What happened to that simpler tax code? If anything, the Republican tax rewrite made things even more complicated. Just ask the Californians waiting in line to prepay property taxes in hopes of preserving as much of their deductions as possible.
Think California is ready for legal marijuana? Think again. State regulators have worked hard since voters passed Proposition 64, legalizing cannabis for adult recreational use. But as we edge closer to Jan. 1, signs of the coming chaos are everywhere..
Jack Ohman takes a look at the Ten Most Wanted Lists of Donald Trump and the FBI. See if you’re on it here.
Dan Morain: A measure hurtling toward the November 2018 ballot would repeal the 12-cent per gallon gasoline tax increase approved this past legislative session to pay for road repairs, bridge maintenance and some public transit. Granted, no one wants to pay more for gasoline. But potholes don’t fill themselves. That’s not stopping House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and most of California’s Republican congressional delegation from backing that repeal – with a notable exception, Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.
Joe Mathews, Zócalo Public Square: California’s next governor will be its most powerful. Our state’s governorship has grown so great in reach and power that it now constitutes a second American presidency.
Paula Treat: One night in 1983, my boss told me to go to dinner with the Assembly Rules Committee chairman, Lou Papan, a Democrat from Millbrae. Papan had a reputation for being a bully and womanizer. But I had a job to do. Over dinner at the Firehouse, he talked mostly about his family, and walked me to my car at what I thought would be the end of the evening. Then, he forced himself on me. I fought him off.
Hilary Abramson: A community gardener faces “probation.” What will come of the cauliflower and broccoli? She tended the garden for respite while caring for her husband, who is in hospice. Alas, rules are getting in the way.
Take a number: 2,095,000
California’s minimum wage rises by another 50 cents on Jan. 1 to $11 an hour, and a new analysis says that nearly 2.1 million workers in the state will directly benefit, reaping a total of nearly $2.7 billion in additional income a year.
The Economic Policy Institute points out that while 4.5 million workers in 18 states will get a higher minimum wage in 2018, many more are being left behind because the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009. With a Republican Congress in power, that seems highly unlikely to change.
But even in states raising their wages, the institute points out that workers aren’t keeping up with the cost of living. And a previous institute study pointed out that some workers aren’t getting the wages they’re owed.
Still, California’s workers are better off than in many states. The state minimum wage is headed to $15 an hour in 2022, unless the economy tanks and the governor delays increase. –Foon Rhee, @foonrhee
Los Angeles Times: Pervasive sexual harassment, and the toll taken on those who are victimized by it, didn’t receive the nationwide outpouring of outrage it deserved until this year, when it became a problem of the rich, famous and successful. If there’s to be a second act to this cultural movement, it should focus on the plight of lower-wage workers in industries where sexual harassment is also rampant, but where victims have fewer resources than the average movie star.
San Jose Mercury News: March Fong Eu didn’t just break toilets. She broke barriers. One after another. First woman elected California secretary of state, a post she held for nearly 20 years. First person elected to California statewide office with a margin of more than 1 million votes. First Asian-American elected to a state constitutional office in the nation.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Children still enjoying the warm glow of the holidays should squeeze their presents tightly. President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans plan to kick the crutches out from under Tiny Tim and other young people in 2018. Children’s health is first on the chopping block for the new year. Congress failed to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program back in September.
(Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Sun Sentinel: The election last year was the fifth in which the candidate with the most votes lost the presidency. It’s a dangerous way to run a democracy that depends upon the people’s trust. Florida could help in a big way to put an end to Electoral College malfunctions, but the necessary legislation doesn’t appear to have a warm welcome in Tallahassee. It should.
(Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer: Despite some decidedly mixed reviews, the Donald Trump Morning Show on Twitter has been picked up for a second season, at least apparently. Look out, though. The president may fall victim to something he, as a show-business sort of guy, ought to know is a problem: reruns too familiar to the audience.
Anne Applebaum, Washington Post: They are catch-all adjectives, useful in describing a general phenomenon. But they are also euphemisms, and they disguise what’s at stake – not just politics as usual, but also democracy itself.
Megan McArdle, Bloomberg: While there are already places where people will give you real goods and services for your bitcoin, there aren’t that many of them. For bitcoin to compete with global currencies, it’s going to need someplace on earth where you can confidently walk into most stores and expect them to quote you a price in bitcoin.
Paul Waldman, Washington Post: Make no mistake: Michael Flynn will be accusing somebody of wrongdoing. And that somebody almost certainly has to be higher up in the chain than himself, which means a very small number of people.
“Rep. Tom McClintock’s silence in not speaking out against these outrageous lies that his colleagues keep making on Fox News speaks volumes about who he is and whose interests he represents.“ – Mike Holzer, Roseville.