Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 29, 2012
California ranks second in itemized deductions

California taxpayers rank second in the nation in itemized deductions as a share of income, a noteworthy fact as national leaders consider tax policy changes that may restrict how much people can itemize, according to the Tax Foundation.

Californians applied itemized deductions against one-fifth of their income in 2010, the Washington, D.C.-based group noted in a new chart. Maryland residents barely deducted more - 20.09 percent - to take the top spot.


Graphic: Tax Foundation

November 29, 2012
California will offer Powerball lottery next year

Powerball Jackpot.JPG
A day after lottery officials announced that winners in Arizona and Missouri will share the $580 million Powerball jackpot, California lottery officials decided the state will join the game.

The California State Lottery Commission voted unanimously today to approve new regulations allowing the state to participate in the Powerball game, which is run by the Multi-State Lottery Association. Californians should be able to play Powerball by April 8, 2013, said lottery commission spokesman Russ Lopez.

Offering the game in California is "part of a continuing effort to offer new and exciting products to players and increase sales," state lottery officials wrote in a staff report. The report says the state would net between $90 million and $120 million a year by offering Powerball, after accounting for decreased sales in other games such as SuperLotto Plus and Mega Millions.

The starting jackpot in those games is $7 million and $12 million, respectively, compared with Powerball's starting jackpot of $40 million.

"The Powerball jackpot also grows faster, increasing by at least $10 million per 'roll,'" the report says. "These jackpot levels rapidly build excitement among players."

PHOTO CREDIT: A Powerball player in Maryland checks her numbers Wednesday. Associated Press/Patrick Semansky.

November 29, 2012
California Senate budget head wants to lower tax increase hurdle

20110628_ha_senate_budget24483.JPGThe Democratic head of the Senate budget committee said today he wants California voters to lower the threshold for school parcel taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said he will introduce legislation Monday placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot making it easier for school districts and county education offices to raise taxes. Democrats this month won supermajority control of the Legislature for the first time in over a century, making it possible for them to place constitutional amendments such as Leno's on the ballot without GOP support.

California requires that two-thirds of voters approve parcel taxes for schools, though it only requires 55 percent support for school bonds. Districts typically use bonds for building improvements but parcel taxes to support operating expenses.

November 29, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: California lags behind other states

Dan Walters says California doesn't compare well to other states, particularly on fiscal matters.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

November 29, 2012
AM Alert: Naughty or nice

VIDEO: Dan Walters says California is lagging behind other states.

It's the time of year for list-making up in the North Pole -- and also here around the Capitol. Who's been naughty? Who's been nice?

Tonight the Citizen Hotel releases its fourth annual list - displayed in a Christmas window at 10th and J streets - calling out public figures for their deeds good and (mostly) bad.

The naughty list in 2009 included then-Assemblyman Mike Duvall, who bragged to a colleague about spanking a mistress wearing "eye-patch panties" - without realizing his comments were being recorded.

In 2010, the hotel's naughty list included then-Sen. Roy Ashburn, who was busted for drunk driving. He later came out as being gay despite a record of voting against gay rights measures.

And last year, the only California politician to make the Citizen's naughty list was former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Don't think we need to tell you why.

So which California politician do you think will be called out for naughty behavior this year? The list of possibilities is pretty long, just going over the criminal court docket. Tweet your guess today with the hashtag #naughtycapol. Then take yourself over to the Citizen for the 5:30 p.m. cocktail party, where the list will be revealed .


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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