Get ready for the onslaught of Props to part you with your money: Proposition 29 is the first step in a tax hike deluge

            Anyone who’s been following the news in recent weeks knows that the tax-and-spend lobby is planning to unleash of horde of new tax hikes at the ballot box this election year. Three major hikes, which altogether would raise taxes by tens of billions of dollars annually, are all currently jockeying for a spot on the November 2012 ballot. However, flying under the radar is an equally abhorrent tax increase that creates a nearly $1 billion per year spending program dominated by special interests with no accountability to the public.

            Proposition 29, the so-called California Cancer Research Act, raises taxes to create a massive new spending program run by a new commission with six political appointees. The decisions of this commission, which has the authority to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year, are unchangeable by even the Governor and the State Legislature for 15 years, even in cases of fraud or waste. Worse yet, the commission can spend the taxes from Californians outside California!

Leading fiscal conservative and anti-tax groups are weighing in strongly against the measure.  As David Spady of Americans for Prosperity wrote here on Flash Report, “The last thing California should be doing is creating a brand-new billion-dollar special-interest spending program at a time when we can’t even fund critical state programs like education and public safety. After all, isn’t that a big part of what got us into this budget mess in the first place?”

This election season, voters have a chance to tell the spending lobby that they’re sick and tired of higher taxes and rampant special interest spending. Saying no to Proposition 29 in June should be a prelude to rejecting the tax hikes coming in November.

Next Tuesday at 10 am on GadflyRadio, David Crane of Govern CA joins the crew.

David Crane is a lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University and president of Govern For California.

We’ll talk with David Crane about his newly formed group called Govern CA, it’s philosophy and intention, and its chances for success.

Check out his writing at, showcasing a plethora of penned editorials.

To read what others are writing about David Crane, here are a few stories:

A nonpartisan group aims to elect “courageous” legislators in the Golden State.
Judith Miller

The importance of the first item – underreporting the size of debt – was illustrated when Lehman Brothers and AIG used aggressive but legal accounting techniques to underreport debt, thereby encouraging uninformed investors to enter into a web of transactions with them that later threatened the world financial system. A similar occasion took place in 1999, when California’s pension funds used aggressive but legal accounting techniques to underreport pension debt in order to show they were overfunded and thereby coax a huge and unfunded pension benefit increase from an uninformed state Legislature. But as Munnell illustrated in a 2010 report, California’s pension funds were actually underfunded in 1999. The cost of that unfunded pension increase has since diverted billions from education and social services, and bigger diversions are on the way.

Viewpoints: State finance officials should face the truth on pension promises
• The state’s pension debt is greater than the state reports.• The state is counting on unlikely investment returns to meet that debt.• Because those returns are unlikely, state pension costs are likely to soar. Read more here

Chapter 4: Bond Holders Seek Governmental Transparency
Taxpayers may be on the hook nationwide for more than $2.5 trillion in pensions, according to David Crane, an economic advisor to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, with perhaps $500 billion of that in California alone.

“State and local governments utilize a misleading method for reporting the size of public pension obligations,” said Crane, calling it “the Alice in Wonderland world of government pension accounting that allows governments to hide liabilities.”

“California wasn’t alone in this regard,” Crane told the SEC. “Unrealistic reporting of pension promises is a systemic problem. That’s why the SEC must require realistic accounting of public pension promises. For that to happen it must insist upon a realistic discount rate when reporting pension liabilities.”

Roberts is a contributing editor to Calwatchdog and a long-time Bay Area newspaper reporter.
Read more here.

“UC regent Crane ousted for telling hard truths about pensions
Posted on December 29, 2011 by admin

Editorial | San Francisco Chronicle — David Crane is not the most popular man in Sacramento. In fact, his determination to tell legislators what they don’t want to hear – yet need to hear – is about to cost him his position as a University of California regent.” Continue reading . . .

So Crane, a Democrat, and fellow big-time investors Ronald Conway, a Republican, and Gregory Penner, registered Decline-to-State, have set up an organization, Govern for California, to help finance candidates that they think will take the steps needed to confront California’s problems.
Crane insists that the plan is not to elect moderate or centrist candidates but rather “courageous” candidates. Depending how one defines those terms, some may find that is a distinction without a difference.

Crane explains the candidate his group is looking for. “Our number one priority is higher quality people who are intelligent, who are numerate.

“We’ll spend what it takes. These elections don’t cost as much as the power they get. The bang for the buck is really great. It’s like if you find a good company you like, you’ll buy more of the stock.”

Crane says his group’s successful involvement in only a few races will make a great difference in the way California is governed.  Click here to read more.

Former Schwarzenegger adviser renews call for pension reform
Posted on November 17, 2011 by admin

Hasta La Vista, Failure
By Joel Kotkin
Editor of and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University
Friday, December 17th, 2010
Traditionally California Republican governors focus on the hoary economic fundamentals. But Schwarzenegger’s main economic advisor, San Francisco investment banker David Crane, has clung to the notion that California’s creative skills would allow the state to flourish amid “creative destruction.”  Click here to read more

Tues March 6th, on Gadfly Radio, Katy Grimes joins the gang, and the phone lines do not cooperate but the show goes on.

Gabe Rose of the Parent Revolution joined  us to talk about the unfolding scandal at Desert Trails in Adelanto, CA.   Evidence of forgeries and other criminal acts show the union is dead set against parents having any say over their children’s education, if they can’t afford to move and or pay for a private school.

Grimes talked with us about some of her recent posts at CalWatchDog, including:

Capitol Protest: Occupy vs. Teachers

Students Protest Ed Entitlement Cuts