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Invest tax dollars in roads, not public transportation

“I take public transit, but I hate it,” says a student intern who works in my downtown Sacramento office. In a perfect world, there would be nothing wrong with investing in public transportation. We’re told by government that infrastructure projects like high-speed rail will make travel cheaper, more accessible and better for the environment. …

California needs water, not bullet trains

Californians across the state recognize that the historic drought has changed the priorities of our state. Because of the drought, we’ve all been asked to do more with less and to make water conservation our No. 1 priority. The good news is that Californians have responded. And despite being hit with higher water rates and food prices, people from …

California’s priority should be water, not high-speed rail

By George Runner and Bob Huff What’s more important to you? Having reliable, clean and safe drinking water, or being able to catch a not-so-fast train between Los Angeles and San Francisco? In the midst of a record drought, to most Californians the answer is simple: Water is far more important than a botched bullet train. However, some elected officials …

Runner Initiative Redirects High Speed Rail Funding to Water Storage

Sacramento – Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner in partnership with California State Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) announced this week they have filed an initiative aimed at allowing voters to redirect unspent High Speed Rail (Prop 1A, 2008) and above ground water storage (Prop 1, 2014) funds towards building new surface and groundwater …

The Real Revenue Challenge Facing California

California Forward, a political reform group, recently invited Californians to take a “Revenue Challenge.” The challenge consists of an online survey where participants can rate how more than a dozen legislative proposals—mostly aimed at raising taxes—meet a set of criteria for a sustainable tax system. The goal is to gather feedback on existing …

Top Five Tax Traps Small Business Owners Need to Avoid

As Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), I regularly hear from small business owners who are caught off guard by tax liabilities. This isn’t surprising given the complexity of California’s tax laws. Even the most well-meaning, knowledgeable business owner can run into problems. Because of this, I regularly host free small …

An Excise Tax on Marijuana Could Make Sense

California lawmakers are finally considering legislation to regulate medical marijuana, which has been legal under state law for nearly two decades. Among the proposals is a bill calling for an excise tax on marijuana that could raise nearly $60 million in revenue each year. As a fiscal conservative and opponent of recreational marijuana, I’m an unlikely …

State Moonlights as Slumlord

If a recent study to determine the safety of 29 state-owned buildings tells us anything, it’s that the state is a terrible landlord. In fact, it may be time for government to get out of the building-owning business. It shouldn’t take an act of the Legislature to get the state agency in charge of building maintenance to do its job. Without last year’s …

A pothole strategy to raise taxes?

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but something is rotten with road funding in California. Sacramento is flush with billions in unanticipated revenue. Yet a record $115 billion budget spending plan signed by Gov. Jerry Brown shortchanges the state’s transportation and infrastructure needs. The only real funding boost goes to high-speed rail. Budgets …

Attempts to change Proposition 13 are misguided

By George Runner There’s been no shortage of attempts in recent years in the State Legislature to overhaul Proposition 13—California’s landmark initiative protecting homeowners and small business owners from out of control property taxes. Multiple bills have taken aim at the proposition, but the most popular among these bills pushes the so-called …
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