Capitol Alert

Will California see tax increases? + ‘A real crazy mess’ filling Ted Gaines’ seat

Read my lips: No. New. Taxes. Well, maybe not exactly. After speaking with top Democrats, things are a bit more complicated.


With supermajorities in the Legislature, it will be easier — at least in theory — for Democrats to raise taxes and approve constitutional amendments. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon was adamant that tax increases are not on the horizon.

“There’s no plans on the books right now for tax increases,” Rendon said. “There’s no proposals for raising fees, either.”

(Rendon spoke before eight Assembly Democrats introduced Assembly Bill 18 to establish a tax on sales of semi-automatic firearms.)

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins seemed more open to the possibility, saying that “it’s always a matter of discussion.” She expects several bills requiring two-thirds support will be brought to a vote.

“You’re going to see a number of pieces of legislation that are going to be put forward that take a two-thirds vote,” Atkins said. “It’s up for discussion. We will see how our colleagues decide.”


Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills, will be leaving his post to join the state’s Board of Equalization. Candidates have started to emerge publicly. Beth Gaines, Ted Gaines’ wife and a former assemblywoman, is expected to run. She has already received thousands of dollars for a 2020 election campaign. Sen. Gaines all but confirmed his wife’s intention to run, saying, “She is very actively engaged in the Senate campaign.” He said he’d happily support his wife’s candidacy.

Assemblymen Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, and Brian Dahle, R-Bieber are running, as is Rex Hime, President and CEO of the California Business Properties Association. Senate Republican Leader Pat Bates said the party will be “working very hard to get a great candidate.”

The district covers a large portion of northern California, stretching from the Oregon border to the Lake Tahoe area. It is a heavily red seat Republicans are expected to win.

“I’m in the Senate,” said Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, “so I’ve got to worry about who replaces Gaines. That’s gonna be a real crazy mess.”


She grew up in a trailer and is now working as a California lawmaker. The grassroots organizer who helped Barack Obama become president now finds herself on her own political journey. Buffy Wicks will represent Oakland in the Assembly, replacing the seat vacated by Tony Thurmond — the Democrat who successfully ran for superintendent of public instruction.

She plans to join the progressive wing of the party.

“I’ve been progressive my entire life. I’ve been in progressive politics for about 20 years. … Fundamentally, the reason why is I don’t come from a lot. I don’t come from a politically-connected or money or any of those things.”

Wicks said she plans to advocate for strong social safety nets, early childhood education and affordable housing. She also wants to raise teacher pay and combat homelessness. Wicks noted she and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom “share a lot of values.”


Assemblyman Ash Kalra (@Ash_Kalra) — “Here we go….”

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