Well my, my, my. Jerry Brown using state resources to explore for oil on his land?

November 5, 2015
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Oil Tycoon

No wonder you don’t oppose fracking, Governor:

Gov. Jerry Brown last year directed state oil and gas regulators to research, map and report back on any mining and oil drilling history and “potential for future oil and gas activity” at the Brown family’s private land in Northern California, state records show.

After a phone call from the governor and follow-up requests from his aides, senior staffers in the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency over at least two days produced a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas drilling map for the area around Brown’s family ranchland near the town of Williams.

State regulators labeled the map they did for Brown “Oil and Gas Potential In West Colusa County,” and “JB-Ranch,” referring to the Brown family land in Colusa County.

Ultimately, the regulators told the governor, prospects were “very low” for any commercial drilling or mining at the 2,700-acre property, which has been in Brown’s family for more than a century.

Through the state’s open records law, The Associated Press obtained the research that state regulators carried out for Brown, and the emails among senior oil and gas regulators scrambling to fulfill the governor’s request.

Brown spokesman Evan Westrup declined to discuss the work for the governor, referring the AP to California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. That agency said the work was a legal and proper use of public resources – and no more than the general public would get. But oil industry experts said they could not recall a similar example of anyone getting that kind of state work done for private property.

Brown’s request to state regulators amounted to the governor using state workers as “his own private oil prospecting team,” said Hollin Kretzmann, a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

In fact, as I’m sure is true in most, if not all, states, it is illegal for state officials to use state resources and personnel for private projects. Usually, that means you’re not allowed to have office staff help your reelection campaign on state time, or pick up your groceries.

But, in this case, our beloved governor (Really, he is the sanest Democrat in Sacramento, which is scary) used public resources and funds to explore for “black gold” on his private land. And, if the site had been found promising, I’m sure Jerry would have been cool with extracting it via fracking. Not that I oppose fracking (I don’t), but this perhaps explains why the famously liberal, environmentally conscious Governor Moonbeam has gone against the Green lobby on this.

This reminds me of something I think Peter Schweizer wrote in his book, “Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy “, paraphrasing:

“When conservatives violate their principles, they harm themselves. When liberals violate theirs, they prosper.”

Naughty, naughty, Governor!

via Flash Report

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No wonder they call him ‘moonbeam’ – California Governor Jerry Brown claims Global Warming causes extreme cold

March 23, 2015

Ah, I wish we knew what sin we had committed as a state to deserve a governor like Jerry. Scary thing is, for those who don’t know California, is that he’s one of the sane(r) Democrats in Sacramento.

Watts Up With That?

Remember this eye roller from Brown where he claimed LAX was at risk from sea level rise, only to have to walkback the claim the next day after it was pointed out on WUWT that LAX is well above sea level?

Brown_LAX_SLR He’s at it again. Eric Worrall writes:

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared senator Ted Cruz is “unfit for office”, because Cruz doesn’t believe that global warming is the cause of the extreme cold in America’s North East.

According to CNN;

“What he said is absolutely false,” Brown said. “Over 90% of the scientists who deal with climate are absolutely convinced that the humans’ activity, industrial activity … are building up in the atmosphere, they’re heat trapping, and they’re causing not just one drought in California but severe storms and cold on the East Coast.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/03/22/politics/ted-cruz-2016-election-global-warming-jerry-brown/

What can I say – without experts like Jerry to explain the…

View original post 48 more words


California: Governor Brown panicking over High-Speed Rail? Updated.

January 8, 2014
Boondoggle

Boondoggle

From The Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters. It looks like Governor Brown, faced with recent legal defeats for his “Train to Nowhere,” may be starting to panic:

Jerry Brown may be getting desperate about keeping the state’s increasingly unpopular – not to mention financially and legally challenged – bullet train project alive.

Faced with a judge’s insistence that the project follow the law about having its financial ducks lined up, Gov. Brown is now poised to shift money from the state’s “cap-and-trade” fees on greenhouse-gas emissions into the bullet train.

Brown, it’s been reported in The Bee and elsewhere, will propose in his 2014-15 budget that a portion of the fees being extracted from California business be committed to the bullet train.

Problem is, the money my fellow Californians allocated (1) to fight global warming climate change the evil demon threatening Gaea is “hardwired” by statute; the court may not accept that as a funding source sufficient to let construction go forward. Even if it does, the legislature, whose dominant leftist faction gets a lot of donation money from environmentalist groups, may not agree to reallocate the funds. But, if they do, and if the judge accepts this as a legal source of funds for Jerry’s Choo-Choo, it may still set up the mother of all Blue-on-Blue battles in Sacramento as environmentalist groups and their voters will likely raise an unholy stink over any money being diverted from their religious crusade.

And, when that happens, I’m doubling my popcorn order. smiley popcorn

Footnote:
(1) Passed in a fit of  “It’s for the environment! It must be good!!” Look, I live in a beautiful state and consider myself a conservationist (But not an environmentalist. I don’t join cults.), but passing a crippling new tax to fight a problem that does not exist was stupid and self-destructive for the state. Unfortunately, that’s what you get when an electorate votes with less consideration of the issues than they give to buying a head of lettuce.

UPDATE: There is no way I’m taking Moe Lane’s bet. That’s a sucker’s bet if I ever saw one.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California: Governor Brown thinks we’re stupid

January 6, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget was released yesterday (1) and it’s… Well, this is a family show, so let’s just say it’s “interesting.”

Governor Jerry Brown proposed $92.6 billion in spending for the year starting in July, an increase of about 7 percent, which will count on voters approving $7 billion of higher taxes in November.

The spending plan foresees a deficit of $9.2 billion through the next 18 months. Almost half of that is in the current fiscal year, he said. He called for $4.2 billion in cuts, mostly to welfare and programs for the poor. If the tax increase isn’t passed, Brown’s plan would cut another $4.8 billion in support for public schools and community colleges.

In other words, the government of a state that’s already suffering from too much government spending and suicidally high levels of taxation wants to increase spending and ask the voters to tax themselves more. Makes sense? It does if you’re a California liberal Democrat. I mean, we just couldn’t cut some of the myriad of needless and redundant state boards we maintain (and whose members draw six-figure salaries). We couldn’t cut the subsidized car leases and hefty per diems our elected representatives oligarchs get (2). We couldn’t find ways to increase revenue by intelligently exploiting our vast natural resources and making California once again an attractive place to do business, now could we?

Heaven forfend! Are you mad?

No, the only way to feed Sacramento’s crack habit spending needs is to raise revenue by increasing sales and income taxes, the latter especially on those filthy, evil, rich people. (That is, small business owners who create the few jobs that still are created here.) That means We The People have to agree to those taxes.

And that means Jerry has to lie to us:

The proposed 2012 budget would slash $5.2 billion in public school funding if voters reject the tax increases Brown is trying to put on the November ballot. This would include about $200 million in cuts each to the University of California and the Cal State University systems and $4.8 billion to K-12 education and community colleges. (3)

In other words, “if you don’t agree to tax yourselves more, you must hate children! My God, THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!” It’s the typical prediction of apocalyptic doom they hit us with every single time they ask for higher taxes. And it is absolute baloney.

A little background: under Proposition 98, passed in 1988, funds for K-12 education in California must increase every year (4); it’s required by the state constitution. As you’ll see in the summary charts for the budget (PDF, via Moe Lane), Brown’s budget includes a $4.8 billion increase in K-12 funding. Look familiar? It should; that’s the same amount cited as a “slash” in funding in the above quote. In other words, the “cut in education funding” is really the elimination of a proposed increase, not a genuine cut at all.

And that’s the lie: the “cut” the Democrats are shrieking about would really be just holding education spending at it’s already-generous level. That’s why I say they think we’re stupid. They think we’ll fall for it. But they forget they’ve tried this trick before, and it hasn’t worked. Ballot proposals for tax increases have a history here of going down to defeat. I predict this one will, too.

Because we’re not as stupid as our masters think.

via The Flash Report

UPDATE: At Cal Watchdog, Katy Grimes says the Governor is holding schoolchildren hostage.

Footnotes:
(1) Not released by Jerry, though. That was supposed to be next week. Some staffer screwed up. Ooops.
(2) In fact, all three branches of government get an increase. How… nice.
(3) With an annoyed comment from me at the bottom.
(4) The law can be suspended for a year by a 2/3rds vote of the legislature. I suspect this is what will have to happen if the voters reject the tax increase.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California: Jerry Brown lives down to expectations

January 5, 2011

Well, that didn’t take long. Either we do what Jerry says and continue our exorbitant tax rates or the kids get it:

Gov. Jerry Brown will spare K-12 schools from further drastic cuts in his budget – so long as voters extend higher income taxes in a special election, according to sources familiar with his proposal.

The tradeoff wouldn’t cure education ills, and many districts would still face another year of fewer school days and larger class sizes. But it could avert even deeper cuts after years of school rollbacks and help Brown galvanize powerful education support for tax hikes in a June special election.

“If something like that happens, I’m going to be looking for the feet to be kissed,” said Kevin Gordon, a veteran education lobbyist, of the Brown education proposal. “The big question is, what will the voters do, and if voters don’t come through, will we go through incredible anxiety all over again?”

Brown does not plan to suspend Proposition 98, the state’s minimum guarantee for K-12 and community college funding, though he may seek to do so if the tax hike extensions don’t pass.

For those not familiar with our Sacramento-based soap opera, this is a ploy the legislature (and pliant governors like Schwarzenegger) have used in recent years to scare us into voting for new taxes: promise doom and the death of beloved programs unless we agree to give them even more money. And the newspapers act as their shills. It’s emotional blackmail at its worst, a typical liberal-statist ploy to avoid any real cuts to their precious spending by scaring the public.

And it ignores very real areas in which substantive cuts could be made, cuts that should be considered before any tax-hike proposal. Jon Fleischman of Flash Report has listed several in a hard-hitting post:

  • Have we ended collective bargaining for public employees?
  • Have we gone through and eliminated every possible state employee or contractor possible, streamlining our workforce such as in the private sector?
  • Have we privatized anything (roads, prisons, universities)?
  • Have we eliminated some of the vast array of hundreds of state boards and commissions?
  • Have we made permanent changes to social welfare spending to prevent future spending abuse?
  • Have we put forward repealing unspent bonds (especially high speed rail)?
  • Have we eliminated all of those high-paying, cushy commissions that are landing pads for termed-out legislators?
  • How about implementing all of the cost-savings suggested in the comprehensive California Performance Review?
  • How about ending taxpayer-provided cars (two of them) for members of the legislature?
  • Or how about ending the use of legislatures using public funds to mail “push-surveys” to constituents?

I’ll add another: Have we eliminated the subsidies to community colleges, which cost the taxpayers over $4 billion per year? Yes, it will be hard on their students to have to pay market rates, but higher education is a public good, not an unalienable right. In times of hardship with no new revenues coming in, these are the hard choices we have to look at.

And speaking of new revenue, notice there’s no mention of exploiting this state’s vast natural resources to raise money through royalties. Former Assemblyman Chuck DeVore had a very good proposal to develop the vast oil wealth off the California coast by use of safe slant-drilling techniques for an estimated $16 billion a year in new revenue. That would go a long way toward curing our deficit. Why tax us into penury when we have “money in the vault?”

Back to Jerry’s proposal blackmail: the taxes he wants to extend were enacted as “temporary” measures in 2009, and voters defeated a ballot initiative that same year to extend them for two years — an initiative accompanied by similar dire warnings of DOOM! if it did not pass. We turned it down then 2-1 and, if Jerry and the liberal-statists who control the legislature want to have that battle again, bring it on. California has a spending problem, not a tax-revenue problem. Until we see deep cuts in spending to match revenue, new revenues outside of taxes, and changes in the ways the spending of our money takes place, the Mandarins of Green Dome on 10th Street get nothing.

PS. Anyone else note the deep irony of liberal Democrats, who proclaim their concern for the children ad nauseam, trying to get their way by threatening… the children? One could almost drown in the depths of their insincerity.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California: Brown’s austerity budget?

December 29, 2010

The LA Times has an interesting article today about incoming Governor Brown’s proposed budget – interesting mainly for what it hints at and leaves out, and secondarily for a bit of media bias. First, the proposal:

Gov.-elect Jerry Brown is laying the groundwork for a budget plan that would couple deep cuts to state services, including university systems and welfare programs, with a request that voters extend temporary tax hikes on vehicles, income and sales that are set to expire next year.

The blueprint Brown will unveil when he takes office early next month also is expected to take aim at several tax breaks and subsidies that have been fiercely guarded by the business lobby in Sacramento, according to people involved in budget discussions with the incoming administration.

Among the breaks are multibillion-dollar incentives for redevelopment projects and hundreds of millions of dollars of “enterprise zone” credits meant to encourage investment in blighted neighborhoods. Also targeted is a recent change to state business tax formulas that has saved corporate California roughly $1 billion.

The combination of austere spending and extended tax hikes is designed to confront both parties and their allied interest groups with painful choices that Brown says are necessary to truly resolve the state’s massive budget problems. He intends to take swift action, using the political capital of a new governor to confront a deficit that could easily subsume his governorship.

In a symbolic gesture to garner the trust of a skeptical public, Brown has already pledged to cut his own office budget by 25%.

First promising sign: the Governor-elect recognizes we’re in a deep mess and cannot keep spending the way we have been for the past 25 years :

California state spending has outgrown the state’s tax base by 1.3 percentage points annually for 25 years. Simple arithmetic dictates that in lieu of constant tax increases, this perpetuates a deficit.

From 1985 to 2009 state GDP in California grew by 5.5 percent per year, on average (not adjusted for inflation). Annual growth in state spending was 6.8 percent, on average. Three spending categories have dominated this spending spree: public schools, cash assistance and Medicaid. Making up half of state spending, they are outlets for traditional redistributive welfare state policy.

(h/t Wyoming Liberty Group)

Back to the Times article, Brown plans to ask for cuts to California’s welfare, public school, California State University, and University of California allocations. He also wants to change or eliminate special enterprise zones (areas of lowered taxes to encourage local hiring) and the way a particular tax is calculated for businesses. Finally, he wants voters to approve an extension of onerous tax increases enacted a few years ago, which will expire with this fiscal year.

It’s a mixed bag, with something to tick off everyone. By one theory of politics, that means he must be doing something right. Teacher’s unions and the universities, for example, will hate the cuts to education. But, let’s be blunt here: CSU and UC students, even after recent fee hikes, are still heavily subsidized and charged nowhere near market rate for what they get. And higher education is a public good, not an unalienable right. If the state can’t afford to keep subsidizing it at current levels, then logic dictates cutting back. And it’s not as if public school performance in California has warranted giving the teachers unions more, instead of forcing some competition and choice into the system, as has New Orleans.

The proposals to cut back business enterprise zones will surely anger business communities, but the article mentions (but does not cite directly) studies arguing that those zones have not had the desired effect. Shouldn’t fiscal conservatives be open to the idea of ending programs that don’t work, even if they are ones conservatives sympathize with?

One of the greatest obstacles Brown’s proposals face is the extension of tax rates. California is already one of the mostly highly taxed states in the nation, one of the reasons businesses and people are leaving for other states that don’t punish success nearly as much. Here in the Golden State, if you make more than $47,055, but less than a million, you pay the second-highest rate, 9.55%. Sales tax in Los Angeles county is 9.75%, which is a 1.5% premium over the state rate of 8.25%. And auto registration fees (the dread car tax, which was part of why Gray Davis lost his job in 2003) is 1.15% of the car’s value. Brown is hoping that spending cuts will persuade a skeptical and angry public to extend these tax rates in a special election in return for deep spending cuts. We’ll see.

The devil, of course, is in the details, and Brown’s representative was deliberately vague, probably not wanting to show his hand in advance of what is sure to be a hard fight in the legislature. Here are some questions I have for the once-and-future governor:

  • Are these spending cuts permanent reductions in bloated state spending, or just a temporary cutback until the economy picks up, at which point we’ll go on a binge again?
  • When would the extended tax rates expire? When the economy recovers, will you consider tax cuts to stimulate economic growth?
  • Will you push for an increase in school choice to break the stranglehold of the teachers unions and make sure we’re getting value for the money we put into education?
  • What will you do to reform California’s regulatory environment, which helps make this state the worst in which to do business?
  • What will you do to curb the corrupting influence of other public-employee unions?

I’m sure there are a lot more questions, but these are a start — as is Brown’s plan. We’ll see what comes out in the details in the months ahead.

TANGENT: The article does a pretty good job with the basics, but still reflects the LA Times’ pro-Democrat, pro-progressive bias. When discussing portions of Brown’s proposal that the business community might not like, it mentions only opposition with no word about people who might be hurt by the changes. When talking about cuts to welfare and education, we get pity-words about students and the poor, with no attention given to the effectiveness of those programs — unlike we see in the discussion of enterprise zones.  Not egregious, not outrageous, but sadly typical.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gray Davis: Jerry Brown will try to raise taxes

November 1, 2010

That’s the informed opinion of California’s former (and reviled) governor about the likely future under the Once and (maybe) Future Governor. From the Fresno Bee:

Former Gov. Gray Davis, no stranger to special elections after being recalled in 2003, said Wednesday that California is likely to face another special election next spring.

Davis pointed to billions in tax revenue set to expire next year, creating a deep hole in the next budget. He said that would force a conversation about whether to extend current, higher tax rates on income, sales and vehicles – and that such a conversation would involve the voters.

“The next governor will have to have a special election given the additional revenue shortfall we’ll face because of the temporary tax increases expiring,” Davis said in a phone conversation.

“Next governor” is a code phrase for “Jerry Brown,” since Whitman herself has said no way:

I saw today that former Governor Gray Davis says that if Jerry Brown is elected, we will have a special election in the spring to ask voters for even higher taxes. Talk about March Madness! More taxes in a recession. And Gray Davis ought to know; he was Jerry Brown’s right hand man for years. Voters, you are warned. Jerry Brown will bring more spending, more taxes and more lost jobs to California.

And that isn’t just campaign rhetoric: businesses and individual job creators are already fleeing California, in large part because of high taxes. When you add together the unemployed, the under-employed, and those who have given up looking for work, California’s jobless rate reaches 22%, according to that bastion of extreme right-wingnuttery, 60 Minutes:

Just last year, California voters crushed Proposition 1A, which would have imposed a special tax increase. With the state in worse shape now than it was then, only spending addicts such as Brown and Davis could seriously believe the people would approve new taxes. The only way the (once) Golden State will get out of this mess is by cutting spending, reducing taxes, and eliminating regulations that encourages job creators to take their business elsewhere.

And the first step is to vote Meg.

via Mayor Sam’s Sister City

Note: Davis talks about extending expiring taxes, but the linked Bee article also mentions “tax hikes.” You can be sure Brown and the legislature will want more than just what they currently have.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)