Death and taxes

Mar 15, 2017

A reduction in federal taxes could mean an increase in state and local taxes.


The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER: "As President Trump and his allies in Congress work to cut federal taxes and spending, San Francisco’s elected officials are laying plans to create new taxes at the state and local levels."

The Board of Supervisors plans to vote next week on a resolution urging the California Legislature to amend state law to allow cities and other local governments to impose personal and corporate income taxes. The resolution says the city needs to explore “progressive” new revenue sources because the Trump administration has threatened to withdraw federal funds from sanctuary cities and is working to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which could increase the city’s cost of providing health services."

"At the state level, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, has introduced a ballot measure that would create a California estate tax, but only if Trump and congressional Republicans carry out their vow to kill the federal estate tax."


READ MORE related to Local: Audit slams California agencies for lax social service background checks -- Sacramento Bee's RoBIN OPSAHL; Court sides with Auburn tribe over former chairwoman's ouster -- Sacramento Bee's PETER HECHT; Republican Mike Ramos pulls out of attorney general's race; will run for re-election -- Sacramento Bee's CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO; How much money will the state have to spend? Lawmakers and Brown disagree -- Sacramento Bee's DAN WALTERS; Race tightens in LA City Council District 1 with vote count ongoing -- LA Times


Speaking of taxes, Trump's 2005 tax returns have been partially leaked. 


McClatchy Washington Bureau's ANITA KUMAR/FRANCO ORDONEZ/KEVIN G. HALL: "President Donald Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes in 2005 on an income of $150 million, according to a partial tax return released Tuesday by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and confirmed by the White House." 

"The release of the two-page 1040 return came after Trump refused for months to release his returns despite decades of precedent by candidates and presidents of both parties, sparking speculation that he had avoided federal taxes for years." 

"But the release of the 2005 tax return shows that speculation was incorrect, at least for that year, a finding that could end up being good news for the president." 


READ MORE related to BeltwayUS government says new travel ban 'substantially different' -- APThe wall around Donald Trump's taxes cracks, a little -- Yahoo! News' OLIVIER KNOXTrump envoy launches preliminary talks on 'the ultimate deal' -- Mideast peace -- LA Times' JOSHUA MITNICK


A man being pummeled by the traffic courts has taken his case to the federal level, trying to lay to rest a practice that he contends allows judges and the courts to improve their finances by imposing excessive fines on defendants.


Capitol Weekly's MATTHEW KRAMER: "Traffic tickets aren’t so out of the ordinary – until you get to Howard Herships’ case."

"After being caught by a red light camera on a right turn in suburban Sacramento, Herships, 73, contested the $200 ticket."

"His fight has proven costly to Herships, who lost his driver’s license: The 2014 ticket penalty ballooned more than eight-fold to a whopping $1,665 in addition to a $55 driver’s license reinstatement fee, costs Herships said he couldn’t afford."


READ MORE related to Transportation: A parking meter by an empty lot? West Sacramento parking fee premature, some argue. -- Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK


Trump's "healthcare for all" position is quickly changing as the White House continues releasing conflicting announcements on the issue. 


LA Times' NOAH BIERMAN: "The White House shifted away from President Trump's stated goal of providing "insurance for everybody" on Tuesday, instead promising that the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare offers "more people the option to get healthcare." 

"The altered tone from Press Secretary Sean Spicer comes as the bill faces new scrutiny, including a report Monday from the independent Congressional Budget Office concluding that 24 million fewer people will have insurance by 2026 under the GOP plan."

"Spicer took issue with that analysis, in part by insisting that it failed to take into account separate actions Republicans say they plan to take after their initial bill."


READ MORE related to Health: Health premiums would leap for many Californians under GOP plan -- LA Times' MELODY PETERSEN; Many in California health exchange would struggle under GOP plan, data show -- Sacramento Bee's SAMMY CAIOLA; How would Congress get health care under GOP repeal plan? No one knows -- Sacramento Bee's LINDSAY WISE; Companies behind health savings accounts could bank on big profits under GOP plan -- California Healthline's CHAD TERHUNE/JULIE APPLEBY


The LA Rams are under scrutiny for abusing a legal loophole available only to the wealthy in an effort to push their stadium development plan through to quick approval.


LA Times' LIAM DILLON: "Two years ago, the Los Angeles Rams did something unheard of in California development politics: In just six weeks, the team went from unveiling plans for an 80,000-seat stadium to earning final approval from the Inglewood City Council."

"The fast decision came with another bonus: Inglewood’s vote allowed the stadium to sidestep legal challenges under the state’s primary environmental law that governs development, lawsuits that could have caused years of delay in the courtroom."


"“Now we can celebrate,” Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said immediately after the vote as the crowd rose in jubilation."


READ MORE related to Economy: Queen Mary needs $289 million in urgent repairs to prevent flooding, hull collapse, study says -- LA Times' HUGO MARTIN; Where poverty, promise intersect: SF's Tenderloin reinvents itself -- The Chronicle's CAROLYNE ZINKO/GABRIELLE LURIE; 3 petroleum distributors to pay $3M over fuel storage tanks -- AP; Sacramento State graduation costs soar at new Kings arena -- Sacramento Bee's DIANA LAMBERT


LAPD officers use of force has seen a signifcant spike recently, and now police commissioners are starting to worry.


LA Times' KATE MATHER: "Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that his department has seen a “significant increase” in the number of shootings by officers so far this year, drawing concern from his civilian bosses."

"Officers have fired their guns 12 times in 2017 — compared with seven shootings at this time last year, Beck said. Three people have been killed by police gunfire this year, down from four at this point in 2016."


"The increase troubled some of the city’s police commissioners, who have focused their attention on reducing the number of shootings by officers. Beck mentioned the tally at the panel’s weekly meeting, briefing the commissioners on the four most recent shootings, which occurred within a span of five days."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: Decades later, pain lingers for family of victims in SF murder -- The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY; Embattled Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed to retire -- The Chronicle's KIMBERLY VEKLEROV; Navy bribery scandal widens as more sordid details emerge -- Sacramento Bee's ELLIOT SPAGAT/JULIE WATSON


A growing algae bloom in the Arabian Sea is believed to be caused by climate change, and experts say the consequences are serious.


AP's SAM MCNEIL: "The Gulf of Oman turns green twice a year, when an algae bloom the size of Mexico spreads across the Arabian Sea all the way to India."

"Scientists who study the algae say the microscopic organisms are thriving in new conditions brought about by climate change, and displacing the zooplankton that underpin the local food chain, threatening the entire marine ecosystem."

"Khalid al-Hashmi, a marine biologist at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, wrinkles his nose as the research vessel nears the bloom. "Sea stench," he says, referring to the algae's ammonia secretions. "It's here, you can smell it."


READ MORE related to Environment: Just weeks after Oroville Dam crisis, damage found in another key California reservoir -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW/DALE KASLER




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