Senate Republican policy priorities aim to make Golden State more affordable

150429_Fuller_ValleyFeverSenate Republicans packaged their best policy proposals on Tuesday, a series of bills aimed at helping veterans, seniors, homeowners and renters as well as parents and students. 

Jean Fuller, the Senate Republican leader, pointed to California’s high rents, high poverty rate and high tax burden as ills helped by these bills — a “first step” in helping make the Golden State more affordable. 

Fuller cited damning stats: CNBC ranked California the 5th most expensive state to live in the country in 2015, average monthly rent is 50 percent higher here than in the rest of the country40 percent of Californians are living at or near the poverty line and Californians have one of the highest tax burdens in the country. 

And earlier this month, the American Legislative Exchange Council gave California one of the worst economic outlooks in the country. 

“Senate Republicans united around a very positive agenda that gives voice to Californians being left behind by their own Capitol,” the Bakersfield Republican said. 

“There is no question that California has become a very expensive place to live,” Fuller added.

Fuller did not explain how the proposals would be paid for (nor did her office provide an estimate of how much the package would cost). Instead, Fuller said the government should focus on the “most disabled” and the “most vulnerable populations” as a top priority, adding that state revenues have increased steadily over the last few years. 

“If the priorities are carefully weighed, I think we do have enough money, especially when we’ve had extra resources come in in the last couple of years,” Fuller said.

Package of Bills

The 11 bills center on tax breaks and proposals focused on encouraging access to work, education and homeownership.

Access to work: One bill restores MediCal coverage for one free pair of eyeglasses every other year for those who fail the DMV vision test. Another bill provides $100 standard allowance for CalWORKs welfare-to-work participants, as well as an allowance for education costs. 

Education: One bill provides a tax deduction for college expenses, while another creates a sales and use tax holiday for school supply purchases. A third bill would create a tax deduction for education savings accounts.

Homeownership: There’s a renters tax credit, a bill to eliminate property tax inflation for senior and disabled veterans, and one that would do that same for senior citizens. There’s two proposals giving a property tax exemption for disabled veterans. And there’s a proposal to encourage a homeownership savings accounts that would help first-time homebuyers with a down payment.

Navigating the Senate

Unveiling an agenda at a press conference, however, is far easier than carrying the bills through the Legislature for a Republican caucus with virtually no power. They face a Sisyphean task of getting the bills through a Democratically-controlled Legislature, where they are a mere seat away from irrelevancy — below the dreaded one-third threshold. 

According to Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Republicans in the Legislature face three legislative options. The first is to have an idea embraced by Democrats, which could carry the bill to the governor’s desk. The other two are either the bill is dead on arrival or it gets a hearing and then fizzles out. 

“There’s three outcomes, two of which are negative,” said Whalen, who served as chief speechwriter and director of public affairs for former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson.

After voters amended the Constitution in 2010 to require only majority approval of the state budget (as opposed to two-thirds), Republicans lost a yearly opportunity to leverage legislation as their numbers in both chambers are only slightly above one-third. 

“For a few weeks anyway, Republicans had a lot of relevance in the process,” Whalen said, adding that now Republicans’ leverage is now mostly reserved for Constitutional amendments.

5 comments

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  1. Dork
    Dork 27 April, 2016, 06:33

    “There is no question that California has become a very expensive place to live,” Fuller added.

    We don’t need Any of this, Just Support Donald Trump, when the Deportations begin there will be MILLIONS of Rentals available across this State. All those landlords sucking off the Government Tit with their section 8 income are going to be in desperate need for tenants. Rents Will Drop by HALF EVERYWHERE!

    The Legal residents and Citizens that are left can find FULL EMPLOYMENT Building the WALL!!

    Problems Solved

    Reply this comment
  2. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 27 April, 2016, 06:40

    On a episode of the cartoon series TOM SLICK they reach the california border ina race and the sign reads PLEASE KEEP OUR STATE GREEN AND GOLDEN JUST BRING MONEY Yeah California wants everything taxed to fund some little pet projects of tax and spend liberal demacrats

    Reply this comment
  3. Ronald
    Ronald 27 April, 2016, 08:36

    You don’t have to be a scientist to know that the subsidized “renewable” energy sources such as wind and solar are ONLY able to provide intermittent “electricity” to the grid, but neither can produce the chemicals and chemical by-products from crude oil that are required to manufacture the components required of all the industries and infrastructures.

    Unless you’re a caveman hiking in Yosemite, barefoot and naked, virtually everything you see, touch, and use in your daily lives is derived from the benefits of our use of one or more of the fossil fuels; oil, coal and gas. Fossil fuel energy has been the foundation of the industrialization of civilization from the development of machinery and products for every industry and infrastructure.

    California also has $billions in ‘tax increases’ enacted for the emission crusade that have also been forgotten. Governor Brown is one of the leaders of the emission crusade, but he has NOT been transparent about any progress in reducing California emissions !!

    California’s flagship climate change policy Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Initiative was signed into law in 2006 when CA was contributing 1% to the worlds GHG’s. And now, 10 years later, CA still contributes a miniscule 1 percent ( 1%) and has had little to no impact on the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

    Yet, CA, by avoiding transparency of the results of the CA emissions crusade, THE STATES ONLY FOCUS IS HOW TO SPEND the BILLIONS of cap and trade TAXES they receive. There remains no progress in CA reducing its contribution to the Worlds Greenhouse gasses.

    The crusade for “green” electric power for the grid alone, will effectively de-industrialize the infrastructure industries of America and drive up unemployment.

    The public, especially the homeless and poor that are paying dearly for the emissions crusade efforts of the AQMD and ARB deserves to know if there is any progress over the last decade in reducing California’s 1% contribution to the world’s greenhouse gases.

    Reply this comment
  4. Queeg
    Queeg 27 April, 2016, 09:32

    Comrades

    Political babble shorting and giving artifically by the power of plutocrats reinforces dependence to the state.

    We need a thriving village of each helping each other free of publicans and globalist s who only extract extract extract from the masses.

    Republicans suck worse than Queeg thought after reading the above brain clutter.

    Reply this comment
  5. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 30 April, 2016, 07:44

    Moonbeam and Newsrom and your fellow Tax & Spend liberal demac-RATS the message NO MORE STUPID TAXES

    Reply this comment

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