10 predictions for California 2013

California flag - upside down, reverseDec. 30, 2012

By Steven Greenhut

SACRAMENTO — California’ Democratic leaders are giddy about the future now that they have gained everything they wanted in the last election — voter-approved tax increases and a two-thirds supermajority in both houses of the Legislature, thus rendering Republicans little more than an annoying irrelevancy that can no longer block tax hikes.

Will Democrats just ramp up the taxing and spending spree or will some semblance of a “moderate” Democratic caucus emerge to offer a limited check on those tendencies? Either way, it’s hard to find good news for taxpayers or business owners, although the state’s public-sector unions ought to be stocking up on champagne.

Given that backdrop, I offer some subdued predictions for the New Year.

Prediction One: Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislative leadership will continue to argue that the state government is on a bare-bones diet, and therefore continue to look for additional revenue to fund it regardless of mounting evidence of waste and excess.

“Today, the state’s highest-paid employees make far more than comparable workers elsewhere in almost all job and wage categories, from public safety to health care, base pay to overtime,” according to a recent Bloomberg series. Payroll data by the news agency shows that “California has set a pattern of lax management, inefficient operations and out-of-control costs.” The most stunning example: A highway patrol officer with a pay and benefit package of nearly a half-million dollars.

Prediction Two: The state’s optimistic budget projections will not come to pass. This isn’t much of prediction given that they already are falling short. As Controller John Chiang explained, “November’s tax receipts fell 10.8 percent short of expectations contained in the 2012-2013 State Budget, although they were above the year-ago level. Total revenues year to date are now 2.6 percent less than anticipated at this time, with shortfalls among all of the major sources.” And he found that government spending continues to outstrip revenues.

Tax increases

Prediction Three: Democratic leaders will begin increasing every tax imaginable to fill the gap in what will amount to death by a thousand cuts. When Sen. Ted Lieu proposed tripling the car tax, he backed down as a backlash grew. But that was only because he started the taxing spree too quickly. Soon enough, the leadership will start floating trial balloons including limited assaults on Proposition 13, the 1978 voter-approved property tax limitation that sparked a nationwide tax revolt.

Prediction Four: Legislators will make good on their promise to “reform” the referendum and initiative process, thus assuring that there will be less opportunity for voters — who still tend to be more conservative in their votes on ballot measures than for candidates — to keep a Democratic majority in check.

California’s special brand of direct democracy was born in the Progressive Era, by politicians who wanted the public to have a check on robber barons. Today’s California Progressives are the hand maidens of modern-day robber barons (unions), and are devoted to keeping pesky voters out of the way. That’s not to say that direct democracy isn’t problematic, but it’s better than relying on this Legislature to protect our rights and wallets.

Prediction Five: Waves of California millionaires and business owners will throw in the towel given that there’s no longer anything to protect them. Businesses often threaten to move, and many leave but more stay. Yet the November election seems to have been the last straw for many wealth producers.

The long-awaited implementation of the bogus “cap and trade” market — essentially a massive tax and a policy that will generate increased utility costs — is yet another impetus for manufacturers in particular to head to friendlier states.

Redevelopment returns

Prediction Six: We’ll see a return of every bad idea including some resurrected version of redevelopment agencies — those property-rights-abusing, central-planning agencies that Brown eliminated as he sought new funds. Now that there’s no problem raising taxes, Brown and legislative leaders will bring them back. California will become an even bigger laboratory for crazy proposals.

Prediction Seven: Hopes of local reform efforts will fade away. For instance, San Diego voters chose as mayor a union ally (Bob Filner) over a reform-minded policy wonk (Carl DeMaio), which carried a message to politicians elsewhere who might otherwise have been willing to deal with excessive public-employee costs. New filings in Stockton’s bankruptcy show that the city is stiffing bond holders and slashing services to protect out-sized pensions, which proves that even municipal bankruptcy is no panacea for government fiscal woes.

Prediction Eight: Liberal pundits will continue to blame Republicans for everything that happens.

Prediction Nine: The state Republican Party will circle the drain as it focuses on the wrong issues and continues to follow the advice offered by pundits who never liked the party any way. Expect the GOP to nominate more self-funded “moderates” who differ from the Democrats only by degree and who will continue to lose elections but enrich consultants.

Prediction Ten: Those of us who love the state will hang in there and await the inevitable — when a continued fiscal crisis finally leads to the emergence of adult leadership that embraces long-needed fiscal reform.

Steven Greenhut is vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Write to him at: [email protected].

44 comments

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  1. Dave Boz
    Dave Boz 30 December, 2012, 05:09

    “There is a great deal of ruin in a country” said Adam Smith. There is a great deal more ruin to come for California before ‘adult leadership’ has any chance of emerging. It’s the simple fact of human nature: the more people on the gravy train, the more there are to vote for continuing it. Trying to stop it might be good for society as a whole, but destructive to the individuals riding for ‘free.’ And so the train chugs on.

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 December, 2012, 05:50

    The long-awaited implementation of the bogus “cap and trade” market – essentially a massive tax and a policy that will generate increased utility costs — is yet another impetus for manufacturers in particular to head to friendlier states.
    ==
    This is a the bigest negative on the list IMO.

    Reply this comment
  3. Prediction Eleven: Cities Rebel Using Constitutional Right of Charter Authority
    Prediction Eleven: Cities Rebel Using Constitutional Right of Charter Authority 30 December, 2012, 07:07

    Advocates of fiscal responsibility should encourage cities to seek or exercise their constitutional right to govern their own municipal affairs through a charter, thus freeing themselves from the costly mandates of the state legislature. There should be 30 proposed city charters on the June 2014 ballot for California voters to consider. Elected officials in California’s current 121 charter cities should use their local governing authority in innovative and creative ways.

    Reply this comment
  4. Barb
    Barb 30 December, 2012, 07:14

    Yeah, Prediction 5 is already a sure bet as more companies are looking to divest from the state and move on to a less “tax and regulation state”. Not to long ago an interview between Stuart Varney and Joseph Vranich stated the obvious:

    http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1968563779001/254-businesses-left-california-last-year/

    I’m waiting for another count just in the first 3 months of the new year. Already, as posted on this site, Chevron which has been in CA for 30 yrs, is relocating some of its operations and I suspect will continue to do so in the next few years unless regulations are loosened. (Doubt it!) Apple Corporation has just started a new constructon site in Austin, Tx for a proposed 1 million sq ft operation which is expected to create over 3600 jobs:

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/12/19/construction-begins-on-apples-new-1m-square-foot-texas-campus

    Will business in the Sillicon Valley follow suit? Only time will tell, but from what I can tell, time is not on their side. Even so-called Green companies are expanding to other states:

    http://capoliticalnews.com/2011/11/17/bleeding-green-california-losing-green-businesses/

    So, California is bleeding microchips, solar panels, petro, and probably everything else under the California sun!

    Reply this comment
  5. BobA
    BobA 30 December, 2012, 08:15

    Barb:

    Don’t worry, the Dems have a plan to tax and spend us out of our problems. According to Nancy Pelosi, deficits don’t matter and unemployment benefits and food stamps stimulates the economy and creates jobs.

    Nancy Pelosi is one of the greatest economic theorists of our times and California Dems are just following her advice.

    After all, it was her who said: “every week we don’t pass a stimulus package, 500 million Americans lose their jobs.” Only a true intellectual giant (midget) would make a remark like that!!

    Reply this comment
  6. sean morham
    sean morham 30 December, 2012, 08:54

    Prediction 2014: The s(&T is going to hit the fan in the Golden State. Don t get hit by it. No way the powers controlling the state gov t will allow adult leadership to come to power, even if it is elected. Some people will be food.

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 December, 2012, 09:10

    I am actually glad this is ALL going to happen this year, as it WILL be a disaster and the ruling party will take the blame and hopefully things will change next election.

    I am hoping for a moderate Independent like Jesse Ventura. I do not believe the platform of either Dem or Pepub are the views of the average Californian.

    Reply this comment
  8. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 30 December, 2012, 10:11

    The Chevron story is even sadder than you paint, Barb. 30 years? Pshaw!

    Its California-based predecessors date to the 1880s. Its Richmond operations opened in 1902; El Segundo (The Second) about a decade later. The company was headquartered in San Francisco for decades.

    This company has been here a LONG-A$$ time, as they say. The fact that they are moving a healthy share of its office-related employment to Texas should send shivers through the Legislature (and would in a more sane legislative body, at any rate). In Sacramento I don’t even think they noticed. Or even if they did, probably thought “Ewwwww! It’s an icky-poo oil company! Omigod! Like sooooooo yucky”

    Truly – they won’t know what they’ve got ’til its gone.

    Reply this comment
  9. Ventura Capitalist
    Ventura Capitalist 30 December, 2012, 11:44

    I’m not optimistic that #10 is inevitable. Look how much farther down the democrathole Detroit is, and there’s still no adult supervision on the horizon there.

    I think we will continue to see in CA what we see nationally… the media wing of the democrat party will continue to brainwash the public that this “new normal” is not so bad, and with the work of the teacher’s union wing, those brains get easier to wash every day.

    Reply this comment
  10. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 30 December, 2012, 14:24

    Greeny! You should have let Rex the Poodle make these predictions, or their opposites. As we all know, so far, Zero the Poodle is 0 for 14 ™! in predictions out here!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  11. Dirtbos
    Dirtbos 30 December, 2012, 15:59

    About “Prediction #10”. Good luck on that. As more and more companies leave the state, more and more of those who want to work, and who actually pay taxes, will follow them. Those who want to live on all of the forms of government assistance and don’t pay taxes, both state and federal, will stay and invite their friends and relatives to jump on the government assistance band wagon. The state will go further in the hole while these “mooches” vote for those “tax and spend Democrats” that are destroying the future of California and the Country. I have predicted the financial meltdown of California on this forum before and am predicting it again. It is just a matter of time.

    Reply this comment
  12. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 December, 2012, 15:59

    Greeny! You should have let Rex the Poodle make these predictions, or their opposites. As we all know, so far, Zero the Poodle is 0 for 14 ™! in predictions out here!!!!!
    ==
    LOL..teddy steals cannot go on one thread w/o mentioning the Dobie-where do I send my rent ceck for camping out in that pea sized brain of yours 😉

    Reply this comment
  13. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 30 December, 2012, 16:10

    I guess I do owe the Poodle for camping in his tiny skull! Exhibit one: The above post! LOL

    0 for 14 ™! so far!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  14. Bill - San Jose
    Bill - San Jose 30 December, 2012, 18:49

    We just received this notice and you can expect this to inflate everything including food.

    Have a nice day Californians!

    http://www.boe.ca.gov/news/pdf/l340.pdf

    Reply this comment
  15. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 December, 2012, 20:50

    I guess I do owe the Poodle for camping in his tiny skull! Exhibit one: The above post! LOL

    0 for 14 ™! so far!!!!!!!

    hey Teddy Steals , can you stop spamming the board and every post in every blog with your copy and paste spam???? Is that too hard to ask, or does that not compute in that pea sized brain of yours???

    Reply this comment
  16. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 30 December, 2012, 20:51

    Bill—-

    Agreed……but it leaves me wondering……

    WTF is that for? That “assessment”….errr….”fee”….errr tax?

    It’s unbelievable…….People think 1% doesn’t make a difference….it sure as hell does!

    Just another edict from the Politburo.

    Reply this comment
  17. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 December, 2012, 20:51

    We just received this notice and you can expect this to inflate everything including food.

    Have a nice day Californians!

    http://www.boe.ca.gov/news/pdf/l340.pdf
    ==
    Sweet ANOTHER tax…or is this a “fee”????

    Reply this comment
  18. Eric R.
    Eric R. 31 December, 2012, 03:43

    “I am actually glad this is ALL going to happen this year, as it WILL be a disaster and the ruling party will take the blame and hopefully things will change next election.”

    Forget it. California is far past the point of no return politically. It has evolved into the Californian Soviet Socialist Republic (how interesting that the bear is a symbol of California as it was for the USSR); demogrpahics dooms the Republicans forever, and no matter how bad things get, the combination of Hispanics, blacks, public sector employees, and liberal elites will dominate politics forever. These groups would vote Democratic even if they were left broke, naked, sick and homeless – and would blame it all on the Republicans.

    Reply this comment
  19. BobA
    BobA 31 December, 2012, 07:22

    Rex:

    Don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m sure the dems have a plan to spare their constituents the costs of higher food prices (can you say food stamps?).

    Rest assured that they will tell us that the “rich” can afford the higher prices and it will be a net benefit to us all. In order for their scheme to work, they will have to define “rich” downwards. Government workers will be exempted from the new definition of “rich”.

    Of course, with their super-majority and all, they can’t blame republicans when things go from bad to worse. That’s the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Reply this comment
  20. AB32 Fighter
    AB32 Fighter 31 December, 2012, 07:32

    Rex – while Cap and Trade is now in effect, 2015 is when we will see the full cost start to hit consumers, as refiners are forced to pay for not only the carbon they emit in the refining process, but also the carbon emitted as the gasoline is burned in cars.

    Reply this comment
  21. BobA
    BobA 31 December, 2012, 08:23

    AB32 Fighter:

    In other words, expect much higher gas prices. Prediction: $5.50+ per gallon gasoline by mid-summer and that’s a conservative figure.

    Politicians know full well that businesses don’t pay higher taxes: consumers do. A convenient example of that can be seen in the recent steep rise in health insurance costs. The high costs of Obamacare leaves insurance companies with little option but to increase their rates to protect their profit margins.

    Reply this comment
  22. DaveP.
    DaveP. 31 December, 2012, 10:06

    #9 is already happening at a national level: see John “Defeat Is Good!” Boehner and Mitt “I Don’t Really Want to Do This!” Romney.

    Allow me to add #9A- to the extent that Republican Moderates continue to fail, they will increasingly blame fiscal and social Conservatives for those failings to avoid having to stare in the mirror (see Gabriel Malor).

    Reply this comment
  23. BobA
    BobA 31 December, 2012, 13:00

    DaveP.:

    Republican moderates are precisely the problem with the national republican party in general as well as the California republican party in particular.

    The question all republicans and conservatives should be asking is why is it that most republican politicians never seem able to articulate conservative principles & values? It’s not that hard if you say what you believe and believe what you say.

    Romney is a good & decent man but he lacked any discernible core convictions and he committed the worst political blunder of all by letting the democrats define him without fighting back.

    Prediction #8 is a foregone conclusion.

    Reply this comment
  24. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 31 December, 2012, 13:16

    BOBA H doubles down on the extreme right mantra! LOL—My word Bob A –You are the Repub nightmarte scenario— the hate filled spooky tea party right is THE reason you lost the last general little buddy!

    Good Luck!

    Reply this comment
  25. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 31 December, 2012, 17:04

    Teddy= moe spam comments about what others post, no substantive response of his own, how can he with an empty head:)

    Reply this comment
  26. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 31 December, 2012, 18:16

    My prediction for 2013; Teddy Steals has more major meltdowns as more cities shed scammed pensions in BK!

    Yeah tedddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy 😉

    Reply this comment
  27. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 31 December, 2012, 20:42

    I seem to live on in the poor Poodle’s VERY tiny skull! mHe can’t stop himself—watch!

    0 for 14 ™!
    Soon 15???? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Reply this comment
  28. BobA
    BobA 31 December, 2012, 22:56

    What’s your mantra comrade Teddy, big government totalitarianism good, liberty & freedom bad? Or do you prefer to just drink the democrat Kool-Aid and tune in to MSNBC and CNN for the subliminal messaging?

    Reply this comment
  29. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 January, 2013, 00:37

    Where do I send my rent check teddy-for camping out in that pea brain of ypours!

    Reply this comment
  30. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 January, 2013, 00:38

    What’s your mantra comrade Teddy, big
    ==
    GED gov jobs are worth $200K, that is the trolls mantra!

    Reply this comment
  31. nraendowment
    nraendowment 1 January, 2013, 07:05

    Why do you guys feed that troll Ted?

    All the facts and logic in the world have no effect on a Liberal and never will. Denial of reality is a defense mechanism for them.

    Just ignore him.

    Reply this comment
  32. Hondo
    Hondo 1 January, 2013, 07:29

    Ted Steele:
    Once again. The tea party is one of the most peaceful, non violent organizations in america. Please find one hateful sign or thing that they have done. Just one thing.
    Where as your friends, the Occupy walls street group are the most violent group ever in america. Dozens of rapes all over the country. Occupy is a raping machine, they are in a frenzy of rape and violence. Just yesterday one of the leaders in NY was caught with a weapons stash and explosives. They have burned down a building in colorado, been caught bomb making all over the country, a hate crime robbery in Oakland along with a murder. Thefts, assaults, drug and alcohol use and sale, are the rule at their squater sites. Oh yeh, underage pimping of a young girl in Boston.
    Your friends are the some of the most violent people on the planet, let alone in America.
    The tea party is one of the most peaceful and law abiding groups on earth.
    Hondo….

    Reply this comment
  33. BobA
    BobA 1 January, 2013, 10:18

    nraendowment:

    “Why do you guys feed that troll Ted?”

    Good question. I do it to goad Teddy into defending the indefensible plus it’s rather entertaining to watch liberal idiots make asses of themselves.

    It’s a new year and I do plan on ignoring him until he says something that actually makes sense. Call it the broken clock effect.

    Reply this comment
  34. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 1 January, 2013, 10:48

    Ok Hondo— (and I could do this all day)—- please Google ™ Tea Party hate speech– enjoy little buddy!

    http://samuel-warde.com/2012/07/tea-party-hate-speech-10-shocking-examples/

    Reply this comment
  35. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 1 January, 2013, 10:56

    Here’s a fun read–

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/02/1127124/–The-Tea-Party-believes-in-loving-America-but-hating-Americans#

    Now, kids, you can disagree with this stuff— respect. But as you knuckleheads sail your statesmanship and credibility off the edge of the charts only the dim witted worst of you will still wonder why. News flash— whether you like it or not…….conservatively, 52% or more AMERICANS think that your bloated costume wearing hillbilly elitist hate filled ranks are kinda……well…..spooky. It’s quite ok with me if you don’t wake up to the fact that your “brand” has been fouled.

    Reply this comment
  36. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 January, 2013, 14:29

    Why do you guys feed that troll Ted?

    All the facts and logic in the world have no effect on a Liberal and never will. Denial of reality is a defense mechanism for them.

    Just ignore him.
    ==

    LOL…I love the guy for some odd reason….. can’t help it 😉

    Reply this comment
  37. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 2 January, 2013, 08:31

    sick Poodle–yikes!

    0 for 14 ™!

    Reply this comment
  38. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 2 January, 2013, 17:31

    I own you Teddy!

    Reply this comment
  39. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 2 January, 2013, 21:52

    You “might” own a single -wide.

    0 for 14 ™!

    Reply this comment
  40. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 2 January, 2013, 22:57

    oH teDDy, WhY mUsT yoU ALWAYS have the last wOrD 😉

    Reply this comment
  41. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 5 January, 2013, 07:48

    Happy to give you the last word little buddy.

    Have at it!

    0 for 14 ™!

    Reply this comment
  42. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 5 January, 2013, 10:51

    🙂 OK there it is!

    Reply this comment
  43. Cali
    Cali 11 March, 2013, 10:49

    I just saw a bumper sticker that read Welcome to California the new TJ. If I could I would bail out of this sate. I would love to leave it to the takers that want free handouts. People are flocking to this state not for a job but to live off the liberal welfare system.

    Reply this comment

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