Trump and Ryan try again on unfair tax cuts: After failing to give a windfall to the wealthy through the health care overhaul, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are about to give it another attempt, this time disguised as tax reform. Just like Trumpcare, if it’s this version of tax reform or nothing, we’ll take nothing.
Two steps forward, one step back for Sacramento’s homeless: While the city and county are moving ahead on several promising initiatives, they will take time. In the meantime, five emergency shelters and warming centers will close at the end of March, leaving dozens without a place to sleep again.
Dan Walters: Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders are pushing a package of taxes and fees that would raise and spend about $5 billion a year on fixing dilapidated highways and improving other transportation systems. But it would do little to relieve congestion and needs nearly unanimous votes from Democratic legislators to be enacted.
Markos Kounalakis: The parochial interest of creating “America First” threatens to make her a second-rate global power and a self-absorbed bystander of a dangerously transforming world. The combination of a more assertive Russia, Turkey and China and a more isolationist and passive America is bad news for the world.
Bill Whalen: Gov. Jerry Brown could cobble together a cross-party partnership to influence the new power alignment in Washington.
Take a number: 11 percent
That’s the projected increase in U.S. pedestrian deaths in 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Association warned Thursday. It’s the second consecutive year of the largest annual jump in the death toll since records have been kept. Just Thursday, a landscape worker was struck by a vehicle and killed in North Natomas.
The safety association says that more cars are on the road due to lower gas prices and that more people are walking. But it also says another factor may be that too many drivers and pedestrians are distracted by their smart phones. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee
Los Angeles Times: There’s no question that anti-abortion activist David Daleiden surreptitiously recorded healthcare and biomedical services employees across the state of California with the intent of discrediting the healthcare provider, Planned Parenthood. But that doesn’t mean that Attorney General Xavier Becerra should have charged Daleiden and his co-conspirator, Susan Merritt, with 15 felony counts.
San Jose Mercury News: In 2016, Comcast’s income statement shows it produced $56 billion in gross profits. Slackers. Rival Verizon posted $74.5 billion in gross profits, while AT&T came in at $86.9 billion. It is unbelievable – not to mention despicable – that Republican members of Congress could look at those numbers and decide they need to sell out Americans’ online privacy in order for those Internet providers to maximize their profits.
Victorville Daily Press: Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrats’ super majority in Sacramento continue to prove they’ve never met a problem that could be solved without a tax increase. Schools not cutting it? Throw more money at them, for God’s sake. High-speed rail required to cement Gov. Brown’s legacy (at least in his addled brain)? Absolutely throw more money at it. So we shouldn’t be surprised that Gov. Brown on Wednesday announced plans to solve the state’s transportation infrastructure woes by substantially hiking taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel and increasing the annual registration fees all Californians pay on their cars and trucks.
Orange County Register: Revelations that numerous police agencies paid two jailhouse informants a combined $335,000 over a four-year period should encourage state lawmakers to get behind legislation to finally rein in the practice. “The integrity of our criminal justice system is crumbling and one contributing factor is California’s long history of unethical and illegal use of jailhouse informants, like we are seeing play out in Orange County,” said Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, who introduced Assembly Bill 359 to put in place sensible controls over the use of informants.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: California and Washington, D.C. may be on a collision course on immigration. But when it comes to climate policy, the nation’s capital and its largest state are headed in opposite directions. Only one is headed in the right direction.
Charlotte Observer: Legislators and Gov. Roy Cooper hailed Thursday’s HB2 repeal bill as a compromise. In fact, it is nothing of the kind. It is a betrayal of the promises the governor made to the LGBT community and a doubling down on discrimination by Republican legislators who have backed it all along.
Lexington Herald Leader: Gov. Matt Bevin continues to waste public resources — including the federal courts’ time — by attacking the rights of Kentuckians to make private decisions about their lives and their families’ futures. Bevin’s latest assault would effectively outlaw abortion in Kentucky by shutting down the state’s last abortion provider.
Kansas City Star: Gov. Sam Brownback’s stated reasons for single-handedly denying 150,000 Kansans access to health care are simply not serious. Now voters have the weekend to let their representatives know how they feel about it.
Victor Davis Hanson, National Review: Rep. Devin Nunes, the beleaguered Intelligence Committee chairman, is the latest target in a partisan smear campaign. He must not step down.
Michael Gerson: Republicans got an administration that is incompetent. The White House policy process has been erratic and disorganized.
Eugene Robinson: Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress, so we’re basically in their hands. But they have nothing approaching consensus on what they should be doing – and they have failed to show basic competence at doing much of anything.
Charles Krauthammer: A broad national consensus is developing that health care is indeed a right. This is historically new. It suggests that we may be heading inexorably to a government-run, single-payer system.
Nicholas Kristof: Perhaps Donald Trump’s election is actually a reminder that we need the humanities more than ever to counter nationalism and demagoguery.
Gail Collins: Women’s History Month is coming to an end. Donald Trump must be absolutely exhausted.
“Oakland’s Raiders fans should get a life. It’s schools, roads, museums and parks that make a city great, not some millionaire’s hobby.” – William J. Hughes, Sacramento
Tweet of the day
“Incredibly proud of the SpaceX team for achieving this milestone in space! Next goal is reflight within 24 hours,” Elon Musk @elonmusk, after Musk’s company launched and landed a rocket that had previously flown. The LA Times called it “a milestone that could signal a new era of low-cost space transportation.”