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Investigative Reports

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...

Do tiered water rates save water?

October 10th, 2014 By Wayne Lusvardi.   It must sound crazy in the middle of an epic California drought to say empirical studies show raising water rates to spur water conservation is not likely to result in water conservation. But a study by CalWatchdog.com of comparable water rates in Orange County indicates tiered water rates do not clearly result in demonstrably lower water usage. Similar studies in other stat...

Water subsidies are ‘ancient history’

October 1st, 2014 By Wayne Lusvardi. This is Part 4 of a series.  Prior articles in this series showed there are no real water subsidies. But if there are no real water subsidies to farmers from taxpayers, what about all those crop subsidies? According to Mark Borba, owner of Borba Farms in Monterey County, “The days of being paid to not produce crops are gone” due to the worldwide agricultural market.  B...

Fact-checking water price subsidies

September 30th, 2014 By Wayne Lusvardi. This is Part 3 of a series. Part 1 was on how drought-water pricing violates Proposition 218’s ban on tax increases without a vote of the people. Part 2 was on fact-checking water pricing. Water subsidies are the focus of much controversy in California, with farmers commonly bearing much of the blame. The waters can be cleared a little by examining two positions held by David...
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