Democrat Assemblywoman Wilma Chan of Oakland, backed by 24 of her colleagues, has introduced a bill to increase the top income tax rates in hopes of raising about $3 billion a year. Chans bill, AB 1815, would boost the top rate from the current 9.3 percent to 10 percent on singles with taxable incomes of more than $136,000 a year and joint filers earning $272,000. The top rate for individuals with incomes of $272,000 and couples earning $544,000 annually would go to 11 percent. Chan says her bill would affect the top 2 percent of California wage earners. I still expect Schwarzenegger to wiggle his way through the year without a tax increase. But I would not be shocked if, facing a stalemate this summer, he were to agree to place a bill like this on the November ballot and let the people decide whether to hike taxes or cut more programs. In my column this Sunday I will discuss the latest figures on the rise and fall of Californias super-rich and the implications for the states budget shortfall..
Posted by dweintraub at 2:16 PM
Californias latest employment figures illustrate the widening gap between the two survey methods, one of employer payrolls and the other of households. The payroll survey shows employment dropped in December as companies shed 8,400 jobs during the month. The household survey, on the other hand, shows an increase in the number of people reporting they hold jobs, up 39,000 over Novembers figure. In any case, the official unemployment rate dropped a tick in December to 6.4 percent, down from a revised 6.5 percent in November. New claims for unemployment insurance also dropped, by about 25 percent. Here is the Employment Development Department press release.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:19 AM
California's Democrats can't be surprised that none of the major candidates for president are showing up at their state convention this weekend, with the Iowa caucuses scheduled for Monday and the New Hampshire primary eight days later. Instead, the Dems are getting stand-ins and surrogates. Among them: Wesley Clark Jr. comes to San Jose Saturday to stump for his dad.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:56 AM
Schwarzenegger's endorsement of Bill Jones today for the US Senate appears to be a simple case of payback for Jones' relatively early backing of Schwarzenegger in the recall race last year. It could also be a consolation prize for Jones not getting a slot in Schwarzenegger's cabinet, which he had sought. But it's not exactly new politics. Staying out of the race, or endorsing either of the moderate women running for the seat (Rosario Marin and Toni Casey), would have been the more eyebrow-raising thing for Schwarzenegger to do. On the other hand, at this point, neither one is showing much strength, and Jones' biggest threat at the moment is coming from the right, in the person of former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian. Kaloogian is to Jones as McClintock was to Schwarzenegger. So the governor probably has some empathy there.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:54 AM
Dean and Clark are atop what looks like a two-man race for the Democratic presidential delegates from California, but President Bush holds at least a narrow lead in hypothetical matchups with all the Democratic contenders. So says the latest Field Poll.
Posted by dweintraub at 7:04 AM