This list of California zealotry bodes ill for free-loving people everywhere…
With the state staring at a $16 billion budget shortfall, California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking voter approval in November for a $9 billion tax hike initiative that would add three percentages points to the top income tax rate, making it the highest in the nation at 13.3 percent. Perhaps, California lawmakers should look to Texas, where the legislature closed a major budget gap by cutting spending.
2. Bullet train folly
The state is moving ahead with, and even expanding, a plan to construct a high-speed bullet train linking San Francisco to Los Angeles via the Central Valley. Given the fact that California’s fiscal system is in free-fall, has anyone in Sacramento given thought as to how to pay for this boondoggle? Sure, the feds will help with the initial $68 billion price tag, but the rail will require large annual state subsidies in perpetuity.
3. Job-killing carbon credits
The state soon will begin gathering billions of dollars in revenue from the global warming legislation signed into law by GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 that mandated corporations purchase carbon credits to offset their pollution emissions. But studies have shown that the bill comes with a steep cost: a loss of some 1 million jobs in the state over time.
4. No license needed
Los Angeles police have decided to relax enforcement of a state law that requires vehicles to be impounded if they belong to unlicensed drivers, which leads to a 30-day hold and fines exceeding $1,200. Many of those affected are illegal immigrants. L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck followed that by suggesting illegal immigrants be given provisional or nonresident licenses, reprising the state’s heated driver’s license debate of several years ago. It is unlikely to gain much traction.
5. Green-car mandate
The California Air Resources Board passed new rules requiring some 14 percent of the new cars sold in the state be electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as mandating sharp reductions in emissions. Never mind that electric cars ala the Chevy Volt are basically cars that no one wants to drive. Or that stricter emission standards will increase the price of autos to consumers.
6. Green for all
For another example of spending taxpayer money for a program with limited benefit, how about this doozy: A new program is using taxpayer money to retro-fit homes in lower income sections of Los Angeles with fancy green energy devices like solar panels and tankless water heaters. Why are taxpayers footing the bill for these appliances—for those at any income level?
7. Bicycle texting
In the category of “Is this such a big problem that we need a law to fix it,” state senator Joe Simitian from Palo Alto has introduced a bill that would ban bicyclists from texting or talking on a cellphone without using a headset. Now let us pass a law to make it illegal for fish to ride a motorcycle.
8. Bagging all bags
Paper or plastic? That soon will not be an option in Los Angeles as the city council is moving ahead with a proposal to ban both kinds of bags in order to force consumers into using reusable containers at grocery stores. It is unclear if members of the council are aware of reports that dirty recycled bags have been known to carry diseases such as norovirus, the most common cause of food-borne illness in the United States.
9. Sexual balance
California’s sexual orientation fetish is driving state policy in a variety of ways. The state’s Administrative Office of the Courts is asking California judges to disclose their sexual orientation in order to make sure that gays and lesbians are adequately represented in the judicial system. And the state is asking contractors to disclose their sexual orientation in order to gather information about the impact of gay-owned business on the state economy.
10. Battery charger law
California wants to make sure that the battery chargers for your cell phones and laptops are not using too much energy. The California Energy Commission voted to enact the nation’s first standards for battery chargers, hoping to improve the energy efficiency of the devices. Now other states are considering following suit, proving once again that the Golden State is leading the nation to big government nannyism.