery safety by increasing the number of trained c...