jeffson's blog

Walmart Special: Bentonville’s Night of the Long Knives


By Bobbi Murray

It must be so confusing to be Walmart these days. The big retailer has been rumbling along happy-faced for years– crushing local competition, squeezing labor in its stores and commanding supply chains abroad with ruthless pressure to produce at ever-lower wages and ever-faster rates. Its stock goes up, Up, UP, so Walmart stockholders have been happy stockholders.

But right now investors are off-with-their heads angry at Walmart brass –  their knives are out and  shareholders are planning to call for resignations at the June 1 Walmart stockholder’s meeting at corporate HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Time to End the Corporate Tax Break Gravy Train

By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

In all the absurdity that is budget politics, there’s a particularly maddening reality that stands out: Corporate tax breaks are costing the state billions each year, providing little to no benefit to our economy, lack transparency and are completely unaccountable to taxpayers.

Enough is enough. Before cutting any more services, these wasteful giveaways need to be thoroughly reviewed. If they’re not serving their intended purpose, get rid of ‘em. And we’re not talking about nickels and dimes here. This is big money that’s likely going to waste at taxpayers’ expense.

BYOB - Be Your Own Boss: Celebrate National Small Business Week

Claudia Pic Colored small.jpgBy Claudia Viek, California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity

To celebrate National Small Business Week, CAMEO, the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity, supports the truly small businesses that make up 89% of California’s businesses. 

Businesses with five or fewer employees are the new normal. The Bureau of Labor statistics reported in March that the average size of new start-ups was 4.7 employees in 2011 – that’s down from 7.6 employees in the 1990’s. And the share of the self-employed in the labor market is growing more than twice as fast as it did before 2000. Whether it’s the technological gains that allow high productivity or the disappearance of the ‘safe corporate job', the reality is that businesses are starting smaller (and perhaps staying smaller) and more people want to build their own their own business.

Advocacy Day Draws Trans Folks, Allies to Capitol

By Dan Aiello

More than 50 transgender Californians and non-U.S. residents gathered at the West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento Monday, May 21 as they prepared to lobby legislators on behalf of two bills aimed at addressing discrimination against transgender youth in California's foster care system and non-US residents victims of crime who risk deportation under federal law.

Both Assembly bills are authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

Queer Youth Lobby Lawmakers on School Discipline Bills

By Dan Aiello

Nearly 50 high school students from communities throughout California came to Sacramento last week to lobby state legislators in support of two bills aimed at protecting students from extreme or unjust discipline policies.

From Crescent City to San Ysidro, Half Moon Bay to Truckee, students gathered for a morning rally on the north steps of the Capitol before meeting with lawmakers and their staff as part of the April 30 Queer Youth Advocacy Day.

Encouraging them to engage lawmakers, students heard firsthand the personal stories of out state legislators and fellow students advocating for AB 1729, Creating Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion, and AB 2242, Reducing Out of School Suspensions for Minor Infractions that was authored by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento).

Why Can’t CEOs Do the Math on Their Pay?

By Donald Cohen 

The SEC is dragging its feet implementing a section of the Dodd-Frank reform that would require publicly traded companies to calculate the ratio between the CEO’s pay and that of the firm’s median pay package. The New York Times editorial board urges them to push forward.

Corporate lobbyists say it’s too complicated to figure out the math. They figured out how to create uber-complex financial products that untangled the global economy, but aren’t able to divide the CEO’s earnings (they must know) by the median employee pay?

Of course, the real reason they oppose the law is that they don’t want to add fire to the public debate about excessive CEO salaries – certainly while the rest of America struggles to pay bills, put kids through college and afford mortgage payments. Obscurity, not transparency, benefits the privileged.

Scrutinize Wasteful Corporate Tax Breaks Before Cutting Vital Services

By Art Pulaski, California Labor Foundation

For every cut the state is asking seniors, those with disabilities, workers and low-income Californians to absorb in the May Revise, there’s a wasteful corporate tax break that’s draining much-needed revenue. The cuts proposed today aren’t borne of necessity; they’re the result of a failed system that protects tax giveaways for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of California’s most vulnerable. That’s inexcusable.

It’s clear that budget stability can’t be achieved without additional revenue. Voters must approve Gov. Brown’s revenue initiative this fall to stave off even more devastating cuts to schools and public safety. But to create long-term stability, the state has to eliminate the maze of loopholes, carve-outs and tax-dodges that corporate lobbyists have written into law over the years, many through backroom deals as leverage in previous budget negotiations.

Governor Brown Slashes Schools and Social Services, But Not Corporate Tax Avoidance

By Duane Campbell

The proposed California budget for next year says that income will be $15.7 billion less than available revenue.   

The report is here:

California does not have enough money to continue the funding of schools, universities, fire and safety, and social services. The Republican Party has consistently refused to raise taxes to pay for these services. So, the Republican legislature is forcing the following cuts: MediCal, child care, Cal Works, Nursing homes, In Home Supportive Services, Cal Grants ( college tuition), and a forced employee pay cuts (5%) – such as a 4 day work week. These cuts are from the 2012 budget.

Yesterday's May Revision provides level funding for k-12 schools, however if the  Governor’s tax proposals are not passed in November, there will be an additional $5.6 billion dollars  cut from  K-12 schools. These are called trigger cuts. They will be automatic if the  tax initiative is not passed.

California $7 Billion More in the Budget Hole Than Expected

By David Dayen, Firedoglake

Over the weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that the budget deficit for the next fiscal year has nearly doubled, from $9.2 billion to $16 billion. This almost assuredly means a commensurate increase in cuts to the state budget.

In the last fiscal year, Brown staved off a series of budget cuts by playing a game of “ta-da.” He assumed a fiscal bump from an improving economy of well over $4 billion, and used that windfall to plug the budget. That money never actually materialized, and indeed many were skeptical it ever would at the time. This bought a year to save the budget from key cuts, particularly in health care and education.

State's Budget Deficit Swells to $16 Billion - Governor Warns of Deeper Cuts to Critical Programs

By Marty Omoto, California Disability Community Action Network

California’s budget deficit has swelled to a staggering $16 billion from the $9 billion it was projected in January, according to Governor Jerry Brown today, warning that the growing budget hole will mean that “…we will have to go much further and make cuts far greater than I asked at the beginning of the year.”  The Democratic Governor blamed a combination of a slow economic recovery that has result in lower than hoped for tax receipts and because of “…the federal government and the courts have blocked us from making billions in necessary budget reductions.”