CCWC is opening its Tuesday lunch twitter talks (#TT) to all candidates running for governor of California. We welcome the opportunity to get to know the candidate’s followers and to share ideas on the way forward in Sacramento. If you are running for governor and would like to lunch with CCWC, please let us know which Tuesday you are available and we will spread the word to our members, readers and followers as to the when and the where.
Here’s a great piece from the LA Times in 2003. Sure, keeping property taxes low can help businesses but the disparity in the market place is staggering!
SACRAMENTO — It’s no wonder Disneyland’s owners call their amusement park the “happiest place on Earth.” For much of its land, Disney pays only a nickel per square foot in property taxes.
In Hollywood, Capitol Records pays a dime per square foot in taxes on the land beneath its famous tower, which resembles a stack of records on a hi-fi. In downtown Los Angeles, owners of the Wells Fargo Center pay about $1.77 a square foot.
imagine what this means for politicians and political movements…stay tuned
If there is an upside to the failures of the current administration in Sacramento, it is the chorus coming out of the press, progressive blogs and grassroots organizations of all stripes that the time has come to fix our government. CCWC will support the candidate who brings these reforms to the forefront of their campaign.
There are several factors that contribute to the state’s recurring inability to deliver an on-time, balanced budget. Among them:
– Partisanship: California’s gerrymandered legislative districts tend to protect incumbents and encourage more political extremes – Republicans on the right and Democrats on the left with less incentive to reach out to the political middle, much less compromise at the Capitol.
– Term limits: Proposition 140, passed in 1990, limits legislators terms to six years in the Assembly and eight in the state Senate.
– Ballot-box budgeting: Initiative-loving Californians mandated set-aside funding for all kinds of single-interest issues, from education to stem cell research.
– Prop. 13: The 1978 landmark law slashed commercial and residential property tax rates, shifting state reliance to other more volatile sources.
– The two-thirds majority rule: The Golden State is one of just three states that require a two-thirds majority vote from each legislative house to pass budgets.
To all candidates considering a run, we are committed to these reforms. We are less interested in what you have accomplished in the past and are focused squarely on what you plan to do to “fix” our government.
Well they almost do, putting it on the table but not going any further. Capitol Weekly had a bit a few days back about the Bay Area Council drafting a proposal for a constitutional convention and part of the language seemed to prohibit revisiting prop. 13. We ran a short piece on it here.
Now Calbuzz has dug a little further into the matter and discovered that the BAC is:
…suggesting limits on how the convention could change Prop. 13, it is not suggesting a complete ban on changes, as the Capitol Weekly headline says: “Constitutional overhaul would omit Prop. 13 property tax changes.”
So, assuming the Con Con happens, parts of Prop. 13 are up for discussion. Let’s start by talking about what is not up for discussion. Property tax rates established by Prop. 13 are to remain unchanged. Taxes will continue to be raised only when the property in question changes hands. As Calbuzz points out:
So the oft-reported, two-adjoining houses-pay-very-different-tax-bills situation, in which one neighbor’s taxes are pegged to 1% of a 1975 assessment and the guy in an identical house next door pays 1% of 2009’s assessment, would not change.
Something else that is not not up for discussion, and I believe might merit a slightly more vociferous public objection, is the idea of splitting commercial and residential properties so that the commercial properties could be reassessed according to current market conditions but the house my grandpa has owned in Pasadena for the past 40 years will remain exempt. That is peachy for grandpa, but according to a New York Times article from 1988 (oh yes – we have seen this crisis coming for a long time now) while the ‘younger and less affluent’ shoulder the majority of the tax burden when they are buying a home, the benefits aren’t primarily reaped by the California’s retirees ensconced in their homes for years:
The biggest beneficiaries of Prop. 13 were not homeowners but businesses. The law curtailed assessments on all property, not just homes, and there is considerably more commercial property than residential. According to the sociologist Clarence Lo, author of a forthcoming book on tax revolts, California homeowners received just one-third of total tax relief in the first five years under Prop. 13. A whopping 57 percent of benefits went to owners of commercial and industrial property.
Thus, the guys with the biggest pockets will continue to have their low tax rates locked in and I will get to help make up for our deficit when it comes time for me to buy my first house. There is some good news though. Delegates will be able to propose changes to our current 2/3 rule for raising taxes. This is obviously one of the biggest issues and Villaraigosa mentioned it in his exit speech on CNN Monday.
Why the prohibitions, you might ask. According to Jim Wunderman, BAC Chief Executive, there are more pressing structural problems facing California and the convention needs to have the freedom to address these without being locked into disagreements over an issue that is not as serious:
Wunderman said the current proposal – which would not make property tax rates a part of a convention’s agenda – is designed to minimize political opposition on an issue that is not as serious a structural problem as others that need to be addressed. “That’s the way we see it,” he said.
That’s the way they see it, at least.
Just after Mayor Villaraigosa made his announcement on CNN, the Situation Room brought in Jessica Yellin, one of its national political correspondents and a native Angeleno, for a quick recap with Blitzer.
Yellin reports that both Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom see this as a boon to their respective campaigns and calls Villaraigosa’s decision a “tectonic shake up” to California’s governor’s race. Brown believes his long-time alliance with the Latino community will allow him to capitalize on Villaraigosa’s departure but Newsom thinks this will really help his outreach to younger voters since many Latino voters are young.
Or, as one of my esteemed colleagues mentioned earlier, does this open the door for another Southern California candidate to step in? The race continues to be wide open and while Villaraigosa’s decision is not entirely surprising, it does leave one to wonder where the momentum might shift.
This is the future that would be put into place – with a no-amendment, up-or-down vote – under the Parsky Commission. Somehow, the elected legislature of the people cannot be trusted with tax law, but an unelected, unaccountable blue-ribbon commission should be empowered to create this radical change in law with no public input. That’s the wise and sensible solution. Because we can’t have all this messy “democracy” mucking up the need to protect the rich and transfer wealth downward more radically than any proposal ever seen in America. California Budget Bites has more.
It’s important to note that this all stems from the revenue-neutral demand embedded in the proposal. Otherwise, it could never pass because it would need a 2/3 vote. So somehow, a flat tax, elimination of corporate income taxes and slashing of capital gains taxes get thrown into the mix, something that nobody outside the fringe far right would ever endorse. The 2/3 rule, AGAIN, prevents a real solution.
If you wonder why I oppose a so-called “bailout” for California, it’s because in addition to everything else, that attacks the wrong problem. We need a major restoration of democracy in the state, and instead we get “solutions” that don’t reflect the desire of the citizenry. That’s why only a local grassroots movement to finally remove the structural barriers, not a one-time cash infusion, will work. (emphasis added)
There’s also the fact that Newsom opposed this moment’s big change candidate, President Barack Obama. Instead, he joined with most political establishment Democratic stalwarts and backing Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
In fact, some of Obama’s California supporters are looking to bring a candidate who shares their values into the race and have formed a group called Change Candidate for California to recruit a gubernatorial candidate.
“We’re not convinced that Mayor Newsom is the best candidate to lead us out of this crisis,” said Steve Fowler, one of the group’s founders. “We are inspired by the Obama campaign and we want a leader who can reengage Californians with their state.”
O’Connor also thinks there’s a good possibility others will get into the race: “It’s not a good field on either side and you may see some people come in as a result.”
Yet for now, Newsom the candidate looks like a strong contender, despite his myriad flaws.
“But the question is, How does that brand govern?” Cook said.
Being the postpartisan maverick may play well at the polls, but Gov. Schwarzenegger is proving that it translates into being unable to govern the state effectively or find common ground between the two polarized parties.
“It’s a good campaign position,” Cook said. “But I don’t think this is a viable governing strategy for California.”
one year from now we will decide who the democratic nominee for governor is. and still we have only one announced candidate (sf mayor) and one presumed candidate (ag brown). can it really be that in a state that is full of smart, innovative and accomplished people, that there is no one else out there who will run? our belief has been that if enough of us join together and show other potential candidates that there is real grassroots support out there for more candidates they will consider the race. but anybody that joins the race needs to get going soon.
what can you do? please spread the word, join the facebook group and leave comments here about how you think we can recruit others into the race.
lets get to work.
we will be away from the blog for the next few days…we are headed to the texas hill country for a long weekend retreat. we will be back online next wednesday morn. in the meantime, join our group at facebook, make comments here, and spread the word about our effort to find a change candidate for california. with just over a year until the primary for governor, it is high time for someone to jump in the race, we are hopeful.
ya, robert earl keen at austin city limits
The changes needed to put the state on a new course will not be achieved via the constitution we know, ballot measures, term limits and recall mania. Californians for change must come together, forge a coalition committed to reform first and support and elect a new governor who is prepared to write a new chapter, plow a new way forward, next.
The failures of this special election, the 2008 budget debate and the same failed ballot measures before these are common sense proof that the same cast of players and the old politics will not get it done. CCWC invites all credible candidates to step into the governor’s race and reengage the people of California in their state government. For now we are undecided, looking forward to the debate, and supporting the candidate who steps forward with a plan to fix Sacramento at its core.
Has mayor made up with POTUS?
By CAROL E. LEE
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will be at the White House later today, where he will be participating in a series of … … meetings with staff, a White House official said.
Does this mean Newsom’s gotten over his problem with Obama?
The special interests in Sacramento are scheming, plotting and planning how and who best to continue the status quo in the coming election. They have been in charge for decades and left Sacramento broken. The same people cannot be depended upon to deliver lasting change.
They will say whatever it takes to stay in power. They are counting on you to stay out of their way. Not this time, not this election.
First, we are launching “A Virtual March On Sacramento.” We are asking people all across California to march on the Democratic Party convention by petition. Together we can send a clear signal to the delegates that we want a change candidate, someone with a reform platform and pragmatic plan to implement.
Together we can begin to change the game. If 10,000 people signed up to be heard on April 25th, what do you think would happen? You, we, will have party leaders and candidates working with us to improve the lives of all Californians. We will overwhelm the special interests, their billions and their divisive politics with each other.
On April 25th, the California Democratic Party will hold its annual convention in Sacramento. More than three thousand delegates from across the state are expected to attend. Current candidates for Governor are slated to address the delegates. Our goal is to get 10,000 people to become virtual delegates by signing the letter below. We will deliver our message of change to the chairman of the party during the convention.