CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2013 |
You're six months behind on the mortgage. Your credit cards are maxed out. Your small business is treading water. Meanwhile, a tree has fallen on the roof of the office, the parking lot is full of potholes, and you've promised raises to employees, along with free healthcare into eternity. So what should you do about a mounting deficit that could lead to bankruptcy? You could make some hard choices, or you could follow the lead of the candidates for mayor of Los Angeles. I subjected myself to two mayoral debates last week - one at the Autry National Museum and another at the Valley Performing Arts Center at Cal State Northridge - and I listened to a third debate on KPCC.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 8, 2013 |
The top five candidates for Los Angeles mayor faced an unusually tough grilling Thursday led by Austin Beutner, the former deputy mayor who once stood as a leading contender in the race. While in past debates the candidates have offered a striking lack of specificity about how they would tackle the city's looming $1-billion budget deficit, Beutner -- a retired investment banker who served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's first deputy until mid-2011 -- repeatedly pressed them for details at a lively San Fernando Valley forum.
January 15, 2013
Re "L.A.'s future: 'Silicon Beach,'" Opinion, Jan. 9 Lucy Hood misses a major point. The tech industry has grown in Los Angeles on its own. She wants tax breaks and investment incentives "to make Los Angeles the global technology center that it could become. " She describes the growth that has occurred without subsidies. She wants the mayor to appoint a chief technology officer who would raise venture capital money (there is no dearth of private companies that do this) and bring together leaders in academia and industry (as if mutually beneficial relationships are hard to set up)
January 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In the last-minute dealmaking to stop the nation from tumbling over the so-called fiscal cliff, Congress and the White House decided not to spare most people from a hike in Social Security payroll taxes. But they did find room for billions in special tax breaks for rum makers, racetrack owners, railroads - and Hollywood studios. Riding along on the compromise bill were dozens of provisions that renewed existing tax breaks. All told, the business tax breaks will cost more than $63 billion next year, according to an analysis by Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation.
December 6, 2012 |
Republicans and Democrats are wrestling with a variety of riddles that have come to be known as the fiscal cliff, a double whammy of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for the start of the new year. Here is a primer on unraveling the knotty political and economic threads. What exactly is the fiscal cliff? The term refers to a combination of forced cuts and tax increases worth more than $500 billion. The best-known parts are the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and the automatic across-the-board cuts to federal spending.
October 31, 2012
When it comes to so-called sin taxes, tobacco is simple. Food and drink are complicated. Cigarettes cause terrible disease and have no positive side effects. Taxes on them clearly reduce smoking and contribute to public health. But healthy eating requires balancing both the quantity of calories and the quality of those calories - does the food also deliver protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals? As a result, efforts to tax junk foods or regulate dietary behavior are almost sure to have logical inconsistencies.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 18, 2012 |
Setting the stage for a legal battle with employee unions, the Los Angeles City Council is weighing a new plan to reel in pension costs by hiking the retirement age and cutting benefits for thousands of future civilian employees. The proposal, unveiled the same day that the council backed a three-year business tax break worth roughly $50 million, would set the retirement age at 65 and establish new financial penalties for those who retire earlier. The plan, which could be voted on as early as next week, also would require new employees to pay more if the retirement fund suffers major investment losses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 13, 2012 |
OAKLAND - A day after federal prosecutors moved to shutter the country's largest medical marijuana dispensary, city leaders and other officials came to the defense of Harborside Health Center, warning of dire economic and social consequences if Oakland's carefully regulated industry is quashed. "We cannot afford the money, we cannot afford the waste of law enforcement resources, and we cannot afford the loss of jobs that this would entail," City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said Thursday at a news conference as dozens of Harborside Health Center patients stood by. Co-founded in 2006 by Executive Director Steve DeAngelo, Harborside has in many ways set standards for the medical marijuana industry.
July 12, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- One of the top items on President Obama's to do list -- a 10% tax break for small businesses that make new hires -- got tangled in an election-year tax debate as Republicans led a filibuster to block the measure. The legislation would have provided the tax credit to companies that hire new employees or otherwise expand their payrolls this year, a typically popular approach among the GOP. Republicans in the Senate did not necessarily object to the measure, but they protested Thursday after Democrats refused to allow votes on other amendments.
July 11, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are trying to put a check mark next to one of the economic initiatives on President Obama's to-do list: a 10% small-business tax break for companies that expand payrolls. The Senate overwhelmingly advanced the measure Tuesday, clearing a procedural hurdle on a bipartisan 80-14 vote. But it is likely to run into resistance later in the week as Republicans seek to tack on more controversial amendments, including those that would repeal the nation's healthcare law or extend the tax breaks enacted during the George W. Bush administration that expire at the end of the year.