California’s contractor law AB 5 manages to be bad for workers, customers and companies

Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva votes to kill the gig economy

By Adrian Moore and Teri Moore, Orange County Register | California is often viewed as the nation’s leading state.

Unfortunately, its latest piece of landmark legislation risks lassoing the flourishing gig economy and dragging it back to the pre-internet age under the guise of protecting workers.

California’s Assembly Bill 5, headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk (and he’s said he’ll sign it), redefines how companies can define independent contractors and employees, which could dramatically alter the state’s economy.

The internet-based industries and services that form the on-demand or “freelance” economy have risen to fill holes in the market, creating opportunities for workers and consumers and boosting local economies across the state.

Digital platforms like Upwork, TaskRabbit and ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft connect workers, goods and services to customers by offering contract work to part-timers, temporary workers and even some full-timers without the structures of traditional, full-time work.

This “gig” work fills market demand dynamically, something traditional work often fails to do.

For example, Uber and Lyft drivers make more money and have more opportunities when they choose to work during surges of consumer demand, making it a win-win for drivers, ride-hailing customers and companies.

To read the entire commentary, please click here.

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A big win for California taxpayers

By Jon Coupal | In a victory for taxpayers, the Fresno Superior Court decided in favor of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association on Thursday, ruling that special taxes proposed by a voter initiative are not exempt from the state constitution’s two-thirds vote requirement.

A weekly column by Jon Coupal

At issue was Fresno’s Measure P, a sales tax initiative on the November 2018 ballot that proposed a 3/8 percent sales tax increase to provide extra funding for city parks, recreation, and after-school programs. The measure received 52% of the vote and was declared failed for lacking the two-thirds voter approval required by two constitutional amendments – Proposition 13 (1978) and Proposition 218 (1996).

The special interests that put the initiative on the ballot filed a lawsuit against the city of Fresno and other government officials claiming that Proposition 13 should be ignored. They argued that the two-thirds vote requirement applies only to special taxes proposed by public agencies such as cities and counties and that it didn’t apply to taxes proposed by a voter initiative. Interestingly, the city of Fresno filed its own lawsuit against the proponents simply seeking clarification of its legal obligations to collect the tax or not. Because of the city’s apparent neutrality, it left no one to defend Proposition 13.

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association intervened on the grounds that the interest of taxpayers was unrepresented in the litigation. HJTA filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that it would open a huge loophole in the two-thirds vote protection if taxes proposed by initiative were exempt.

On Thursday, the Fresno County Superior Court agreed with HJTA in a five page decision explaining that the two-thirds vote requirement was not imposed on public agencies, but on the voters. Regardless of who authors the proposal, it must be submitted to the voters who must approve it by two-thirds, otherwise it is rejected.

To read the entire column, please click here.

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Fullerton City Hall is closed today for another three-day weekend

City Hall Closure Dates and
Observed Holidays

2019
January –1*, 11, 25
February – 8, 18*, 22
March – 8, 22
April – 5, 19
May – 3, 17, 27*, 31
June – 14, 28
July – 4*, 12, 26
August – 9, 23
September – 2*, 6, 20
October – 4, 18
November – 1, 11*, 15, 28*, 29*
December – 13, 24*, 25*, 26^,27^, 31*

*Holiday observed
^Winter Closure

Fullerton City Hall
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Court ruling upholds ban on public funding of political campaigns

By Jon Coupal | It’s no secret that California, perhaps America’s most progressive state, is controlled by a political establishment openly hostile to the interests of taxpayers. Taxpayer victories over the state’s liberal power structure are rare, but they do happen.

A weekly column by Jon Coupal

Last week, taxpayers prevailed in a long running lawsuit involving public funding for political campaigns. The dispute began in 2016 when the Legislature passed, and the governor signed, Senate Bill 1107, which purported to amend a part of the Political Reform Act of 1974.

The Act itself was previously amended in 1988 by Proposition 73, an initiative measure that expressly prohibited public funding of political campaigns. SB1107 attempted to reverse the ban by permitting public funding of political campaigns under certain circumstances.

There was just one problem: Initiative statutes, laws that are approved by voters, cannot be amended by the California Legislature except by a vote of the people or under circumstances permitted by the initiative itself.

To read the entire column, please click here.

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Are teachers underpaid?

Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute applies the same data and statistical methods that produce “the teacher pay gap” to other professions to determine whether or not teachers are underpaid.

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HJTA wins lawsuit to stop use of public funds for campaigns

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and retired state Senator and Judge Quentin L. Kopp prevailed Monday in a lawsuit to invalidate Senate Bill 1107, a 2016 California law that would have allowed political campaigns to be financed with taxpayer dollars.

“California voters passed Proposition 73 partly to prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used as political slush funds,” said Jon Coupal, president of HJTA. “If politicians want to change that, they have to take the issue back to the voters.”

In a unanimous decision, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled that voters outlawed public funding of political campaigns when they adopted Proposition 73, co-authored by Kopp, in 1988.

Proposition 73 provided,“No public officer shall expend and no candidate shall accept any public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office.” Senate Bill 1107 would have provided instead that “a candidate may expend or accept public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office.” The Legislature, in passing Senate Bill 1107, included a finding that the bill furthered the purposes of Proposition 73. The Court of Appeal rejected that finding.

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association opposed SB 1107 and consistently opposes public funding of campaigns.

HJTA and Kopp are represented by Charles H. Bell, Jr., a leading California political law attorney with the firm of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk; Anthony T. (Tom) Caso, with the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence; and Allen Dickerson, with the Center for Competitive Politics.

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A victory for California taxpayers

By Jon Coupal | This past week a direct attack on Proposition 13 was resoundingly voted down by the California State Assembly. Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 would have changed a key element of Prop. 13 by lowering the current two-thirds vote needed to pass local bonds and special taxes — including parcel taxes — to just 55 percent.

A weekly column by Jon Coupal

Bond debt and parcel taxes are paid by adding extra charges to property tax bills, sometimes for decades, which are not subject to Proposition 13’s one-percent cap. The two-thirds vote requirement is a crucial taxpayer protection because while everyone gets to vote on these local measures, only property owners pay for them.

If ACA 1 had been approved by two-thirds of each house of the state Legislature, it would have gone on the ballot, where it would have needed only a simple majority to pass. That would have changed Proposition 13 to allow tax increases for anything defined as “infrastructure” to pass with the approval of only 55 percent of the electorate in any (or every) subsequent election.

Taxpayers face a treacherous landscape in California. Legislative Democrats have more than super-majority control over the Assembly, meaning seven Democrats could oppose ACA 1 and it still would have passed. Taxpayer advocates, led by Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, were outnumbered by about 15 to 1 in the halls of the Capitol as lobbyists for local government entities including cities, counties, special districts and firefighters raced from office to office looking for last-minute support.

To read the entire column, please click here.

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Fullerton City Hall is closed today for another three-day weekend

City Hall Closure Dates and
Observed Holidays

2019
January –1*, 11, 25
February – 8, 18*, 22
March – 8, 22
April – 5, 19
May – 3, 17, 27*, 31
June – 14, 28
July – 4*, 12, 26
August – 9, 23
September – 2*, 6, 20
October – 4, 18
November – 1, 11*, 15, 28*, 29*
December – 13, 24*, 25*, 26^,27^, 31*

*Holiday observed
^Winter Closure

Fullerton City Hall
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Watch last night’s city council meeting

To watch the two-and-a-half-hour video (2:39), click here.

Fullerton City Council Meeting
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Don’t blame Proposition 13 for high building fees

By Jon Coupal | Another week, another lie about Proposition 13. Recall that last week this column burst the bubble on the myth that schools are “starved” for revenue. This week’s narrative from the Prop. 13 opponents is that California’s high fees for building homes and commercial property is due to Proposition 13 denying local governments the ability to raise revenue.

A weekly column by Jon Coupal

A study just released by the University of California Center for Housing Innovation concluded that the “impact fees” that local governments charge developers are a big reason why it’s so expensive to build a home in California. The fees are not only costly, they’re also unpredictable, lack transparency and can kill a project’s viability, according to the study.

On these points, the study is absolutely correct. The size and scope of developer fees in California is more extensive than in any other state. Originally intended to ensure that the cost of infrastructure for development (like sidewalks and utilities) is covered, developer fees have morphed into a free-for-all that now includes fees for such things as parking lots, parks, affordable housing, transportation and public art. In the Bay Area, developer fees to construct a single-family home can exceed $150,000.

But instead of blaming the housing shortfall on these excessive costs passed through to home buyers, the study places the blame expressly on Proposition 13.

To read the entire column, please click here.

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