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BUSINESS
July 28, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - In the closing days of the Legislature last year, Gov. Jerry Brown helped forge a compromise on a sweeping overhaul of the workers' compensation insurance system and persuaded Democratic and Republican lawmakers to pass it into law. Now he is taking on another big challenge: He wants to fix the state's financially ailing unemployment insurance program, which pays jobless Californians up to $450 a week. With one of the nation's highest unemployment rates for several years, the state has had to borrow money from the feds to keep the program going.
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BUSINESS
November 10, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - After working at the top levels of state government in three administrations, Marty Morgenstern is calling it quits - again. This time, California's outgoing Labor and Workforce Development secretary is stepping down as head of the agency that oversees unemployment insurance, workers' compensation and on-the-job safety. At age 78, he has worked on and off for Gov. Jerry Brown, himself 75 years old. Morgenstern, who will remain an unpaid senior advisor to the governor, distilled his theory of government work to just three sentences: "We never have enough money.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 24, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - A proposal to charge a tax on oil pumped from the ground in California was approved Thursday by a state Senate panel on grounds that it would help fund higher education in the state. The Senate Education Committee voted, 5-2, to advance the bill that would levy a 9.5% tax to raise $2 billion annually to be divided among state universities and colleges, state parks and human service programs. “California is the only major oil producer in the world that does not collect taxes on oil production,” Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa)
BUSINESS
April 29, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - California's $8-an-hour minimum wage needs to go up, says Watsonville Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo. And he may be getting the votes he needs to make it happen. But don't count on it; Alejo has tried this before. Alejo is the author of AB 10, which would give the Golden State its first minimum wage increase since 2008. The bill would raise it 25 cents an hour next year, 50 cents in 2015 and an additional 50 cents to $9.25 an hour in 2016. In 2017 and annually thereafter, hourly pay would be adjusted upward automatically, based on the state's inflation rate.
BUSINESS
March 9, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - California lawmakers for years have been battling ravenous metal thieves, who pull copper wires out of street lights, grab rebar from construction sites, and steal pumps and other costly equipment from farmers' fields. Now, a bipartisan group of legislators led by Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert), is trying to put more manpower and money into the fight. Nestande's bill, AB 2313, would create a metal theft task force within the attorney general's office that would provide grants to local police and prosecutors.
BUSINESS
April 19, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - A rescue effort is underway for the state's financially troubled unemployment insurance program, an economic lifeline that currently provides weekly monetary support for 525,000 jobless Californians. More than $10 billion in the red, the unemployment insurance fund has been spiraling toward bankruptcy in recent years, even as it continues to provide weekly jobless benefits of as much as $450 for job seekers. Video chat: Sequester to hit jobless benefits Unemployment, as it's best known, is a primary element of the state's economic safety net. Funded by employer taxes, it's been providing jobless benefits since 1935.
OPINION
April 16, 2010
They've had enough Re "Arizona passes strict border rule," April 14 The recent killing of prominent rancher Robert Krentz by an illegal alien blew the lid off a boiling caldron of illegal activity that is killing Arizonans and bankrupting the state. Illegal aliens are ruining Arizona's educational system and overburdening jails, hospitals, emergency rooms and indigent social services -- which are supposed to be for Arizona citizens only. Mexican President Felipe Calderon pays lip-service to our politicians while enjoying billions annually flowing into Mexico from illegal workers and drug cartels.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 25, 2007 | George Skelton
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently vetoed a dozen bills that the California Chamber of Commerce alleged were anti-business "job-killers." In the chamber's view, the governor's action will create jobs. Fine. How is this deficit-plagued state going to pay for the jobs? Yes, of course, they're private-enterprise jobs, not government. But who's going to pay for the roads and transit to get these people to work? To educate their kids? To provide police protection?
BUSINESS
November 10, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - With little fanfare this week, California voters approved a plan to close a corporate tax loophole affecting out-of-state businesses, finance $2.5 billion in clean energy and energy efficiency projects and deliver another $2.5 billion to the state's beleaguered treasury over the next five years. It is a tax increase of modest proportions compared with most in California, but experts say it highlighted the politics of taxation and how some business levies engender strong passion whereas others draw little public attention or electoral opposition.
BUSINESS
September 11, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher and Tiffany Hsu
SACRAMENTO - In a rare effort to move legislation more quickly, Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed a bill that would raise California's minimum wage to $10 an hour by January 2016. The governor and labor union leaders said the increase is needed, given that the last hike - of 50 cents an hour to $8 - took effect at the start of 2008. "The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs," the governor said in a statement Wednesday as lobbyists from both sides worked the 40 Senate members.
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