Raskin, Artem


Artem Raskin reports for the California Progress Report, and currently attends University of California at Davis.

Bill to Ban Debit Card Surcharges Awaits Governor’s Decision

By Artem Raskin
California Progress Report

A bill that would prohibit retailers from charging their customers transaction costs for using a debit card still sits on the Governor’s desk awaiting a veto or signature by tomorrow’s deadline. SB 933, authored by Senator Jenny Oropeza (D – Long Beach), passed the legislature with some bipartisan support, though largely along party lines, winning Senate approval by a vote of 22-9, and the Assembly by a vote of 45-22.

The bill’s language is similar to a credit card reform law passed in the 1980s - long before debit cards were the payment option of choice. According to Oropeza, the primary goal of the legislation is transparency - “it is unfair for retailers to lure consumers with an advertised price, only to later tack on a surcharge, increasing the purchase price for consumers.”

Prop 26 Pits Corporate Interest “Goliaths” Against Public Interest “Davids”

By Artem Raskin
California Progress Report

Putting a white hat on a November ballot measure funded almost exclusively by big oil, tobacco, and alcohol companies is no easy task, but the Yes on Proposition 26 campaign found a way. If approved by voters, the measure would make it much tougher for state or local government to collect industry-specific mitigation fees on business activities that cause harm to the environment or public health.

According to the Yes on 26 website, the intent of the initiative is closing a loophole which allows “politicians in Sacramento” to pass “hidden taxes” on “goods and services that Californians use every day, like groceries, gas, cell phones, or even emergency services.” The official analysis released by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), however, sees it much differently. The LAO estimates that Prop 26 will end up costing California several billion dollars annually – jeopardizing current funding for “schools, universities, prisons, health, and social services programs.”

Legislative Analyst Says Prop 26 Increases Budget Deficit By $1 Billion

By Artem Raskin
California Progress Report

If approved by voters in November, Proposition 26 will put a billion dollar dent in the state budget, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).

The LAO’s nonpartisan analysis released last week revealed that Proposition 26 would nullify the “Gas Tax Swap” approved by the legislature in March, and eliminate about one billion dollars annually in anticipated revenues to the general fund for schools and other programs.