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Troy Senik
California’s Legislative Blitzkrieg « Back to Story

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I wa born in and lived in Ca my entire life and I'm about 2 seconds away from moving to Texas myself.

Liberalism is a freaking mental disorder.
Sadly, this article very well summarizes the absurd state of affairs in The Golden State, where legislative and fiscal idiocy is enshrined and aspired to by legions of elected representatives. If ever there was an example of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs, look no further than the ongoing combined efforts of our legislators and governors, who seem to be in a race to see who can cause more destruction sooner, thus lending a great example to the corresponding nitwits presiding at the federal level.
Finally an article that tells the whole truth about California politics. Thank you Troy Senik. Would you consider a run for office? You can have my vote.
Arguably the man who most improved our lives and at the same time ruined U.S. Democracy was a guy named Carrier. Basically he brought air conditioning to America.

Problem is, it allowed part-time legislatures in D.C., Sacramento and elsewhere to meet full-time. Bad idea, as RKV points out.

The year after we went to a full-time legislature in CA, we had an IMMEDIATE and continuing 40% increase in the number of laws passed per year.
"No mans life, liberty or property is safe when the legislature is in session." Judge Gideon Tucker

That being said and being true, we need to reform the Prop 1A "reform" passed in 1966 and return to a part time legislature. 40 other states can survive without a full time state legislature, and so can we. And we'd be better off for it, both economically and in terms of liberty. 90 days a year may be too much.
Well, at least no one is trying to save Texas.
When the legislature can play office all year and not have to worry about facing a voting public that will NOT vote them out for any reason, and, in fact bring back an old retread as governor, then what else is there to expect? The people in Sacramento have nothing to fear, they will always kep their seat...and, the people who keep voting for them are just as culpable.
There will have to be a wholesale change in the political and socio-economic structure to even think that California will be saved.
Brian Richard Allen June 02, 2011 at 11:38 PM
The reality includes that California's "Democrats" have swapped the guarantee of millions of criminal aliens' votes -- for California!
Mike, unemployment benefits pay people to stay unemployed. It's one government program that works!

There are states today with less than 5% unemployment -- why pay unemployed people to stay put in CA (or TX) when they should consider moving to better economic opportunities?
Mike, I doubt Texas is relying on CA to provide its K-12 education needs. Here's why:

CA public school teachers are the highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.
page 36

If anything, there is an INVERSE correlation between education spending and results.
What goes first, Richard, unemployment benefits or Medicaid? Perhaps they can savage, yet again, the education budget in order to save the economy, bring in an educated labor force from say, California, and all will be right. With Perry at the controls, anything is possible.
Forget it, I'm moving to Austin, Texas!
Mike, if you want to see a governance problem, scroll down to my posted fact sheet, comparing CA with the other states. With our tax and regulatory climate, if the Golden State had East Coast weather, it would be a rural backwater.

Texas Republican legislators show the same proclivity of CA Democrats when it comes to spending what they don't have. Indeed, such spendthrift tendencies know no (major party) bounds.

But the difference is that Texas is going to solve the problem by CUTTING spending rather than going the CA route of ever higher ("temporary") taxes. Not without pain -- but they are not about to kill off their economy with significant higher taxes.
California's projected budget shortfall for 2012 is $25.4b or 29.3% of the budget.

Texas, on the other hand, has a projected shortfall of $13.4b or 31.4% of the budget.

Texas is a right-to -work state with far less regulation than California.

The question, Mr. Senik, is what is wrong with Texas governance?
Samuel is right -- the Democrats would rather be in charge than see the state prosper.

In CA, the ONLY way to effectively reform the state is to bypass the politicians via the initiative process. Given the choice, our state's electorate often vote against the Democrat Party.

There have been 8 tax increases on the ballot since 2003 -- increases that required only a simple majority to pass. The first passed (a "millionaire's tax"). The next seven failed, most by double digits.

We need to put school choice, tax cuts, pension reform and paycheck protection on the CA ballot for the voters to decide.

The initiative process is far from perfect and is a two-edged sword. It probably will not overcome the Democrat's legislative blitzkrieg, but it's the only weapon we limited government folks have left. That and the U-Haul.
I'm as conservative as they come, but I'm not sure if I see a cause and effect here. You do make a mistake, however, in thinking that Democrats see the poor business climate and migration as a problem, since those leaving are more than likely Republicans. Plus, at least some of the lost population will be made up of legal or illegal immigrants who are more likely to vote Democratic.

In other words (and I've made this comment before) a mistake is being made when one assumes that the Democratic Party thinks that population and business losses are a bad trend. After all the people and businesses leaving allow the Democrats to consolidate their hold over this formerly prosperous red state. And Democrats do well with poor people, who have not learned (and the media, which is sympathetic to the Democrats will never inform them) that the Democrats are content with the poor remaining poor, since when they get better off their voting habits change.

So barring some massive awakening of the electorate, which will never happen as long as Democrats are firmly in control of most of the media (and they are consolidating that control with the assistance of Soros funding - see recent investigation by the Media research group as shown on Fox).

Cynical? You bet. But, it's the way things are nonetheless - nothing else can account for the manner in which Democrats run things once they are in power. There are examples without number - look at how Democrats have been in control of major cities for decades, and how things are actually worse for African Americans. Yet, year after year, Democrats are returned to office, even Marion Barry after he got caught on tape in a motel room smoking crack with a prostitute. And the Democrat controlled media has imposed restrictions on even talking or writing about it - merely to cite the statistics is somehow racist!

In short, even though you say that the "state needs widespread, radical reform" don't count on it happening. Any reform will be in an effort to make things worse (that is, under the more commonly accepted standard of worse, for Democrats things will actually be better), under some other guise. After all California is on its way to becoming the first state in the nation to have only rich, poor and government workers, conditions perfect for permanent Democratic control. In the view of the Democratic Party, a nation along those lines is a "more perfect union." It's also the very definition of a third world country.

Breaking Bad: California vs. the Other States
by Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters
Version 1.764 Revised 23 May, 2011
Updated version online at: Phone: 858-530-3027 Email:

Here’s a depressing but documented comparison of California taxes and economic climate with the rest of the states. The news is breaking bad, and getting worse (I keep updating this fact sheet):

California has the 3rd worst state income tax in the nation. 9.3% tax bracket starts at $46,766 for people filing as individuals. 10.3% tax starts at $1,000,000 (election later this year to again raise these rates)

By far the highest state sales tax rate in the nation. 8.25%. 7% is next highest (does not include local sales taxes) Table #15

California corporate income tax rate (8.84%) is the highest west of the Mississippi (our economic competitors) except for Alaska. Table #8 -- we are 8th highest nationwide.

California’s 2011 Business Tax Climate ranks 2nd worst in the nation.

Fourth highest capital gains tax 9.3%

Highest gasoline tax (averaging 66.1 cents/gallon) in the nation, (January, 2011). (also highest diesel tax – 76 cents/gallon)

California is ranked 14th highest in per capita property taxes (including commercial) – the only major tax where we are not in the worst ten states. But CA property taxes per home were the 10th highest in the nation in 2008. and

One of the highest state vehicle license car taxes. 1.15% per year on value of vehicle, up from 0.65% in 2008.

California’s 2011 “Tax Freedom Day” (the day the average taxpayer stops working for government and starts working for himself) is the 6th worst date in the nation – up from 28th worst in 1994, but down from 4th worst in 2009. CA “improved” only because of our state’s soaring unemployment rate – the new tax dodge!

In 2009, 24 states raised their taxes at least 1% to collect $28.6 billion. California’s taxes went up about $11 billion – thus we were responsible for about 38.5% of all the state tax increases in the nation.

California has the 2nd highest state unemployment rate. (April, 2011) 11.9%. National unemployment rate 9.0%. National unemployment rate not including CA is only 8.6%, making the CA unemployment rate 38.4% higher than the other 49 states.

California needlessly licenses more occupations than any state – 177. Second worst state is Connecticut at 155. The average for the states is 92.

For the 2007-08 school year, the Los Angeles Unified School District spent $29,780 per student. The district also has the country’s second lowest graduation rate of 40.6%.

CA public school teachers the highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading. page 36

1 in 5 in Los Angeles County receiving public aid.,0,4377048.story

California has 12% of the nation’s population, but 36% of the country’s TANF (“Temporary” Assistance for Needy Families) welfare recipients – more than the next 7 states combined. Unlike other states, this “temporary” assistance becomes much more permanent in CA.

California prison guards highest paid in the nation.

For every dollar California pays to D.C., we get back 78 cents. We rank 43rd worst.

California is the worst ranked state for tax administration – another anti-business factor.

California now has the lowest bond ratings of any state, edging out Louisiana.

The American Tort Reform Association ranks CA the second worst “judicial hellhole” – extremely anti-business.

America’s top 500 CEO’s rank California “the worst state in which to do business” for the 7th straight year (5/2011). (It’s worth reading the short article, and especially the part about California.)

California, a destitute state, still gives away college education at fire sale prices. Our community college tuition is the lowest in the nation. How low? Nationwide, the average community college tuition is about three times higher than California CC’s. Chart 5 on page 8
This ridiculously low tuition devalues education to students – resulting in a 30+% drop rate for class completion. In addition, 2/3 of California CC students pay no tuition at all – filling out a simple unverified “hardship” form that exempts them from any tuition payment, or receiving grants and tax credits for their full tuition.

On top of that, California offers thousands of absolutely free adult continuing education classes – a sop to the upper middle class. In San Diego, over 1,400 classes for everything from baking pastries to ballroom dancing are offered totally at taxpayer expense.

Protests about increased UC student fees ignore one crucial point -- all poor and most middle class students don't pay the “fees” (our state’s euphemism for tuition). There are no fees for California families with under $70K income ($80K starting in 9/2011). Moreover, Pell Grants and federal tuition tax credits cover the total 2009-10 fee increases for nearly 3/4 of all undergraduates with household incomes below $180K. and

California residential electricity costs an average of 30.1% more than the national average (far higher in San Diego County). For industrial use, CA electricity is 60.8% higher than the national average (June, 2010).

It costs 38% more to build solar panels in California than in Tennessee – which is why European corporations have invested $2.3 billion in two Tennessee manufacturing plants to build solar panels for our state.

Consider California’s net domestic migration (migration between states). From April, 2000 through June, 2008 (8 years, 2 months) California has lost a NET 1.4 million people. The departures slowed in 2008 only because people couldn’t sell their homes. In 2010 we lost “only” 72,000 net people to domestic migration. Again, note that this is NET loss. and
These are not welfare kings and queens departing. They are the young, the educated, the productive, the ambitious, the wealthy (such as Tiger Woods) – and retirees seeking to make their pensions provide more bang for the buck. Some of these departing seniors are retired state and local government employees fleeing the state that provides them with their opulent pensions – in order to avoid the high taxes that these same employees pushed so hard through their unions. And once they move out of California, our state can no longer tax their California-paid pensions.

As taxes rise and jobs disappear, we lose our tax base, continuing California’s state and local fiscal death spiral. This downward spiral must stop NOW.

NOTE: To see the latest version of this “Breaking Bad” column, plus other taxpayer items of interest, go to my blog at There is an “RSS Feed” button to have notices of blog updates sent to you automatically. This fact sheet also is available upon request as a 2 page Word file for printing.
Moved to Colorado in '93. Both times I've been back tp Calif.(yep, only twice) I cut my trip short to get back to the real world.
Troy -

RE "from health-care quality and rates of taxation to public education and criminal recidivism—California ranks among the worst of the 50 states, eroding its image as a national pacesetter."

I study complex emergence, and, like artists who compliment themselves as "early-warning indicators" e.g. "...something is happening but you don't know what it is, do you Mr Jones?" [Ballad of a Thin Man, by Bob Dylan], I see California actually confirming its position as a national pacesetter, regrettably in a pejorative sense, but a pacesetter nonetheless.

A quick glance at Novy-Marx & Rauh [SSRN Oct'10] "Public Pension Promises -- How Big are They and What are They Worth" SSRN-id1352608 Table IV will show that CA's S&P "A" rating is as low a southbound pacesetter as you'll find.

I can confidently predict economic climate change of increasing volatility, blustery at times warm and windy by Sacramento.
Graham Kaye-Eddie June 01, 2011 at 8:55 PM
Troy Senik

Your article is quite sobering for any optimistic Californian future.

We have a vision but it needs your most careful judgement - that of a leap to get Californians out of this demise.

We have an alternative to the present CAHSR project.

This small article was published in the Bakersfield Californian 29 May 2011. It was prompted after a "Public Meeting" in Bakersfield. It is but an overview of bad government decision making over the past decade.


Some years ago an ill-advised decision was made by the HSRA Board in Bakersfield, to adopt the ancient technology of “high speed rail”.

We have expected the intersection of proper decisions to be made in the triad of policy making, future transportation technology choice, with integrated costs and benefits to be revealed. Occurring now is proof of a bad technology decision.

Our present financial and job creation demise can be changed instantly by instituting a new vision for transportation in the USA. Californians are being short changed by having to pay the huge HSR infrastructure capital outlay, assume the debt for generations with subsidies, yet few will pay to ride with no foreseen return on investment.

Leadership must restore a focus on magnetic levitation technologies that have incrementally improved for more than fifty years. It is time for this mobility system to be implemented.

Long-term investment in maglev is the cheapest, and fastest (350-500 mph) cost per mile transportation service. Populations and goods can be transported with far greater capacities, without the HSR operational burden or its environmental impact on California’s supreme environment. Imagine no sound transmission, no large infrastructures and sparse energy consumption.

Just substitute the best technology presently known to man that will collapse time, distance and reduce cost to reach new and existing cities faster, thus affording Californians a worldwide leadership in mobility creation.

Evacuated Tube Technologies (ET3) will be the right choice to recover the current implosion of years of bad choices, misdirected efforts, and unrealistic aspirations.

Graham Kaye-Eddie
13109 Hageman Rd.
Bakersfield CA 93314
Cell: 661 319 1000
Bus: 661 589 3300
Fax: 661 589 6933
Skype: Makabusi
4/22/2011 252 words

ET3 can be accomplished in California with current technologies applied to this venture.

Websites: and
Please visit: for a brief summary.

China and Korea are ahead of us by five and three years respectively. America should not be left behind.

We would very much appreciate your response and narrative to this practical ET3 solution. It is time that we create, finance and construct with our own intelligence and skills to proudly say “Built in America.”

Graham Kaye-Eddie