TOP STATE NEWS STORY
» L.A. approves ban on plastic grocery bags - June 19
Attention Los Angeles shoppers: The plastic bag is disappearing from more than just the supermarket.
L.A. on Tuesday became the newest and by far the largest city to back a ban on plastic grocery bags, approving an ordinance that applies not just to food stores and mini marts but also big retail chains with their own line of groceries, such as Target and Wal-Mart.
David Zahniser in L.A. Times
TOP NATIONAL NEWS STORY
» Making the Right Call for Jobs and the Economy - June 19
The NAM and the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports consistently have made the case against an unprecedented environmental review that studies the cumulative and lifecycle impacts of the cargo. This overreach would set a devastating precedent that could be used to block exports of just about any goods manufactured in the United States.
Jeff Ostermayer in National Association of Manufacturers
» Keep the ‘Affordable Care Act’ Affordable - June 19
California manufacturers are among the best friends the state’s economy can have. The sector pays an annual average of $74,000 in wages and traditionally is one of the best providers of health insurance for employees. You would think, then, that everyone on Team California would be pulling for this vital sector to remain healthy and growing. After all, over the last two years, our state has lagged behind the rest of the country in manufacturing job growth and new investments.
Jack Stewart in Fox & Hounds Daily
» House plays chicken with farm bill - June 19
Representatives is debating a farm bill this week. One portion of that $940 billion measure could scramble California's egg industry. The fight is both about state's rights and hens' quality of life.
California's Proposition 2, passed in 2008, requires hens to have enough room in their cages to stand up and spread their wings. But an amendment to the House farm bill by Iowa Republican Steve King would put a crimp in that law.
Kitty Felde in KPCC
» Sonoma County supervisors support plastic bag ban - June 19
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave its formal support to an ordinance that would ban carryout plastic bags at checkout lines countywide and add a 10-cent fee for each paper bag.
The 4-1 vote, with Supervisor David Rabbitt dissenting, constitutes the county's direction to its appointee on the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, the joint county-city body that has been studying and developing the ban for two years and would adopt and enforce the ordinance.
Brett Wilkison in Press Democrat
» Minimum wage bill could be changed - June 18
Momentum appears to be growing at the State Capitol for a new proposal that would raise California’s hourly minimum wage, but lawmakers are considering changes to a clause that would tie future increases to inflation.
Assembly Bill 10 was introduced earlier this year by Luis Alejo, a Salinas Democrat, and passed the Assembly in late May. Under the proposal, California’s minimum wage would increase to $8.25 next year and continue to rise by $0.50 every year until 2017 when future raises would be linked to inflation.
Christopher Arns in Business Journal
» UC Berkeley to help overhaul green job training for public utilities - June 18
The California Public Utilities Commission chose the University of California, Berkeley, to oversee big changes in job training meant to accelerate the state's shift to a green economy.
Under a $500,000 contract that runs through spring 2014, the Donald Vial Center for Employment in the Green Economy -- part of Cal's Institute for Research and Labor Employment -- will coordinate changes in training for future workers at state utilities like PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG).
Steven E.F. Brown in Business Journal
» L.A. council considers plastic-bag ban at markets - June 18
Los Angeles would be the latest city to join in banning single-use plastic bags at markets under a proposal going to the full City Council on Tuesday.
The council's Energy and Environment Committee on Monday approved the final environmental impact report on the proposal, which is designed to eliminate the 2 billion plastic bags that are now given out by the markets each year in Los Angeles.
Shoppers would need to either bring in their own reusable bags or purchase paper bags for 10 cents each. The stores will retain the fee.
Rick Orlov in L.A. Daily News
» Cal U launches new program to address manufacturing skills gap - June 18
While every university hopes to prepare its students to enter the workforce poised for success, California University of Pennsylvania noticed there was an area that was largely overlooked in higher education.
"Talking to local manufacturers, most of them would tell us that they can't find employees that have the high-skill training they need to fill open positions," said Christine Kindl, director of communications for the university.
Justine Coyne in Business Journal
» Gov. Brown targets enterprise-zone tax credits - June 17
A battle is raging over a California program that grants businesses tax breaks for creating jobs but prevents the public from knowing who got them and why.
At issue are enterprise zones, which were established to boost employment in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods and rural areas. California is home to 40 of these special districts, in which about 35,000 companies have qualified for tax credits. Last year they reaped an estimated $700 million in credits — a figure that state tax officials project will grow to $1 billion by 2016.
Marc Lifsher in L.A. Times
» LA Democrat pushes White House on climate change - June 17
Democratic hawks on climate change are putting pressure on the White House to use executive power to cut emissions. And L.A. Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman is doing some of the pushing.
Waxman was the author of a 2009 climate change bill that passed the House, but died in the Senate. Now that he's in the minority party, he's been frustrated trying to move similar legislation.
Kitty Felde in KPCC
» Why Apple Inc. remains popular in California - June 17
For California, Apple is a reminder that policymakers need to do what they can to encourage economic growth, and to ensure that as companies move from an entrepreneur’s idea to a row of laptops in a business park office to a massive corporate campus, the incentives are aligned for them to stay in California. Apple’s evolution also demonstrates that for all the focus in the media and politics on manufacturing employment, the best jobs of the 21st century will probably come from inventing, designing and selling new products, not piecing together widgets on a factory floor.
An Apple Inc. comes along only once or twice in a generation, so not many California cities can hope to base their futures on such an economic powerhouse.
But from the bio-tech centers of Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco, or the graphic arts hotbeds of Los Angeles, or the Internet 2.0 bastions throughout the Bay Area, another company will likely emerge to one day take Apple’s place at the top of the corporate heap. Hundreds if not thousands of smaller firms, meanwhile, will be born to support those larger players. If the state and local governments don’t screw it up.
Daniel Weintraub in Healthy Cal
» California's Cap-and-Tax Grab - June 19
Democrats in Sacramento are taking a victory lap for balancing this year's budget without raising taxes (not counting the $6 billion retroactive hike voters approved at political gunpoint in November). The dirty little secret is they're instead tapping California's new cap-and-trade program.
California expects to generate $500 million this year from auctioning off permits to emit carbon, and between $2 billion and $14 billion annually by 2015. This rich new vein of revenues was supposed to flow to green programs (e.g., solar subsidies), but Governor Jerry Brown cut a deal with Democrats in the legislature to seize this year's proceeds to finance more generous welfare and Medicaid benefits. Environmentalists are suddenly stunned to discover that they're not exempt from Sacramento's generally accepted accounting principle of raiding internal accounts to backfill the budget.
Editorial in Wall Street Journal
» My life without plastic bags - June 19
Now that the Los Angeles City Council has tentatively approved a ban on plastic carry-out bags, I'd like to report to you that it'll be easy to live without them. I'd like to say that after a similar ban took effect in my city this year, I had no problem getting my groceries to the car, no problem lining my garbage cans and no moments of annoyance.
Truth is, though, it can be a pain. Sometimes, you just crave a flimsy wisp of plastic with built-in handles to carry out the trash, or to hold some messy item that should not see the inside of a backpack. The reality is that life without plastic bags is entirely doable and a lot better for the environment, but it does require some adjusting.
Karin Klein in L.A. Times
» Many bills remaining for California Legislature - June 18
One thing the budget package didn't include was Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate enterprise zones – locally designated areas in which employers can receive hefty tax breaks for hiring new workers – and replace them with more specific business tax breaks.
That means enterprise zones and their $700-plus million cost remain on the summer's agenda with the outcome uncertain. While the campaign against enterprise zones spreads its propaganda about businesses such as strip clubs receiving such benefits, the pro-zone forces are countering with propaganda about the program's supposed benefits.
Dan Walters in Sacramento Bee
» A mixed bag: Are California's bans on plastic bags working? - June 17
So, have the bans had the desired result? San Francisco led California's war on plastic, banning bags at large grocery stores and chain drugstores in 2007. Litter surveys in the city, covering the first two years after the ban went into effect, paint a foggy picture. These city-commissioned surveys occurred in 2007, 2008 and 2009, covering the first two years after the initial ban went into effect. The studies, said environment department spokesman Guillermo Rodriguez, were commissioned
Paul Gabrielsen in Santa Cruz Centinel
» Obama leaves climate change-fighting tool on shelf for now - June 17
Our Clean Energy Sacramento program, for example, provides 100 percent financing for property owners for energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy upgrades, leveraging private investment with zero public funds.
When homeowners, schools and businesses retrofit their buildings and scale up renewable energy, the benefits are incredible. We create local jobs, reduce the carbon emissions driving climate change, strengthen our local energy independence, protect ourselves from rising prices, and reduce demand on the power grid during heat waves. That's resilience in action.
Kevin Johnson in Sacramento Bee
» As Obamacare looms, manufacturers brace for the worst - June 18
Among the 317 companies who participated in the National Association of Manufacturers/Industry Week Q2 Survey, 82.2 percent said that “rising health care/insurance costs” was their top business concern-;ahead of taxes and regulations, uncertainties about the political climate (each cited by 66.9 percent of respondents), and well ahead of worries about weaker domestic and foreign sales of their products (cited by 50 percent and 27 percent, respectively).
Staff in INC
» Industrial Output in U.S. Unchanged as Utility Use Drops - June 17
Manufacturers in the U.S. boosted production in May for the first time in three months, signaling the worst of the industrial slump is over.
Factory output climbed 0.1 percent after dropping 0.4 percent in April and 0.3 percent in March, according to Federal Reserve data issued today in Washington. Another report showed consumer sentiment declined this month from a six-year high.
Lorraine Woellert & Michelle Jamrisko in Bloomberg News
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