Craig DeLuz

Writer, Actor, Public Speaker, Media Personality
Posts Tagged ‘California’

Revelation of gun ban for Tehama County shooter revives enforcement criticisms

(EAST BAY TIMES) – “If law enforcement had the ability to do that, why didn’t they?” DeLuz said, referring to the confiscation of Neal’s weapons. “We have some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and this still occurs.”

He added: “This goes to show that the only people affected by these laws are the law-abiding. There was a failure of the government to enforce those laws, and yet the answer folks keep coming up with is that we need more gun laws.”

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California School Districts head down familiar path on debt and taxes

grant_high_school1I have always believed that if voters are going to be allowed to selectively choose to tax a specific segment of our community, that vote should require a supermajority. In the case of school bonds, that used to be the case. Not any longer.

In a recent Sacramento Bee commentary, Ed Ring points out how a change in the voter thresh-hold has opened the door to the potential abuse of taxpayers:

Every few years in November, moviegoers are treated to another James Bond film filled with deception, mystery and mayhem. Judging by the previews, the upcoming installment, “Spectre,” will be no exception. But as more voters are learning, Agent 007 isn’t the only Bond to wreak havoc during election season. In California, education bonds have buried taxpayers in $200 billion of debt to bondholders through 2055.

Now, a report from the California Policy Center explains the consequences of this bond debt and reveals the playbook used to pass these dangerous schemes. Like a rigged game of high-stakes poker, taxpayers may have a seat at the table, but for years haven’t stood a chance against the politicians, construction companies and investors colluding for political and financial gain. By shining a light on this vested interest problem, citing cautionary tales and outlining recommendations for reform, this report offers Californians the tools to fight back.

If your district has proven to your voters to be fiscally responsible and present a solid plan as to how the bond money will be spent, voters will approve the bond. In Robla, we passed our first bond in over 23 years with over 72% voter support. So, it can be done.

In fact, prior to Prop. 39 more than half of all school bond measures passed. As pointed out in this article, today 80 percent of all school bonds are approved. And I think we can all agree that not all of those bond proposals were worthy of passage.

In 2000, passage of Proposition 39 ushered in a new era of borrowing. The measure lowered the required threshold for passage of local education bonds from two-thirds to 55 percent. Since then, 80 percent of these bonds – 911 out of 1,147 proposed – have passed, totaling $110.4 billion in debt. Previously, these bonds had just a 50-50 chance of winning approval.

Let us not forget why the 2/3 vote thresh-hold was passed in the first place: because voters believed that state and local politicians abused their taxing authority. Unfortunately, the old  adage is true, “Those who do not learn from history  are doomed to repeat it.”

With this lower threshold, school districts have become more aggressive in pursuing construction projects. Combined with vague language and suppressed information (for example, projections of assessed property valuation and school enrollment are not easily accessible), voters are served a poisonous bond-measure cocktail, resulting in $200 billion of bond debt for California.

The case of Poway Unified School District is instructive. In 2008, the district asked voters to authorize borrowing $179 million to finance capital improvements, and the measure passed with 63.9 percent support. Today, thanks to controversial debt-financing practices that resulted in ballooning interest, property owners face $1.27 billion in debt service through 2051 – all thanks to a $179 million bond measure that garnered less than two-thirds support. Although district voters held school board members accountable for their actions, the burden on taxpayers cannot be undone.

Elsewhere, districts have claimed that Proposition 39’s ambiguous language gives them free rein to spend construction bond dollars. The Los Angeles Unified School District’s failed technology program provides a recent example. The LAUSD purchased iPads with proceeds from several construction bonds approved before the gadgets were even invented, leaving future generations on the hook for technology that may not even be around for them.

So, note to my fellow school board members: Let us not go down that path again. Voters have proven once that they are more than willing to take our authority away as we prove to be untrustworthy. And sadly, the true losers will be our kids.

Eco-Tyrany in California

Craig speaking at the Rally Against Cap & Trade at the California State Capitol Building.

Leader in the Tea Party Movement says Craig DeLuz has “The type of leadership we need”

On April 15th, rallies known as Tax Day Tea Parties were held across the nation to protest out of control government spending and higher taxes. Well during what was the nation’s largest Tea Party in Sacramento, California Mark Meckler who organized the Sacramento Tea Party and is a leader in the National Tea Party movement made it clear that he believes California needs leaders that are willing to stand up, even when it may be controversial, and that Craig DeLuz has that kind of potential.

“I’ve got to compliment Craig, because he was one of the few who came out and was willing to stand with us when nobody else was.” declared Meckler, “That’s the kind of leadership we need in this state.”

Mark went on to point out that Craig is “Somebody who recognizes an issue and isn’t afraid to step up and say something.” He went on to thank Craig for being with the Tea Party movement from the very beginning.

“I have always been committed to standing for what’s right, even if that means standing alone.” Says DeLuz, “And while Marks comments don’t constitute an actual endorsement of my candidacy, they truly mean a lot to me.”

Voter ID could be a reality

California State Senator George Runner is on the proposition warpath again. This time the target is those who should not be voting. What a novel concept!

According to the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert:

A new initiative filed by Republican Sen. George Runner — who spearheaded the placement of statewide measures on the ballot in 2006 and 2008 — has been cleared to begin collecting signatures. The measure would tighten requirements on voting, including requiring government-issued IDs and eliminating suffrage for ex-felons on probation.

As the article points out, Sen. Runner has led several efforts to pass measures via the initiative process that couldn’t get through the legislature. One was Proposition 83 dubbed Jessica’s law which dealt with sex offenders was approved by voters in 2006. The other Prop. 6 dealt with increasing penalties for gang activity, was defeated in 2008.

Schwarzenegger target of recall rally led by former supporters, John & Ken

Heads on a stick!

That is the newest promotion by Southern California radio talk show hosts John and Ken, as they go after GOP electeds who they say supported tax inreases.

One of the primary targets of their tax revolt was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ironically was supported by John and Ken over the clearly more fisacally conservative, Tom McClintock.

SEIU cuts deal a that Triples personal holidays!

Today SEIU Chief VP Romer Cristobal announced that in the they cut with the administration they would not be losing two holidays as previously announced by the administration.

According to Cristobal:

We have converted Lincoln and Columbus Holidays to Personal Holidays. Members will now accrue three personal holidays instead of just one per year.

Members will accrue 8 hours of Personal Leave (PL) per month in addition to their regular vacation and sick hours. You can use your personal leave for sick leave and you can use it as soon as you earn it.

When you add this to the fact that the number of furlough days was cut in half, one has to wonder what exactly the unions gave up in exchange for the massive tax increases they are trying to force upon the taxpayers of California?

Schools are going to take a hit. The poor are going to take a hit. Local governments are going to take a hit. Taxpayers are being asked to take a HUGE hit. But it looks like SEIU is get away relatively unscathed. How is this fair?

As far as I know, there are no projected layoffs for state workers in this budget. And the number of furlough days was cut in half. But as Cristobal points out SEIU will be getting some additional perks:

State will increase their contribution to our health care premiums retroactively January 2009 and throughout the life of the SEIU contract. The increase will mirror what they were paying in 2008. This will help alleviate financial burden for SEIU members.

Per diem rate will be increase from $40 per day to $55 per day.

The State has agreed with the Union to allocate one million dollars for upward mobility.

This agreement is inconsistent with the proposal being sold to the people of California. How can we be asked to support such a deal, when we don’t even know what the REAL DEAL is?

Meg Whitman for Governor- So let me get this straight…

I truly want to keep an open mind about Meg Whitman’s candidacy for Governor. But judging by the LA Times interview published today, she is not off to a great start.

-She doesn’t know how she feels about school choice.
-She didn’t vote for Prop 187.
-She didn’t vote in the Recall.
-She “didn’t vote as often as I should, and it’s something I regret. And no good excuses for it. Wish I had. Should have.”
-She believes that Pete Wilson is “the greatest governor in memory”.
-She “praised” him for raising taxes during the 1992 budget crisis.
-And she didn’t even become a Republican until 2007.

Why exactly should I vote for her?

First, there are certain bedrock issues that California Republicans care about. Immigration is #1 amongst these issues. She will need to take a firmer stance on how she will address this issue. And not being able to articulate a position on school choice is inexcusable. As public schools continue to fail our most vulnerable students, school choice is the premiere GOP solution to addressing this crisis.

And let’s talk about not voting in the recall and not even becoming a Republican until 2007. WHAT UP WITH THAT?! A the GOP candidate for the state’s highest office, she would be our standard barer. But if she hasn’t been willing to stand until just recently, why should she be elevated to lead our party? I mean, I am all for new converts coming and getting involved in my church. But I’m not going to make them the Pastor.

I will give her half a point for her statement about Pete Wilson. Compared to Davis and our current governor, I would welcome the moderate level of conservatism he brought to Sacramento. But I am alarmed by the level of contempt that he and others who support Whitman have shown toward the more conservative wing of our party. Whitman could inadvertently be labeled as an anti-conservative simply because of the company she keeps.

I am still checking her out. But if she is going to win the support of the GOP base, she has got to do better than this.

No Budget! No Pay! Sound like a good idea? NOT!

You would think we would have learned by now that passing a law simply because it “Sounds like a good idea” is no way to govern. Take for example AB 32, the high priced “Green Initiative” which requires business to cut carbon emissions utilizing technology that won’t exist until 2014. The there’s Jessica’s Law, which I like to call the “Sex Offender Omnibus Bill” which law enforcement officials up and down the state have admitted is near impossible to comply with. These are both well meaning policy initiatives that sounded good on paper, but when put into actual practice… not so much.

The bright idea of the day surrounds the California Legislatures lack of ability to come to a compromise on how to handle the fast growing budget deficit. Democrats want massive tax increases and Republicans are holding pat for substantive budget reforms and deeper cuts. And while both sides dig in their heals, doing what they believe to be the right thing, along comes a well meaning who have proposed to withhold legislator’s pay and per diem if they fail to pass the state budget on time. Sounds like a great idea right? I mean, managing the state’s finances is a big part of their jobs. And if they can’t get the job done on time, why should they get paid? (I’ve got you going huh?)

Well before you jump on the bandwagon, read this piece my good friend (and boss) Jeff Greene shared with me. It was written by Former Assemblyman Ray Haynes back during the 2004 budget impasse:

Conflict-of-Interest Budgeting

SCENARIO #1 “Assemblyman Smith, vote for this budget, and our union will write you a check for $15,000. Not to your campaign – to you personally. Buy a new car, get your wife a Louis Vuitton purse, get braces for your kids—we don’t care. Just vote for this budget and the money is yours. I know you don’t like the new taxes and spending, but I can make it worth your while.”

SCENARIO #2 “I don’t care if there are taxes in this budget, we cannot afford to forfeit another month’s paycheck! We’ve exhausted our savings and we’re not going to be able to make our mortgage payment. We’ve got a stack of credit card bills and utility payments due and no money left to pay them. I know you don’t like the new taxes and spending, but it’s not worth going bankrupt for!”

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In one scenario, the personal financial pressure to pass a bad budget comes from a lobbyist. In the second, the financial pressure comes from the legislator’s spouse. In the first, the financial incentive is illegal and the lobbyist could go to prison. Meanwhile, the second scenario could be on the verge of being encouraged in homes all over Sacramento.

Both scenarios include money being used as an incentive to get a legislator to support a budget. Both scenarios result in a legislator having to consider his own personal financial interests over the interests of his district or even the whole State of California. Both are wrong.


Think about it. If you are a conservative, do you really want Republicans to go up on massive tax increases simply, so that they can pay their own bills? If you are a liberal, do you want Democrats to approve deep cuts to education or social welfare programs in order to make sure they don’t miss a check?

While I think most of us can agree with the sentiment, the facts cannot be ignored. Any way you slice it up, this is a “Pay-to-Play” scheme that is a bad idea for California.

JEFFRIES BILL TO END SECRET DEALS

Introduces ACA 8 to require public notice on all legislation
Today Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) threw down the gauntlet in defense of California voters. “The time has come for the California Legislature to put an end to back room deals being passed in the dead of night,” declared Assemblyman Jeffries who today introduced ACA 8, which would prohibit the Legislature from taking action on any item that has not been noticed and publicly posted for at least 72 hours.

Since coming to Sacramento in 2006, Assemblyman Jeffries has advocated for transparent government and an open legislative process. However, he has come to discover that this is not how the California Legislature conducts its business. “Last minute ‘gut and amends,’ asked to vote on measures minutes after receiving the bill, you name it; the things that are demanded of us defies all decorum of good government.” points out Jeffries, “if the public truly knew how things are run up here they would be outraged. Local governments have to comply with similar posting requirements in the Brown Act, why shouldn’t the Legislature?”

The most recent impetus for this measure comes out of the current budget crisis. During the special session to address the current budget crisis, Legislators were given bill language for numerous taxing and spending measures by the Assembly Speaker only a few hours before they were asked to cast a vote on them. “How can I be asked to vote on a bill that I haven’t had a chance to read?” asked Jeffries. “And how can my constituents participate and comment on the impacts a bill or tax will have on them and their families if even their elected representatives don’t have copies of the bill to review? A democratic society requires the ability for the people and their representatives to know what is happening to them before it is too late. There is absolutely no legislation so important that it can’t wait 72 hours for the people and the press and the legislators to properly review the text first, and I challenge anyone to argue otherwise.”

As a constitutional amendment, ACA 8 requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of the legislature and passage by a majority of California voters. “This amendment reinforces the bedrock principles of the First Amendment and public participation in our government, and I am confident that if the people of this state have the opportunity to vote for this measure, it will pass overwhelmingly. Frankly, I can’t even imagine an intelligent opposition campaign being waged on this issue,” said the Assemblyman. “The only motive for not passing this legislation is to keep the people in the dark.”

Huber and Buchanan duck for cover during budget battle

Less than a month into the new session, Sacramento’s two newest Democrat electeds have refused to take a stand in the most important issue facing the legislature in years.

I don’t often agree with the Sacramento Bee. But they hit it on the nose when they exposed these two.

On Tuesday, five Assembly Democrats abstained from votes on tax hikes: Alyson Huber of El Dorado Hills, Joan Buchanan of Alamo, Manuel Perez of Coachella, Marty Block of San Diego and Charles Calderon of Whittier. Huber and Calderon also abstained from votes on spending cuts. On Thursday, Huber and Buchanan abstained again on tax hikes.

Huber’s abstentions are especially disappointing. This page endorsed her to tepresent District 10, which includes Lodi, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Stockton and Jackson. She campaigned as a “problem solver” who would “hit the ground running.” A news release on her swearing-in said: “Deeply concerned with the state’s financial crisis, Assemblymember Huber is prepared to immediately start working toward a solution.” Instead, Huber seems to have hit the ground looking for cover.

Voters don’t elect legislators to be neutral on the most important issues facing the state. And if legislators don’t like the process by which the bills were produced, they should vote “no.”

Ladies, it is a little too early in your political tenure to be ducking for cover. You chose to run in battleground districts. So it is time to stand up and fight for what you believe in. Or are you scared that you will be exposed for who you really are?

Governor finally agrees with GOP Legislators

Here is a quote from Gov. Schwarzenegger you won’t see in the main stream media:

“And now I understand when Republicans say they say that they are serious about negotiating, but when it comes down to the language itself, that’s where it will fall apart. And that’s exactly what happened this time.”

He made this statement after pledging to veto the controversial budget fixed passed on a simple majority vote, in violation of the State Constitution (Click Here to Watch the Video).

What he was commenting on was the fact that when Legislative Democrats negotiate they say they will do one thing. But the devil is in the details-otherwise known as “Bill Language”. Meaning- the bill language that is offered by the Democrats often does not do what they said it would do. This is why it is a general policy amongst assembly Republicans to not agree to any idea- even in concept until you see it in writing. Furthermore, it explains why the GOP has insisted on their issues being address before even considering new revenues.

The truth is that Legislative Democrats don’t believe that they have to actually negotiate with Republicans. They ignore them whenever they don’t need their votes to pass legislation. No matter how salient a point they make may be, it often gets lost in the fervor of getting their bills through the legislative process. They simply state that they are willing to take a look into it as the bill moves along. The bill passes and nothing ever happens.

And when they do need GOP votes, Democrats don’t bother trying to negotiate in good faith. Rather, they try to pick off one or two votes with incentives that may help that member, but don’t necessarily address their overall policy concerns. Of course, the governor cannot necessarily complain about this tactic, since he often employees it himself.

If a deal is going to get done, it will only be when all sides are allowed to sit at the table and negotiate in good faith. All sacred cows need to be on the table- meaning that everyone is going to have to give up something in order to get something.

$9 billion tax plan to be approved by majority vote?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And a tax by any other name still stinks to high heaven.

However, by calling $9.3 billion in taxes, fees, Democrats hope the get around the State Constituion and pass them with a simple majority vote.

Here is the press release from Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg:

Senate Democrats to Vote Tonight on Majority Vote Budget Plan

(SACRAMENTO) The State Senate will take up an $18 billion majority vote budget deficit reduction plan coupled with economic stimulus proposals Wednesday evening.

Specifically, the proposal increases general fund revenues by $9.3 billion, enacts $7.3 billion in cuts and finds $1.5 billion in other solutions.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass announced the new Democratic proposal today.

“Desperate times don’t call for desperate measures; desperate times call for creative thinking,” Steinberg said. “As the majority party, Democrats are responsible for governing the state – by solving $18 billion of the budget deficit we are showing Californians that we take that responsibility seriously.”

Senate session is scheduled for 5 p.m.

The plan is as follows:

Revenues

The Democrats’ plan eliminates gasoline sales and excise taxes used for transportation purposes and replacing those taxes with a mix of taxes (sales, oil severance and personal income surcharge) that will be used to bolster the general fund. This action will bring $5.7 billion into the general fund.

To replace the transportation dollars, the Democratic plan institutes a “user fee” of 39 cents for gasoline consumption in California. The new fee would increase the amount of funds for the state highway account by $500 million annually and for local streets and roads by $643 million annually. In addition, the fee will be indexed o adjust with inflation. Because it is a user fee, the revenues have to be used or transportation purposes.

In addition, the Democratic plan reworks the “triple flip” enacted in 2004. The “triple flip” increased the state sales tax by a quarter cent, reduced local sales tax by a quarter cent and shifted property taxes from schools to local governments to make up for loss in local sales tax money. The state general fund backfilled schools for the loss of property tax money.

The Democratic proposal ends the local quarter cent local sales tax reduction, eliminating the need to shift property tax from schools to local governments, thereby ending the general fund obligation to backfill school funding. The result is an additional $1.5 billion to the general fund.

Additionally, the Democratic plan establishes new 3 percent income tax withholding requirements for independent contractors. Specifically, the plan requires businesses to withhold 3 percent of payments they make to independent contractors exceeding $600 each year, relieving businesses from having to file 1099 forms. This action generates $2 billion for 2009-10.

Cuts

Education Solutions:

Current Year Reductions. Reduces Proposition 98 spending by the $2.5 billion level proposed y the Governor. However, this package of reductions does not follow the Governor’s proposal to cut school district revenue limits, and instead targets pecific programs that mitigate direct impacts on classroom instruction.

Settle-Up Solutions. Adopts a variation of the LAO’s proposal to count a portion of current year spending as “settle-up” dollars rather than Proposition 98 dollars. This does not reduce current year education spending, but does provide additional Proposition 98 flexibility in the budget year.

CSU and UC Reductions. Adopts the Governor’s proposal to cut $132 million from the UC and the CSU.

Health and Human Services Solutions:

SSI/SSP. Reduces SSI/SSP grants in 2009 back to the 2008 level and suspends the budget year state COLA. Together these actions will save about $177 million in the current year and about $500 million in the budget
year. However, this ultimately means that the state’s neediest elderly and disabled individuals will lose more than $700 per year (and couples more than $1,300).

CalWORKS. Suspends the budget year CalWORKS COLA to save about $100 million.

Regional Centers. Reduces, by three percent, certain payments for services delivered to individuals with developmental disabilities for the period from December 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010, as proposed by the Governor. This results in a reduction of $26 million General Fund for 2008-09 and $60 million in 2009-10.

Also reduces the Regional Center Operations’ budget by $3 million General Fund in 2008-09 and $12.2 million in 2009-10 by suspending certain case management ratios and administrative requirements.

Local Government Solutions:

Local Public Safety Programs. Approves the Governor’s proposal to eliminate General Fund support for various local law enforcement programs which saves approximately $189 million in the current year and $500 million in the budget year. These cuts are mitigated by reallocating Vehicle License Fee revenues ($92 million in the current year and $359 million in the budget year) to support these local programs.

Williamson Act Local Backfill. Approves the Governor’s proposal to eliminate the $34.7 million backfill to counties. This does not, however, make any changes to the underlying program to preserve agricultural land.

Transportation Solutions:

State Transit Assistance. Reduces annual funding for the State Transit Assistance (STA) from $306 million to $150 million. The Governor had proposed to eliminate the program entirely.

Fund Shifts. Achieves $185 million in General Fund solutions by shifting eligible Motor Vehicle Account funds and Tribal Compact revenues to the General Fund.

Various Other Solutions:

Judicial Branch Solutions. Achieves $91 million in solutions from the Judicial Branch with a reduction to the 2008-09 COLA for the trial courts and a one-time transfer from the Trial Court Improvement Fund to the eneral Fund.

Office of Emergency Services. Eliminates $30 million in funding for the gang initiative and various other programs.

Employee Compensation. Reduces funding for employee compensation by $240 million in the current year and $417 million in the budget year, however, the savings is required to be negotiated through the collective bargaining process.

Economic Stimulus

As part of a real Economic Stimulus plan, Democrats are proposing to accelerate the availability of bond funds for “ready-to-go” infrastructure projects.

For every $1 billion of investment in public works infrastructure projects, the state creates 15,000 high-wage private sector jobs.

The total Democratic investment of bond funds is nearly $3 billion ($2.9 billion) to improve streets and roads, public transit, housing sites, parks, levees, water quality projects, and to bolster the “green” economy.

CA Assembly to vote on $5 billion in new taxes that they are calling “Fees”

Today, Democrats will be offering $5 billion in new taxes, calling them fees. It is believed that by calling them fees, they can be passed by majority vote, rather than the 2/3 vote requirement that is necessary to raise taxes: meaning, they could conceivably pass this without any Republican votes.

Admittedly, I am not sure that this is the case. But cut me some slack, Republicans just got the bill language an hour or so ago. So much for “Open and Transparent Government”.

We have also heard that there will be votes on some education issues and transportation issues, and possibly health and human services. Of course, Democrats may change the whole thing up. Heck, we may not see what is actually being proposed until the members walk into the chamber this afternoon. They have already changed the meeting time. Who knows what else will change.

The California Channel will be broadcasting this session live at 3 p.m. on many local cable channels, or on their live webfeed at http://www.calchannel.com/ . You can also listen to the session live by going to the Assembly’s webpage and clicking on “Floor Session” at the top of this page here: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Committee_hearings/ . If you are unable to watch live, you will be able to retrieve the broadcast at http://www.calchannel.com/ later in the archives.

Assembly Budget Committee meets tomorrow- Noreen Evans is the only member!

Tomorrow the California Assembly Budget Committee is scheduled to hold on of the most important meetings in recent history. But so far, none of the committee members have been named, other than the committee chair, Assembly member Noreen Evans.

It is difficult to say why no one has been assigned to the committee. But there is not doubt that this is a bad sign as to how serious anyone is taking this hearing. Most insiders understand that the real discussions will be taking place amongst the Big 5. This hearing will like be nothing more than an opportunity for Democrats to shoot down Republican proposals and have the myriad public employee unions and other interest groups to voice their objections to cuts that everyone knows are necessary. Each one will give compelling testimony as to why they should not be cut. And the truth is that in many cases they will be right.

But at the end of the day, everyone is going to have to feel the pain on this one. Nobody’s sacred cow should be off limits. Education, public safety, health and welfare will all take hits.

The questions that must be answered are: What will our priorities be? What hits will have the least impact on our state? What sort of relief from burdensome regulations and controls are we going to give schools, local governments, employers and state agencies so that they can make the best of the resources they have left?

I don’t know that anyone is ready to have these sorts of conversations.

Despite the Governer’s asserstions, Republicans have offered their ideas in this matter. But since he and Democrats don’t like them, they continue to claim that GOP members haven’t offered solutions. The turthe is, they haven’t offered solutions that they like.

Watch the “Why the GOP should cave!” dog and pony show LIVE!

Today at 3 pm the California Legislature will be holding a joint session to hear from the State’s fiscal leaders on why they need to address the State’s massive budget deficit ASAP. Featured speakers include State Controller John Chiang, Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Mike Genest, the Governor’s Director of the Department of Finance, and Mac Taylor, the state’s non-partisan legislative analyst. Each will speak for 15 minutes, and then there will be questions from the legislature afterwards.You can tune in and watch it live at CalChannel.com .

Sacramento Bee writers, Dan Walters and Jon Ortiz will also be hosting a live blog during the presentation at www.sacbee.com/live. That is how important this presentation will be.

But you can be assured that the bulk of the dog and pony show will be focused on why legislative Republicans should cave on their commitment not to raise taxes.

Bill Lockyer has already threatened to withhold the sale of any bonds until the budget is fixed. Furthermore, he would cease the flow of funds to current projects. Additionally, Governor Schwarzenegger has hinted at massive layoffs amongst the ranks of state employees, a proposal that will do more to influence Democrats than Republicans.

But what is missing from any discussions are the substantive requests that GOP legislators have put forward. Namely:

• Economic stimulus proposals (not tax cuts) for employers like:
o AB 32 implementation relief
o Repeal of eight hour overtime
o Regulatory relief

• Substantive budget reform like:
o A real spending cap
o A rainy day fund
o Providing flexibility to agencies (especially schools) on how they can spend their budgets.

• Ongoing spending reductions by:
o Consolidating agencies and departments with duplicative functions “Blowing up the boxes”
o Re-visiting collective bargaining agreements and related side deals.
o Reworking of funding formulas that demand so much of the state budget.

Even as Democrats declare “Everything needs to be on the table”. Please notice that these options will be found nowhere on that table. Not because Republicans have not proposed them. Rather, Democrats have killed them at every turn.

Democrats propose gimmicks and tax increases but no budget reform

Today, Legislative Democrats offered their proposal to address the $28 billion deficit facing California over the next 19 months.

In predictable fashion, they offered temporary gimmicks (calling them cuts), permanent tax increases (calling them revenue enhancements) and absolutely no budget reform. In fact, the Democrat proposal offers $8 billion in TEMPORARY spending cuts and gimmicks in exchange for $8 billion in PERMANENT tax increases.

Democrat Assembly member Noreen Evans pleaded for members to not be beholden to ideology and “put everything on the table.” However, Democrats refused to include any substantive budget reform or economic stimulus in the bill package they put forth today.

The California Assembly Republican Caucus has identified the following “Lowlights” in the Democrat’s proposal:

  • Permanent Tax Increases – Imposes $8.6 billion in higher taxes on hard-working Californians, including higher Vehicle License Fees. Over 5 years, our taxes would be raised by $24 billion.
  • Small Ongoing Budget Savings – Uses delays and fund-shifts to make it seem like their approach would lead to $8.1 billion in cuts, while in reality it would lead to little ongoing savings.
  • Prioritizes Welfare over Public Safety – Contains few cuts to the fastest-growing areas of government like health and welfare programs, while targeting public safety for devastating cuts to frontline officers, community policing and juvenile justice programs.
  • Includes Early Release – It also includes dangerous early release and direct discharge parole plans that would allow thousands of inmates to go directly back into our communities, unsupervised by a parole officer.
  • No Incentives for Job Creation – Includes no economic incentives or reforms to lower business costs and encourage companies to invest in California and create jobs here.
  • No Strict Spending Limit – Has no real spending limit that would force the Legislature to only spend what the state takes in each year.

Thought the 2008 elections were over? Think again!

The battle for CD 4 between Charlie Brown and Tom McClintock is still up in the air as they continute to count ballots. The same is true for AD 10 as GOP hopeful Jack Sieglock hopes to fend off his democratic opponent, Alice Huber.

And what can we expect from Sacramento’s Mayor-Elect, Kevin Johnson? He is in the minority (Only three of members of the nine seat city council supported him) and will be facing some of the toughest budget decisions any Sacramento leader has ever had to face.

All this and more will be discussed during this week’s show.

To tune in simply go to http://www.deluzbrothers.com/ and click on the Listen Live Button at the top of the page.

You can even join the conversation by calling in at (347) 237-5073. We will be breaking down the upcoming election and much more. You don’t want to miss the fireworks!

Details Below:

When: Friday, November 21st

Station: Blogtalk Radio

Live Audio Steaming at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/The-DeLuz-Brothers

TIME: 11:30-12 noon (PST)

Call in Number: (347) 237-5073

MAD Moment: Higher taxes is not the answer to California’s budget problems

Governor Proposes $4.7 Billion Tax Increase

You knew it was coming!

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has issued his proposals for addressing the anticipated $11.2 billion revenue shortfall. The center piece of his proposal is $4.7 billion in new taxes.

Here are the details:

A Revenue Problem: While Governor Schwarzenegger has worked to fix the state’s spending problem, and has kept state spending relatively flat for the past three budget cycles, the dramatic drop in our revenue projections over the past six weeks resents an extraordinary situation which, combined with the volatility of our tax ystem, creates a revenue problem. Raising taxes is never a good idea, but in this xtraordinary situation, there is no question that new revenues must be brought into he state to protect education and vital services. The Governor is proposing $ 4.7 billion in new revenues for the current budget year in the form of:

  • A Temporary Sales Tax Increase: A temporary increase in the state sales tax (from 5 percent to 6.5 percent) will generate additional sales tax revenues of $3.5 billion in 2008-09 for the General Fund. It will also effectively protect significant education funding. At the end of three years, the state sales tax would revert to 5 percent.

  • Broadening the Sales and Use Tax to Include Certain Services: Effective February 1, 2009, the sales and use tax rate will be applied to appliance and furniture repair, vehicle repair, golf, and veterinarian services. Effective March 1, 2009, the sales and use tax rate will be applied to amusement parks and sporting events. This is expected to generate additional General Fund sales tax
    revenue of $357 million in 2008-09.
  • Oil Severance Tax: Effective January 1, 2009, impose an oil severance tax upon any oil producer for the right to extract oil from the earth or water in this state. This brings California in line with other states. The tax shall be applied to the gross value of each barrel of oil at a rate of 9.9 percent and will generate additional tax revenues of $528 million in 2008-09.
  • Increase Alcohol and Excise Taxes: Alcohol excise taxes are proposed to be raised by five cents a drink beginning on January 1, 2009. This increase is estimated to raise $293 million in 2008-09. Revenues from this tax will be used to fund critical drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services. Alcohol taxes were last raised in 1991.

In the Governor’s defense, he has also proposed $4.5 billion in spending cuts. This includes a deep $2.5 billion cut in education funding for this year. The fact is, there is something for everyone to hate in this proposal. But then again, maybe we wouldn’t have such a big budget shortfall if we didn’t ignore the fact that the revenue projects were unrealistic from the start.

But I won’t go there!

In Case You Missed it:Activist twins are polar opposites politically


This weekend, the Sacramento Bee did a piece on my twin brother David and I. It was a really cool article. And I’m not just saying that because it is about me!

Activist twins are polar opposites politically

Outside the Pyramid Alehouse on 10th and K streets Thursday, it was hard not to notice the dapper DeLuz twins theatrically debating the great issues of our time.

They’re both 6-foot former linebackers and passionate activists well-known in Sacramento political circles.

Though Craig is sometimes confused for David and vice versa, that’s a giant mistake. Politically, the brothers are polar opposites.

David DeLuz – born 10 minutes before Craig on June 7, 1969 – is a liberal Democrat who proudly sports an Obama-Biden button and wears a blue tie and a navy blue suit.

Craig DeLuz – a quarter-of-an-inch shorter – is a conservative Republican in jeans and a gray pattern sport coat who staunchly defends McCain-Palin.

While there are physical differences between them, it’s really when the DeLuz brothers open their mouths that it’s easiest to tell them apart.

David opposes Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage. Craig recently showed up at American River College to support a controversial student council resolution endorsing Proposition 8.

They vehemently disagree on abortion and the Iraq war.

In recent weeks they’ve heckled each other at a Black Political Forum in North Sacramento and an NAACP voter education rally at the state Capitol.

They also go at it on local radio and their blog: http://deluzbrothers. blogspot.com/.

“It’s just now getting to the point where people realize there are actually two of us,” David said. “I lost a politically connected position because they thought I was him.”

Craig said he lost a job when his potential employer found out he was the right-leaning DeLuz.

David, who was president of the Sacramento branch of the NAACP from 2002-2005, is an administrator with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation “focused on offender re-entry.”

Craig is Capitol director for Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore.

Despite their differences, David managed Craig’s 2000 campaign for Sacramento City Council (he lost to Sandy Sheedy).

“Our goal is the same, to have an engaged community that provides opportunities for everyone,” David said.

The twins haven’t bet on the presidential race “because David won’t give me enough points,” Craig said.

Craig predicts that “an Obama presidency and a Democratic Congress will be one of the best advertising tools for the Republican Party” because they’ll tax and spend Americans into oblivion.

Obama epitomizes style over substance, Craig said. “McCain is not the most attractive or the best speaker, but he’s challenging the administration and trying to find common ground, compared to a guy taking the easy route and saying whatever people want to hear.”

David fires back: “Your depiction of Barack Obama is way over the top. His record demonstrates a willingness to try new ideas. He’s right where we need to be. It’s about creating a middle class that can be a consumer class.”

The twins – born to an Italian American mother and an African American father in Richmond – were adopted by a black couple, John and Elevera DeLuz.

John Deluz, who grew up in Newport, R.I., the son of a Cape Verdian immigrant, joined the Air Force during World War II and was trained as an electrician.

But he couldn’t get a job in Oakland because the electricians union discriminated against blacks. So he wound up taking a job washing cars and later became a warehouse supervisor for Safeway.

“He’d say, ‘You’re just as good as anybody, but you’re no better than anybody, and you’re going to have to work twice as hard to get half as far as the average white boy,’ ” David said.

Both parents were dedicated Democrats.

The twins played football for DeAnza High in Richmond. Craig was nicknamed ” ‘Duke,’ for John Wayne, because I walked like a cowboy and was ready to draw down on anybody.”

“The one thing you did not want to do was mess with one of the DeLuz brothers because if you got in a fight with one of us you had three to five minutes before the other showed up,” Craig said.

Craig went to Chico State, where he became the first African American elected president of the student government. He began listening to Rush Limbaugh but didn’t become a Republican until after his son was born in April 1995.

That day, he realized $2,500 of his first big commission check for signing up members for the California Chamber of Commerce was being taken in taxes. “I said this is outrageous!”

Meanwhile, David attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and in 1988 was inspired by Jesse Jackson – the first black man to make a serious run for president.

“There have been a lot of heated arguments,” David said. “We argued a lot over Bill Clinton and morality in public service. Craig has the nerve to question the morals and ethics of Democrats in general – because we support abortion and gay rights, we are somehow morally inferior to the Republicans.”

“We argue about everything,” Craig said. “He’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan. I belong to Kappa Alpha Psi and he belongs to Phi Beta Sigma,” rival black fraternities.

Their mother, who disliked George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and loved Bill Clinton, “gave Craig a hard time until the day she died,” David said.

Inside the Pyramid Alehouse on Thursday, after the brothers fought over the last chicken wing, Craig declared his love for Sarah Palin.

“She’s got a reputation for taking on corruption and implementing fiscal conservatism. She took on the people who ran as Republicans and were spending like drunken liberals and booted them out.”

“Are you kidding me?” David responded. “That woman is clearly unqualified to serve as president.”

Craig contended: “Obama doesn’t say what change he’s about.”

David countered: “He’s definitely going to turn away from the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war and rely more on diplomacy, and he’s going to support working families rather than CEOs and big corporations.”

Jacques Whitfield, who worked with both brothers at the old Grant Joint Union High District where he served as general counsel from 1997 until earlier this year, says “they’re both very good at speaking up for their constituencies.”

Whitfield, now a management consultant, leans left, “but I respect Craig’s courage to stand up for what he believes in as an archconservative, even in this Democratic town where much of the agenda is progressive.”

Whitfield said Craig is a true believer and “interestingly enough, so is David. At the end of the day I love them both.”

Debra Bowen hosts drive by registation, but has no voter reg cards for GOP

According to the California Republican Party, Secretary of State, Debra Bowen’s office refused to fulfull their request for 20,000 voter registration cards. The excuse given was that the delayed budget caused them to run low on printed voter registration cards.

When confronted by the media, Bowen’s office denied any such shortage. Little did the folks at the CRP saved the voicemail message for them from the Secretary’s office. and it tells a very different story.

Meanwhile, Ms. Bowen has hooked up with her fellow Democrats to host a “Driveby Voter Registration” event at the Sacramento Convention Center. I guess they the shortage only applied to certain groups.

Assembly Debates GOP Budget Proposal (Video)

Yesturday, the California State Assembly debated the Senate Republican Budget proposal which balances the state budget without raising taxes. And as expected, Republicans are accussed of every evil under the sun from hating puppies to causing global warming to bringing about amagedon.

Click Here to watch the debate. (Fastforward an hour and 33 minutes to where the discussion actually starts.)

Governor’s “Compromise Budget” has no legislative support

Tomorrow, the California Assembly will be voting on Governor Schwarzenegger’s “Compromise Budget”. The interesting part is that there is no support on either side of the aisle in either house for his proposal.

As of the introduction of amendments today, the proposal did not even have a legislative author; thus making it the first ever piece of un-authored legislation ever to be introduced in the California Assembly.

And to add insult to injury, the Governor’s bi-partisan compromise may go down 79-0. That would be embarrassing for the administration.

In an attempt to win over some support, Schwarzenegger will be meeting with Assembly Republicans prior to tomorrow’s vote. But I would not expect much if I were him, since a similar meeting he held with the GOP Senators last week not only failed to produce any new support for his plan; but may have actually driven some Republicans to further distance themselves from the governor’s position.