Gov. Jerry Brown, bedeviled by intransigent Republicans, a systemic budget shortage and a weak economy, urged new taxes on the wealthy and new sales taxes to raise $35 billion over five years for education and law enforcement. He offered the ballot proposal just weeks before a looming round of deep budget cuts roils the Capitol.
From Capitol Weekly's John Howard: "Gov. Jerry Brown, making an end-run around legislative Republicans, unveiled his long-awaited tax plan -- a $7 billion-a-year mega-package over five years that includes new levies on California’s wealthiest taxpayers to provide money for schools and public safety."
“I am going directly to the voters because I don’t want to get bogged down in partisan gridlock as happened this year. The stakes are too high,” Brown said through his press office. “My proposal is straightforward and fair. It proposes a temporary tax increase on the wealthy, a modest and temporary increase in the sales tax, and guarantees that the new revenues be spent only on education....”
"The governor said millionaires and high-income earners will pay up to 2 percent higher income taxes for five years. No family making less than $500,000 a year will see their income taxes rise. In fact, fewer than 2 percent of California taxpayers will be affected by this increase."
"He said there also will be a temporary, half-penny increase in the statewide sales tax, but “even with this increase, sales taxes will still be lower than what they were less than six months ago.”
Brown's plan wasn't the only proposed intiative filed Monday to raise taxes on the wealthy -- a reform group filed their own proposal. The Ventura County Star's Timm Herdt tells the tale.
"Separate ballot measures that would increase state income taxes on the rich, one permanently and one for five years, were filed Monday, setting the stage for either the advocates coming together on a single plan or a tax-laden ballot next fall that analysts say could doom both measures."
"Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a temporary measure that would increase income taxes on all individuals with incomes exceeding $250,000 by up to 2 percent and also impose a half-cent increase in the sales tax through 2017...."
"Meanwhile, a coalition of community-organizing groups and the California Federation of Teachers filed a separate initiative that seeks a permanent income tax increase of up to 5 percent that would apply only to households with more than $1 million in annual income."
"The latter measure is projected to generate about $6 billion in revenue, while Brown's plan would bring in about $7 billion. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has projected the state will face about a $10 billion shortfall in the coming fiscal year."
In what has come as a surprise to those who watch the nursing industry, California and the country is experiencing a resurgence of registered nurses -- a trend that is in sharp contrast to just a few years ago, when the projections for nursing availability over time were grim. The LA Times' Anna Gorman tells the tale.
"Nationwide, the number of registered nurses ages 23 to 26 grew from 102,000 in 2002 to 165,000 in 2009, according to the study. The current cohort of young nurses is expected to be the largest ever, the study said."
"If the trend continues, there may be enough nurses by 2030 to meet the projected needs of aging baby boomers and the expansion of the healthcare system, researchers said."
"Compared to where nursing supply was just a few years ago, the change is incredible," said David Auerbach, lead author of the study. "If it keeps going, it turns everything on its head and it's a major revolution."
In the southland, where the recent windstorms were devastating, some people still are without electrical power after nearly a week. The effects of living without power for days on end has a psychological, as well as a physical, impact on families.
From the San Gabriel Valley Tribune's Steve Scauzillo: "For those unfortunate residents who spent their sixth night in a row Monday without power or heat, the psychological effects loom larger than any minor physical inconveniences."
"Isolationism, powerlessness and fear can lead to an inability to adapt to future emergencies or to return to normal, experts say. Others worry about what effect the storm will have on young children."
"The one thing about being in the darkness for an extended time is you feel isolated. The lack of power is affecting people's ability to interact with others," said Lawrence Palinkas, a USC professor in the school of social work and an expert on how humans adapt to extreme situations."
"Kathy Martin lives near what's been called ground zero in Temple City, the spot where 17 telephone poles snapped, plunging the city into darkness. Since then, she and more than 28,000 residents have had to endure dark, cold nights, no television, no radio and no Internet."
And finally from our "Fine Wines" file comes the tale from down under that the Aussies have approved a laxative agent as an additive to their wines. This does not sound good.
"The chemical has not been approved for use in wine produced in the United States. However, an international agreement among several nations – including Australia; the European Union, where it is approved; and the U.S. – means that it is legal in imported wines."
"But because there are no labeling requirements for food additives in wine, U.S. drinkers will remain in the dark as to its presence."
“There’s nothing you can do,” said Roger Boulton, professor of viticulture and enology at UC Davis. “There’s no way of knowing. If it’s imported and it’s an approved additive elsewhere, the consumer won’t know.”
"According to both the EU and Australian government, the chemical does not alter the taste or consistency of wine, and it poses no harm to human health."
Right, but keep the Kaopectate handy ...