MOORLACH UPDATE — Closed Doors — October 13, 2015

The Voice of OC, in the first piece below, addresses SB 331, which is one of the best bills to show the voters who really runs Sacramento, and it’s obviously not the voters. I’m honored that the piece quotes from MOORLACH UPDATE — Bill Killer — October 10, 2015 october 10, 2015 john moorlach.

The best way to summarize this legislative travesty is to rephrase a quote from the article:

"What SB 331 says is . . . public employee unions can have it both ways by avoiding transparency while allowing them to contribute to elected officials that vote on their contracts, thus successfully garnering sweetheart deals behind closed doors."

Now that this year’s legislative session has concluded, allow me to share a few thoughts. State Senator Joel Anderson and I selected the twenty worst bills on the Governor’s desk, with a little help from FlashReport publisher Jon Fleischman (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Worst and Vaguest — September 22, 2015 september 22, 2015 john moorlach or Let’s see how it went.

By the end of this last weekend, Governor Brown vetoed 40 percent of the bills we thought were the best candidates for veto.

Bill Summary Status
AB X2-15 Assisted Suicide Signed by Gov
AB 2 Return of Cronyism and Property Rights Abuse Signed by Gov
AB 465 Let Every Employee Sue Their Employer Vetoed
AB 504 The Stop Effective Local Solutions Measure Vetoed
AB 561 Ag Labor Appeal Ransom Vetoed
AB 622 No E-Verify Use for Employers Signed by Gov
AB 692 Buying Low Carbon Fuel (Since No One Else Will) Signed by Gov
AB 768 Stop Pro Baseball Players from Chewing Tobacco Signed by Gov
AB 775 The "You Must Counsel for Abortions" Law Signed by Gov
AB 888 Microbead sale and distribution ban Signed by Gov
AB 1288 Expanding Unelected Air Resources Board Signed by Gov
AB 1293 Saving Gov’t Employees from Economic Downturns Vetoed
AB 1354 Gov’t Intrusion to Your Business Payroll Records Vetoed
AB 1461 Voter Fraud Expansion/Motor Voter Registration Signed by Gov
SB 99 Caltrans Engineers’ Union Pay Spike Signed by Gov
SB 292 Homeowners Pay for Public Employee Pensions Vetoed
SB 331 Protect Union Closed Door Deal Negotiations Signed by Gov
SB 350 California "Economic Cooling" Bill Signed by Gov
SB 376 Stop U.C. from Contracting Out Services to save $$ Vetoed
SB 682 Prohibition on Courts Contracting Out Vetoed

Of the 941 bills that reached Governor Brown’s desk, he signed 808 and vetoed 133. That is an overall 14% veto rate.

There were just over 2,300 bills introduced this year. So, about 41% of introduced bills actually made it to the Governor’s Desk.

As a freshman, I came in with my own strong perspectives. One was the precariousness of the state’s budget and the propensity to grant tax credits without regard for their impact on the net tax revenues generated.

During an interview with the Orange County Register’s editorial board earlier this year, I stated that I was opposed to income tax credits that favored specific industries. The one discussed was the film industry. The State of Louisiana is literally choking on this specific tax credit, as it has had a serious negative impact on their annual budget.

I decided to go after a number of the tax credits that were proposed this year. The big one was the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which gives money to those who earned some $7,000 or less. It is estimated to cost the state $480 million. When the Governor is looking for a managed care organization tax of more than $1 billion, it was disingenuous to build the budget on this kind of political give-away. Opposed for the projected cost, I also don’t know if anyone will really utilize this tax credit as it will be more expensive to adequately comply with the tax credit than it’s likely worth to those it is targeted to help. I was the only vote against the Senate version of the EITC, SB 38 (Liu), on the Floor on June 3rd.

During a private meeting with the Director of Finance, Michael Cohen, I asked him who was monitoring this flurry of proposals and how would they affect the state’s bottom line. It appears that the Governor was, as hevetoed nine of them over the weekend. Here is a chart with these vetoed bills.

Bill Topic Moorlach Committee Moorlach Floor
AB 35 (Chiu) Income taxes: credits: low-income housing: allocation increase. Abstain No (one of only two noes)
AB 88 (Gomez) Sales and use taxes: exemption: energy or water efficient home appliances. No No (five noes)
AB 99 (Perea) Personal income taxes: income exclusion: mortgage debt forgiveness. Aye Aye
AB 428 (Nazarian) Income tax credit for seismic retrofits. No No (Only no)
AB 437 (Atkins) Research and Development: Small Business Grant Program. Abstain Abstain
AB 515 (Eggman) Income taxes: credits: food bank donations. Aye Aye
AB 931 (Irwin) Taxation: credit: hiring Aye Aye
SB 251 (Roth) Disability access: civil rights: income tax credit. Abstain (Judiciary)

Aye (Gov & Finance)

SB 377 (Beall) Income taxes: insurance taxes: credits: low-income housing: sale of credit. Aye Aye

AB 99 was a conformity bill between Federal and State Income Tax Law. This one should not have been vetoed as conformity is a form of simplification and no legislators opposed this bill. For AB 437, for as much as I support small businesses, I decided to abstain because of budget concerns. AB 515 falls in line with my concerns for assisting the homeless population and my concerns about overall tax equity and avoiding double deductions were addressed in committee.

SB 251 found me debating Sen. Roth in Judiciary Committee on the size of the credit that was intended to help business owners comply with onerous costs of complying with vague and often conflicting accommodations for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I supported the ADA resolution to reduce frivolous law suits. After a lively discussion with Sen. Roth directly before the Governance and Finance Committee, I became supportive of his measure. It’s a shame that this bill had to be vetoed due to the concern over the credit component. At least I can say that I tried to make this a more palatable bill.

SB 377 (Beall) was not an added burden to the budget, but a sale of existing credits. As Sen. Beall is carrying the Governor’s proposals on additional taxes to supposedly improve our roads and highways, it’s surprising that he would turn against the good Senator on this bill.

There are even more ironies with many of the bills that the Governor signed and vetoed. The mixed messages provide enough material for columnists up and down the state. Overall, let’s not forget that it’s a blue state, run by a Governor who is trying, albeit in an odd way, to provide some balance. Which brings to mind the old mid-west phrase, "It could have been worse."

The next question is, "How much worse?" This concern is answered by Katy Grimes in the second piece below. To summarize: If you can’t fix what you are supposed to, try to fix something that isn’t within your jurisdiction, something akin to catching a moonbeam in your hand, like global warming.

Governor Signs CRONEY Bill Into Law

By Nick Gerda

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a union-backed bill Friday requiring local governments that have passed laws mandating additional disclosures during labor negotiations to also disclose more about their contract negotiations with private companies.

The Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act, or CRONEY, is organized labor’s response to a trend among local governments, particularly in conservative jurisdictions like Orange County, to pass Civic Openness in Negotiations, or COIN, laws focused on labor negotiations.

CRONEY will apply to all contracts with private companies worth more than $250,000. The provisions would no longer apply if the local agency suspends or repeals its COIN ordinance.

A key supporter hailed Brown’s signature of the law, also known as SB 331, as a win against one-sided targeting of workers.

“It’s a huge victory for working people against discriminatory tactics by politicians who have put the interests of corporations who support their campaigns above good governing,” said Jennifer Muir, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), which was the driving force behind CRONEY.

“What SB 331 says is…politicians can’t have it both ways and target employees for transparency while allowing corporations who are competing for the same work negotiate for sweetheart deals behind closed doors.”

Meanwhile, state Sen. John Moorlach, a leading proponent of the county’s COIN law who has long clashed with OCEA, depicted CRONEY as a law focused on a problem that doesn’t exist.

“I was not amused, but I was also not surprised,” wrote Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), in his daily Moorlach Update.

“There have been no arrests or indictments of any County Supervisors, any contractors, or lobbyists in Orange County for contracting conflicts of interest. How can you state there is a problem, when it is purely speculative and not validated by actual legal processes?” he wrote of the law the day before Brown’s announcement.

The county’s COIN law requires, among other things, public disclosure of offers and counter-offers during negotiations, a more detailed financial analysis of proposed agreements and the posting of proposed contracts 30 days before voting on their approval.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors recently suspended it, so CRONEY wouldn’t take effect unless they re-instate COIN in the future.

In addition to the county, four other local governments in California have adopted COIN laws: the cities of Costa Mesa, Fullerton, and Beverly Hills, as well as the East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Among CRONEY’s provisions is a requirement that an independent auditor produce a public report on the cost of proposed contracts at least 60 days before their approval. That also applies to changes to contracts.

Agencies would also have to disclose negotiation offers and counteroffers on their websites within 24 hours, details about negotiation sessions, and verbal and written communications with company representatives within 24 hours. Contracts would also have to be heard at two public meetings before being approved.

The original bill applied to contracts worth $50,000 or more. But the final bill increased the threshold to $250,000 and exempts contracts that are in response to a state of emergency.

(Click here to read CRONEY’s official legislative analysis)

You can contact Nick Gerda at ngerda, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

Katy Grimes

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Non-Profit State

Posted by Katy Grimes

Talking incessantly about climate change as “the most important issue of our time,” has allowed politicians to avoid focusing on serious failures and incompetent leadership. With California Gov. Jerry Brown lobbying for and signing the controversial Senate Bill 350 – even with the gas reductions amended out – he has thrown up a huge diversion, while simultaneously helping to sink our economy even further.

“This law should be called the California Economic Cooling Act, because SB 350 puts California’s economic recovery on ice,” said Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. “By almost every measure, California is already the most expensive state in which to build a business and raise a family. SB 350 is projected to double California’s electricity costs, which are already among the nation’s highest.”

“What business wants to come to California, where we’re making it economically impossible to survive?” Moorlach asked. ”While California lawmakers are busy trying to save the world, they’re simultaneously bringing extinction to California’s economic competitiveness.”

Jerry Brown inherited the Golden State, the land of opportunity. Now everything he touches turns Brown.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s Reign of Ruin

While the U.S. has President Obama touting climate change diversions, in California we have our own failure: Gov. Jerry Brown. Illegal immigrants are taking over California, and now they’ll be registered to vote, thanks to a bill Brown just signed. Unemployment is high, we pay the highest taxes in the nation, and the public school system is terrible, ranking third to last in the nation. In the Los Angeles Unified School District – the largest in the state – minority drop out rates exceed 60 percent.

And all Jerry Brown does is proselytize about climate change.

In 2010, Brown won election by promising to be a pragmatic, no-nonsense problem-solver, and not ideological. He has done the exact opposite, with the assistance of California’s liberal media.

Brown has never balanced the state budget, despite his claims. The state economy is a disaster, despite his claim, “California is back.”

Each of his budgets has carved out the debt he doesn’t like – specifically $600 billion in unfunded pension and retiree health care debt.

Brown’s 2015 budget carved out transportation spending, despite very high transportation taxes. Brown tried to get the Democratically-dominated Legislature to pass a bill to increase taxes to spend on transportation maintenance, repairs and infrastructure. But he failed at even that.

Governor Green – Brown’s Eco-Terrorists

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency terrorizes the country, imposing impossible regulations on natural gas fracking, its perpetual war on coal, and regulating every body of water in the country, including streams, ponds, and even standing water in privately owned parking lots.

The EPA writes the rules with minimal guidance from Congress. Even worse, the courts commonly defer to “experts” in Obama’s executive-branch agencies in interpreting these rules.

Steve Moors illustration, Jerry brown

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Air Resources Board is the environmentalist terrorist. The ARB receives no legislative oversight under Brown. But they implement the state’s bottomless climate change agenda, and have gone as far as imposing illegal taxes against California businesses. Under Brown, the ARB implemented a cap and trade scheme, extorting excessive amounts of money from businesses they deem polluters, for the privilege of continuing to do business in the state.

The Democratic Party and Brown’s decades of ignoring important water policy and infrastructure have made California’s latest drought worse. Brown announced in April that private citizens and small businesses will have their water usage restricted, monitored, and subject to heavy fines if state water police determine that too much water is being used.

California farmers have been denied water for years to save the non-indigenous Delta Smelt fish, and environmentalists have blocked needed increased water storage at every opportunity.

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Most recently, Brown took a big blow when he came away empty handed from his legislative special sessions to pass taxes on transportation and the state’s Medicaid welfare financing.

And, Brown’s signature climate change legislation failed. SB 350, authored by Sen. President Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, would have mandated the reduction of 50 percent in the use of petroleum-based fuels, 50 percent reduction in energy use by existing buildings and increases the Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent from 33 percent. Ironically, upon assuming the role of Senate President, De Leon purchased his own fleet of brand new, gigantic black SUVs, so he and his entourage can be driven in a style becoming a President…

SB 350 would have ground California’s economy to a halt, faster than the previous climate change mandates are. Some legislative Democrats recognized this and amended the bill to remove the 50 percent reduction of gas. But Brown got even and signed the remainder of the bill into law, which will force all buildings in the state to adhere to California’s absurd and impossible clean energy policies through outlandishly expensive retrofits, performed by the crony special interests cashing in on climate change mandates that they lobbied for. And increasing the mandate of 33 percent renewables used in electricity production to 50 percent when the state can’t even meet the current 33 percent, is going to kill the few remaining industries left in California. But that’s okay because Jerry Brown and Kevin de Leon say new industries are being created in this new, “green” economy.

The transportation mess in the state is getting dangerous, with roads and bridges crumbling. But Gov. Brown waited until three weeks before the end of the special session to spring his devious plan on the Legislature.

The 10-year, $37 billion proposal would have raised gas taxes by six cents a gallon, and increased vehicle fees by $65. The claim was the tax revenue would have funded the state’s $60 billion backlog of highway and bridge maintenance and repairs, as well as the unpopular high-speed rail and mass transit scheme. Interestingly, Brown needed Republican support and was confident he could garner the votes at the last minute.

Epic Failure.

“…crumbling roads and broken health care promises will define his legacy far more than any train or tunnel,” several newspaper editorials reported. Instead of fixing what exists, Brown Jr. is committing untold tens of billions to a high-speed rail system that almost nobody outside a public employee union wants.

The transportation taxes would have ended up feeding the pension debt monster, just as Brown’s Proposition 30 has. Prop 30 was supposed to go to schools – remember?

California is Back – Not

If “California is back,” as Brown loves to say, how can 1.5 million Californians be unemployed? And one-fifth of the state’s labor force is underemployed.

But even the official unemployment number does not fully reflect the state of the California economy, nor the dire conditions of the state’s residents. Rather than creating policies to incentivize businesses, the state’s politicians are focused on increasing the minimum wage for low-paying jobs. That’s like offering an aspirin to treat the headache caused by a brain tumor.

How to create a healthy business environment once again in California is never in the governor’s speeches, nor does he discuss the high poverty rate in California, or California’s highest welfare and food stamp dependency in the nation.

Brown openly mocks people who speak of the exodus of businesses leaving California for healthier states, and those who voluntarily move to Texas in search of a better life.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, announced last Spring it would move its headquarters to Texas, and take 3,000 jobs. Brown just said, “Change is inevitable.”

Yet the state of Texas has managed to attract Google, Cisco, Intel, IBM, Facebook, Apple, and Oracle, all of which are expanding operations — anywhere but in California. Apparently the beautiful climate in California doesn’t extend to the bottom line, as Brown likes to say.

“The list of state and locally based companies that either fled California or subtracted jobs in recent years includes Occidental Petroleum, Raytheon, Legalzoom, Waste Connections, Daegis, Revionics and Toyota,” the Sacramento Bee reported Sunday. “Waste Connections, the multibillion-dollar trash-hauling company that was once headquartered in Folsom, was the largest publicly traded firm in the Sacramento area in August 2011…”

Even electric car company Tesla, which receives significant state and federal subsidies, announced in March it would not be building a $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory in California. The battery factory was expected to employ 6,500 workers. This was particularly embarrassing for Brown since California has been trying to set the world speed record to lead the UN-led global warming and climate change jihad, and in legislating policies to lower the state’s carbon emissions.

“Anywhere but California,” is becoming the new state motto for many businesses – even for a supposed “green” company.

Suffocating from the failed policies and beliefs of liberals, California is now a Non-Profit State.


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