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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Get ready for the onslaught of Props to part you with your money: Proposition 29 is the first step in a tax hike deluge


            Anyone who’s been following the news in recent weeks knows that the tax-and-spend lobby is planning to unleash of horde of new tax hikes at the ballot box this election year. Three major hikes, which altogether would raise taxes by tens of billions of dollars annually, are all currently jockeying for a spot on the November 2012 ballot. However, flying under the radar is an equally abhorrent tax increase that creates a nearly $1 billion per year spending program dominated by special interests with no accountability to the public.

            Proposition 29, the so-called California Cancer Research Act, raises taxes to create a massive new spending program run by a new commission with six political appointees. The decisions of this commission, which has the authority to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year, are unchangeable by even the Governor and the State Legislature for 15 years, even in cases of fraud or waste. Worse yet, the commission can spend the taxes from Californians outside California!

Leading fiscal conservative and anti-tax groups are weighing in strongly against the measure.  As David Spady of Americans for Prosperity wrote here on Flash Report, “The last thing California should be doing is creating a brand-new billion-dollar special-interest spending program at a time when we can’t even fund critical state programs like education and public safety. After all, isn’t that a big part of what got us into this budget mess in the first place?”

This election season, voters have a chance to tell the spending lobby that they’re sick and tired of higher taxes and rampant special interest spending. Saying no to Proposition 29 in June should be a prelude to rejecting the tax hikes coming in November.



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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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