Two Assembly Republicans voted Friday with Democrats to put a tax increase across the finish line. The tax-increase bill needed a 2/3 majority vote, or 54 votes, and the votes by Assemblymen Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) and Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), ensured its passage.
The bill, Assembly Bill 142 by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) increases the Manufacturer Battery Fee and makes other changes to the LeadAcid Battery Recycling Act (Act) of 2016. This is a tax.
As The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association notes in its opposition to AB 142, “There are alternative funding mechanisms which may include legitimate regulatory fees under existing constitutional authority. In addition, the necessary funds already exist in California’s $22 billion surplus. Instead, battery manufacturers who may have had little role in contaminating communities are being targeted. The same goes for consumers who live hundreds of miles away from impacted areas. If eighteen sites need mitigation, this is a matter of statewide concern that should be funded out of the General Fund.”
The question is, why did Mayes and Cunningham vote to pass this bill. The other question is why are Republicans Mayes and Cunningham making it a practice to vote with Democrats?
Cunningham was the only Republican who voted Tuesday on anti-charter school bill AB 1505, while Mayes changed his vote so many times, reporters got whiplash. Mayes abstained in the end. Assemblyman Brian Mainschein (D-San Diego), formerly a Republican, also voted to pass the anti-charter school bill AB 1505.
California Globe called Cunningham’s office, which is not answering their phone, and instead allowing calls to go to a recording.
The Assembly Republican Caucus is down to 19 members, making it difficult to block bills. With Republican members crossing the aisle to cast votes, many question if Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) holds more than sway over some, as happened with Mayes in 2017.
Then-Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes and former Republican Assembly Leader Kristen Olsen, who was Vice Chairwoman of the California Republican Party at the time, had their affair exposed after Olsen’s estranged husband Rod wrote and sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, demanding an investigation into the affair and alleging Assembly resources and tax dollars were used in the affair and cover up of it.
Speaker Rendon knew about the Rod Olsen complaint and did not authorize an ethics investigation into the affair. Then Mayes’ did a 180-degree pivot on a vote for a climate change bill, leading most to believe that the Mayes/Olsen affair likely affected the policy Speaker Rendon and Gov. Jerry Brown wanted passed.
Is this happening again? Or is it pure special interest politics?
More to come…