April 13, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Renewal of important expired federal tax benefits for homeowners took a major step forward recently, but the route to final congressional approval is beginning to look longer - and potentially bumpier - than previously expected. Here's why. The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved a package of tax code goodies that includes a two-year reauthorization of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, plus similar extensions for deductions of mortgage insurance premiums and energy-saving improvements to homes.
April 10, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO - Private space companies, such as SpaceX in Hawthorne, would get a local property tax break on launch vehicles, fuel, satellites and other gear under a bill approved overwhelmingly Thursday by the state Senate. The proposal, AB 777 by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), would create the exemption from local property taxes for a 10-year period that would end Jan. 1, 2024. Legislation is needed to modernize the state's tax code to encourage companies such as billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX to build their rockets and spacecraft in California, Muratsuchi said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2014 |
A refresher course in avoiding illegal corruption is being planned for state senators and their staffs. That can't hurt. But it's unlikely to clean up any dirty legislators. Illegal corruption is not a redundancy. There's also legal corruption. Legislators, members of Congress and local politicians everywhere are influenced by campaign contributions from private interests, whether the money comes from unions, insurers, oil companies or casino-operating Indian tribes, to name just a handful of corrupting cash cows.
April 1, 2014 |
Many Californians are outraged that state Sens. Leland Yee, Ronald S. Calderon and Roderick D. Wright, all of whom have been either accused or convicted of crimes, will continue to collect their $95,291 annual salaries while they're suspended from their jobs. It's a paid vacation, critics complain. On the public dime. In response, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg introduced an amendment to the state Constitution on Friday - the same day he and his fellow senators suspended their colleagues - that would allow the Senate or Assembly to withhold compensation in the future when a legislator is suspended.
March 30, 2014 |
Its official name is the Safe Carry Protection Act. Critics call it the "guns everywhere bill. " Legislation awaiting the governor's signature in Georgia would allow guns in bars, churches, airports and schools. It has drawn national attention because of its sweep. The National Rifle Assn. called the bill's passage a "historic victory for the 2nd Amendment. " Americans for Responsible Solutions, founded by Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was wounded in a 2011 shooting, called it the most extreme gun bill in the nation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 25, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO -- Abbot Archimandrite Theodor Micka was awakened on Tuesday morning by his fellow priests with some good news. Gov. Jerry Brown had signed legislation allowing the ailing 76-year-old abbot, who has terminal cancer, to be buried on the grounds of his Alameda County monastery. “I'm in really high spirits now," Micka said in a phone interview. Despite ongoing chemotherapy, he said, "I have strength that is almost superhuman this morning.” Micka has spent decades developing an Orthodox Christian monastery in Castro Valley, buying the first plot of land in 1979.