Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 2, 2012
VIDEO: Jerry Brown touts study on millionaire migration, divorce

SANTA CLARA - Gov. Jerry Brown, campaigning this afternoon for his ballot initiative to raise income taxes on upper-income earners, sought to debunk the idea that the increase would drive them out of the state.

He cited a study that says millionaires are more likely to leave California because of divorce than higher tax rates.

Presuming some millionaires were in the audience as he participated in a panel discussion at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group's annual public policy luncheon, Brown told them: "People are afraid that you're going to move, and I want you to stay. I want to write you a letter of commendation because you're doing well."

The Democratic governor said he read the study during the luncheon "while I was trying to finish that sandwich ... What it says is the biggest factor in millionaires moving out of California is divorce."

Brown, who also proposes to raise the state sales tax, called divorce a "50 percent tax hit," suggesting millionaires concern themselves less with California's tax rate and "pay attention to your spouse."

November 2, 2012
Video: Why unions, business battle over Proposition 32

Capitol Alert's Torey Van Oot sat down this week with a few of her colleagues in the The Bee Capitol Bureau to go over the basics of some of the statewide ballot measures facing voters on Tuesday.

In this installment, she talks to Jon Ortiz about Proposition 32. Look for segments on the tax increase measures and Proposition 37, the food labeling measure, on Saturday.

November 2, 2012
Appeals court denies California's attempt at Arizona donor audit

California's 3rd District Court of Appeal today denied the state's emergency request to force an Arizona nonprofit to submit information related to its recent $11 million political contribution.

The decision makes it even less likely that Americans for Responsible Leadership will disclose its donors before Tuesday's election.

Ann Ravel, who heads the state Fair Political Practices Commission, said her agency will now ask the state Supreme Court to force ARL to comply. FPPC has requested emails, texts and financial transactions data related to the $11 million check the group gave a business committee last month. Funds have gone toward fighting Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, and to support a measure restricting union dues collection, Proposition 32.

November 2, 2012
California EDD predicts that high unemployment will persist

High unemployment will persist in California for at least a couple more years, the state Department of Employment Development predicts, and the state's $10 billion debt to the federal government will also persist unless California employers cough up more money.

The projections are contained in a new EDD report.

California began borrowing to shore up its flat-broke Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) nearly four years ago. The fund pays for the initial 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits, plus portions of extended benefits.

The debt grew to nearly $10 billion by the end of 2011. It's expected to hit $10.2 billion by the end of this year and remain at that level through 2013 before slowly declining in 2014 as, EDD expects, unemployment drifts slowly downward.

California has just under 2 million unemployed now. The agency expects that the number will decline slowly in 2013 and 2014. It also expects new claims for unemployment insurance benefits to remain at about 2 million a year through 2014.

The federal government slightly boosted taxes on employers to offset some of the state's UIF debt, but it also started charging interest on that debt -- about $300 million a year -- in 2011. With the UIF in the red and the state budget facing deficits, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature opted to borrow money for the interest payments from the Disability Insurance Fund (DIF), which is financed by payroll taxes on employees.

Brown asked the Legislature this to raise taxes on employers to repay the DIF loan, but there was no action -- nor has anyone proposed a plan to repay the larger, $10 billion UIF debt to the federal government.

November 2, 2012
California hits record-high 18.2 million voters ahead of election

The number of Californians registered to vote has reached a new high, with 18.2 million residents eligible to participate in Tuesday's election.

That represents nearly 77 percent of the state's eligible voting population, according to figures released today by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

While registrations submitted through the state's new online system generated buzz this fall, the state saw fewer voters added to the rolls in the final weeks ahead of the Oct. 22 registration deadline than in the same period in 2008.

"Registering to vote is easier now than it was four years ago, yet fewer people actually registered in this final 45-day window than did in 2008," Bowen said in a statement. "This makes it clear that it's not just a question of making voter registration easier; it's really about what inspires people to care about their democracy and be part of the decision-making process."

Democrats continue to hold a double-digit lead in registration over other parties in the state, with the party's share of the electorate rising slightly since September to 43.7 percent. The percentages of Republicans and voters who decline to identify a party preference both dropped by less than a percentage point during the same period. Republican registration dipped below 30 percent. About a fifth of voters did not pick a party.

November 2, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Do union endorsements make candidates tough on crime?

VIDEO: Dan says voters shouldn't read too much into those endorsements from police organizations.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

November 2, 2012
AM Alert: Poll trends up on Prop. 34, down on Prop. 32

VIDEO: Dan Walters looks at what makes candidates tough on crime.

The trend line has flipped on the anti-death penalty measure, Proposition 34, according to the latest Field Poll.

Last month, 45 percent of likely voters said they would vote no on abolishing the death penalty in the state. In the current survey's first interviews, the two sides were running about even. But in its second wave of interviews, support had pulled ahead, 45 percent to 38 percent.

The current survey also found that 48 percent of the likely voters who have already cast their ballots say they voted for the measure. Another 42 percent voted no, while the rest didn't disclose their vote. Meanwhile, 17 percent of all likely voters say they're still undecided on the issue.

Meanwhile, opposition to Proposition 32 on payroll deductions is growing in the campaign's final weeks. In the current survey's second wave of interviews, 50 percent of likely voters said they would vote no. Among those who say they've already voted, the no side polled even higher, at 58 percent.

Jon Ortiz has more details on the Proposition 32 poll in today's Bee, while Sam Stanton looks at the trends on Proposition 34 in a separate story.

If you want even more numbers, click here to read the statistical tabulations compiled exclusively for Capitol Alert and The Bee. The publicly released poll is at this link.

We'll have to wait until Saturday for our next Field Poll fix. That survey will look at the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Then Tuesday, the poll will estimate California voter turnout in the general election.

Last minute campaign events include a No on Prop. 34 presser today featuring the county District Attorney Jan Scully and Sheriff Scott Jones, as well as Michael Rushford of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation and Sandy Friend, whose child was murdered. That event starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs Association office, 1700 I St., Suite 100.

Gov. Jerry Brown, meanwhile, talks up Proposition 30 at a luncheon discussion with Virgin America CEO David Cush and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group's annual public policy luncheon. Barbara Marshman, the editorial page editor of the San Jose Mercury News, will moderate the event at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Click here for more information.

Today's also the day that the Secretary of State's Office releases official numbers on California's registered voters. How high will they go?

CAPITOL STEPS: McClatchy High School students and others are organizing a rally on the west steps at 1:30 p.m. to protest potential trigger cuts if voters reject Proposition 30, and Planned Parenthood advocates from Mar Monte are bringing their big pink bus to Sacramento for a rally on the west steps at 5:30 p.m. Listed speakers for the second event include Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

CAP CITY: Rep. Doris Matsui and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, both Sacramento Democrats, are among the officials slated to speak at the opening of the first phase of the multimodal transit station at the Sacramento rail yards site. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. behind the Sacramento Valley Station at 5th and I streets.

GOTV: Democrat Ami Bera, who is challenging GOP Rep. Dan Lungren, is scheduled to talk to supporters and volunteers at 1 p.m. Saturday at the California Democratic Party Office, 4132 Manzanita Ave., in Carmichael before they head out to canvass door to door. Labor union representatives also rally at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at the Sacramento Labor Council, 2840 El Centro Road, and conduct a phone bank at 11 a.m. at the Sacramento City Teachers Association, 5300 Elvas Ave.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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