Thursday, August 25, 2011

Local Government FINALLY Takes A FISCAL Stand!

Jaime Rojas, Jr.

The City of Los Angeles, like many other cities across our great nation, is facing fiscal chaos. Many government agencies are dealing with slashed budgets, cut revenue streams, and lack of strong political leadership.

On Wednesday, City of L.A. officials from the public works commission, denied the permits to Sunset Junction, a 30 year old street festival and one of the city's oldest & most popular music festivals. This event first started as a two day grassroots event to sooth tensions between the area's Latino and gay residents. It has now become known as the "Coachella of the City". It has transformed itself from a street festival that brings tens of thousands of visitors and has a lineup of more than 80 acts, including K.D. Lang, Three Degrees and Ozomatli to name a few.

The ISSUE: A dispute of $260,000 in unpaid fees from the organizers, and not including this year's fees of $140,000.

The city has lost millions of dollars in uncollected debts which include community groups and unpaid parking tickets. Its estimated that the City of Los Angeles last year only collected 53% of money owed to them! In addition, many local residents have complained. A member of the local neighborhood council stated, "The use of the public property for private profit is what really upsets people. That's our streets, our neighborhood, our stores, our coffee shops we can't get to..."

The City of Los Angeles gave the organizing group 48 hours to come up with a $141,000 check to at least cover this year's cost. The group was able to raise $100,000 but could only prove the amount through a fax from a bank account, and not even bring an actual check. L.A. City Public works board president, Andrea Alarcon said, "Fail me once, shame on you. Fail me twice, shame on me. This organization has failed the city time and time again."

The SOLUTION: The City of Los Angeles finally grabbed the bull by the horns and said enough is enough! The city owes it to its taxpayers to put its foot down and protect the coffers of its residents and taxpayers.

The spokesman for L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti, whose district includes the music festival, said it best:
"...the festival organizers tried to flimflam $400,000 from the taxpayers. The fact thaty they came up with a large just 36 hours, shreds their credibility even more. They should have spent the last 12 months coming up with the full amount."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Taxing Warren Buffett

In today's Los Angeles Times, a great editorial piece was written titled "Taxing Warren Buffet" which discusses how Republican critics are seemingly oblivious that, in many ways, Buffett's tax ideas mirror those of Ronald Reagan.

Believe it or not it has been a quarter of a century since the last comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. tax code. President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 in which:

* the number of tax brackets was reduced
* loopholes here closed
* the top tax rate was lowered
* capital gains were taxed at the same rate as ordinary income

Unfortunately Congress has slowly reinstated loopholes back into the tax code while lowering the tax burden for wealthy people who make money through investments rather than labor. THIS was the basis for Buffett's complaint.

Now its interesting what the current politicians are saying on both side of the aisles! History is cyclical and in the past few years I keep hearing "isn't that what President Reagan did 25 years ago". Read on this LA Times article....but maybe we should learn from our past.

Taxing Warren Buffett

Jaime Rojas, Jr.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Talking CENTS on Tax Reform

Jaime Rojas, Jr.

In today's LA Times, staff writer Anthony York writes about LA Mayor Villaraigosa's most recent trip to Sacramento. He discussed the "third-rail" issues that many politicians do not want to touch, including himself according to his political record.

The mayor called
...for changes in Proposition 13, challenging Governor Jerry Brown and state lawmakers to remove business property owners from some provisions of the groundbreaking 1978 law
according to York. The mayor also called on the state's business leaders to "stand up and come forward as coauthors of a long-term solution" to California's ongoing financial problems.

Some of the responses by California's business leaders were not all that positive. The CEO of the CA Chamber of Commerce, Alan Zaremberg called Villaraigosa's speech
...about raising taxes on business. It's exactly the oppposite of what we want to happen to pull California out of recession.

As the LA mayor begins his retoric on "reform and change" for his sites for a possible run for governor, will he actually or anyone for that matter stand up and lead California and the rest of this nation to actual reform? If this interchange of dialogue between the government and business sector is any indication, it unfortunately does not look good! So where is the leadership hiding??