Index
Wednesday
May272015

SACRAMENTO: California budget: "Brown, Democratic lawmakers divided on budget estimates"; also, "California budget: Democrats release dueling spending plans" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Brown, Democratic lawmakers divided on budget estimates" - From the LAT:

Two weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown released his revised budget proposal, Democratic lawmakers are pushing their own spending plans that include hundreds of millions of dollars more for child care, healthcare and the state's rainy-day fund. The fatter budgets outlined by Assembly and Senate leaders seize on alternative estimates from legislative analysts that the state will receive $3.2 billion more revenue than the Brown administration projects.

Revenue estimates have been a fault line between Brown and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature. In recent years, lawmakers have routinely urged the governor to use higher figures to allow for more spending to aid the poor.

Two separate budget plans were detailed in reports released Tuesday. The Senate Budget Committee approved one version Friday; its Assembly counterpart is scheduled to advance the other Wednesday. All three blueprints — the governor's, the Senate's and the Assembly's — must be distilled into a final budget by June 15.

Brown has said he would not accept more spending than he included in his latest budget proposal, which is a third larger than the first one he signed after taking office in 2011 ....................

***ALSO:

* San Jose Mercury News:  "California budget: Democrats release dueling spending plans"

Wednesday
May272015

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles World Airports, LAX, Flying Food Group, city Office of Contract Compliance: "Airline food company ordered to pay living wages to employees" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Airline food company ordered to pay living wages to employees" - From the LAT:

An airline catering company with operations at Los Angeles International Airport has failed to pay "living wages" to 271 employees, dating back to 2010, the city of Los Angeles said in a letter that calls for retroactive restitution. The order from the city's Office of Contract Compliance against Flying Food Group of Chicago comes only weeks after about 100 company employees protested at LAX, where the company serves Air France, China Airlines and Virgin Australia, among other carriers.

The company was also the target of a recent lawsuit from workers, who say they are not being paid the equivalent of roughly $15 an hour in combined wages and benefits called for by the Los Angeles ordinance that requires city contractors to pay a living wage. Workers said they are being overworked and paid as little as $10.25 per hour.

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The letter does not estimate how much money is due to the 271 workers, but [labor group spokeswoman Meghan] Cohorst estimated that it could be as much as $8 million. The letter orders the company to pay the employees a living wage and to issue the back wages that the workers failed to get, dating back to May 1, 2010.

The letter ordered the back wages paid within ten days of the company receiving the letter and threatened to end all contracts with the city and ban the company from holding a city lease or license for up to three years if the company did not comply.

Wednesday
May272015

POLITICS (National): Internal Revenue Service, hack of "Get Transcript" system: "Hackers stole personal information from 104,000 taxpayers, IRS says"; also, "Identity Thieves Got Private Data for 104,000 U.S. Taxpayers"; "'Not amateurs': IRS hackers steal thousands of taxpayers' info"; "Hackers stole data on 100K taxpayers from IRS" .... 

* Washington Post:  "Hackers stole personal information from 104,000 taxpayers, IRS says" - From the WP:

Hackers gained access to personal information of 104,000 taxpayers this spring, downloading an online service the Internal Revenue Service uses to give Americans access to their past tax returns, the agency said Tuesday. The information included several years’ worth of returns and other tax information on file with the IRS, Commissioner John Koskinen said in a press conference.

The thieves hacked into a system called “Get Transcript,” clearing a security screen that requires users to know the taxpayer’s Social Security number, date of birth, address and tax filing status. Those who successfully downloaded the transcripts gained access to information from prior years’ tax returns that could be used to file fraudulent tax returns that more closely resemble those of legitimate taxpayers, officials said. Koskinen said the system, which has temporarily been shut down, was targeted from February through mid-May.

“To get these, our criminals already had to have personal identifiers available and personal information for each taxpayer,” Koskinen said, calling the breach a “modified form” of the identify theft that has plagued the IRS in recent years. He said the criminals were able to use the information to submit fraudulent tax returns. Fewer than 15,000 of these fraudulent returns were processed this tax season, costing the IRS about $50 million, officials said.

In all, the hackers made about 200,000 attempts to access “Get Transcript” from questionable e-mail domains. About half were successful, clearing hurdles requiring authentication. About 23 million transcripts of past tax returns are legitimately downloaded each filing season, officials said.

The IRS is notifying taxpayers whose information was accessed. The agency’s information technology team noticed an unusual amount of activity in the “Get Transcript” application and became suspicious, Koskinen said. He stressed that the hackers are most likely sophisticated criminals .....................

***ALSO:

* New York Post:  "'Not amateurs': IRS hackers steal thousands of taxpayers' info"

* Bloomberg:  "Identity Thieves Got Private Data for 104,000 U.S. Taxpayers"

* The Hill:  "Hackers stole data on 100K taxpayers from IRS"

Wednesday
May272015

POLITICS (National): Immigration, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs: "Obama immigration overhaul and 'Dreamers' handed another legal setback"; also, "Appeals court rules against Obama on immigration program" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Obama immigration overhaul and 'Dreamers' handed another legal setback" - From the LAT:

A split federal appeals court on Tuesday let stand a lower court's ruling that has stymied Obama administration plans to shield up to 5 million people - including young immigrants known as "Dreamers" – from deportation. At issue was President Obama's proposed extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, created in 2012, and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents, or DAPA, which was scheduled to start in May.

Although the programs do not create a path to citizenship, critics have labeled them “amnesty,” and on Tuesday they praised the 2-1 ruling from the New Orleans-based appellate court. “Texas just won the executive amnesty case at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Constitution wins,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a vocal critic of Obama's immigration policies, wrote in a tweet.

Twenty-six states, led by Texas, had sued to stop the programs, arguing that the president had overstepped his constitutional authority. Judges Jerry E. Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod agreed. They also found that Texas officials could suffer a “cognizable injury” from the cost of having to issue driver’s licenses to at least 500,000 people that might be covered under the executive action.

Smith was appointed by President Reagan and Elrod by President George W. Bush. Judge Stephen A. Higginson, who dissented, was appointed by Obama. The White House noted his dissent Tuesday

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Fifteen states, including California, had filed briefs arguing on behalf of Obama’s executive actions .....................

****ALSO:

* Washington Post:  "Appeals court rules against Obama on immigration program"

Wednesday
May272015

SACRAMENTO: State budget, health care funding: "Jerry Brown's proposal to expand health plan tax sputtering"; also, "The Medi-Cal Mess" ....  

***State budget, health care funding ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Jerry Brown's proposal to expand health plan tax sputtering"

* Fox and Hounds (Joel Fox):  "The Medi-Cal Mess"