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September 20, 2012 | By Evan Halper, Ralph Vartabedian and Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
Driven by the Obama administration's vision of clean power and energy independence, the rush to build large-scale solar plants across the Southwest has created an investors' dream in the desert. Taxpayers have poured tens of billions of dollars into solar projects - some of which will have all their construction and development costs financed by the government by the time they start producing power. Banks, insurers and utility companies have jumped in, taking advantage of complex state and federal tax incentives to reap outsized returns.
September 6, 2012 | Evan Halper
As Gov. Jerry Brown mulls whether to sign into law another round of subsidies for Hollywood production companies, the question that confronts him is how much each job on a movie set is worth to taxpayers. In Massachusetts, lawmakers recently discovered a similar program was much more expensive than they thought. After years of subsidizing film productions without looking too closely at how that was helping the economy, state officials put it under a lens and found that taxpayers were spending as much as $300,000 to bankroll each position.
August 13, 2012 | David Lazarus
We've been hearing - and will continue to hear - a lot about how Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid would cripple the safety-net healthcare programs. Fair criticism? The answer, as Bill Clinton might say, depends on what your definition of "cripple" is. The Ryan plan has been around for months. It's taken on new heft since Ryan, a conservative congressman from Wisconsin, was tapped over the weekend by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to be his running mate.
July 17, 2012 | By Jon Healey
Congressional Republicans are so obsessed with the idea of repealing any or all of "Obamacare," they don't seem to care about the potential harm that might inflict on their constituents. The latest example comes from Tennessee Republican Reps. Phil Roe and Scott DesJarlais (both of them physicians), who introduced a resolution aimed at denying lower-income Americans in more than two dozen states, including their own, the subsidies the bill provides for health insurance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires virtually all adult Americans to obtain coverage, starting in 2014.
July 15, 2012 | By Allyn Gaestel, Los Angeles Times
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Facing the crumpled remnants of the national palace, an expansive plaza is punctuated by trees, benches and statues of Haitian heroes. Students read in the shade, women gossip, children play soccer. This serene picture in Port-au-Prince's central square might seem ordinary, but it is not. After a massive earthquake devastated Haiti's capital on Jan. 12, 2010, about 5,000 displaced people took shelter on the square, turning it into a crowded and dangerous new neighborhood.
July 13, 2012 | By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
Congress wants to ditch the usual subsidies for dairy farmers and replace them with a new type of insurance to protect farmers' bottom lines during hard times. But some California dairymen aren't lapping it up. The measure would replace outright subsidies with a voluntary insurance plan to pay farmers enough to maintain a profit margin when milk prices drop too low. Farms that opt into the insurance plan, however, would be required to produce less milk whenever prices fall below a certain point, based on the idea that a glut of milk forces prices down.
June 20, 2012
Re "Hotel project in L.A. to get subsidy," June 14 The city of Los Angeles will give $67 million in tax subsidies to a private corporation to build a project that will dump profits into private pockets. For a city that claims to be broke, this is insane. Bill Rosendahl was the only person on the City Council with the guts to vote against this socialism-for-the-rich scam. Does the city government represent taxpayers or only the wealthy? Jack L. Schwartz Los Angeles ALSO: Letters: Political lessons from Montana Letters: Rodney King and the price of abuse Letters: With legal marijuana, everyone wins
June 14, 2012 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
Responding to appeals from an array of construction unions, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a $67.3-million subsidy for a new downtown hotel across from L.A. Live. The council voted 10 to 1 to provide developers of a 23-story Marriott complex on Olympic Boulevard a tax rebate equal to half of the revenue - from sales taxes, property taxes, parking taxes, business taxes, utility taxes and room taxes - generated by the project over 25 years. That money will flow to the developers, Williams/Dame & Associates and American Life Inc., in the form of a hotel tax rebate, said Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller.
June 12, 2012 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
Despite claims by business leaders that downtown's hotel market is coming back strong, the developer of a proposed 23-story Marriott tower next to L.A. Live is in line to get up to $67.3 million out of City Hall over the next 25 years. Williams/Dame & Associates and its partner, American Life Inc., would receive permission to keep up to half of the sales taxes, business taxes, room taxes, utility taxes, property taxes and parking taxes generated by their 392-room project once it opens, according to the proposal.
May 10, 2012 | By Kim Geiger, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - It's a deal that most businesses would relish: Buy an insurance policy to cover losses or falling prices, and the government will foot most of the bill. Such an arrangement has been enjoyed for more than a decade by the farmers who grow crops such as corn and soybeans, and the companies that insure them. And it's about to get even better. The farm bill now before Congress includes a provision - estimated to cost about $3 billion a year - that would help cover the losses farmers suffer before their crop insurance policies kick in. Those losses, termed deductibles, can run in the tens of thousands of dollars for a typical mid-size farm.
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