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NEWS: State Controller unveils new open data website on local government finances

State Controller John Chiang has launched a new website designed to empower citizens to hold their officials accountable by providing them with key financial data, reports CaliforniaCityNews.org. The data on the website includes information on local government spending, revenues, assets and liabilities.

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EDITORIAL: High cost of doing business in California

A new study by the California Foundation for Commerce and Education has found high labor costs, high taxes, widespread lawsuit abuse and overzealous regulations have driven the state's business operating costs 19 percent above the national average, writes the Orange County Register. Policymakers should act to save jobs by making reforms across the board and not only to industries with political clout, the paper argues.

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Tags: Jobs

OPINION: Nothing Golden About This Hidden Gas Tax

Californians already pay the nation's highest gas taxes, but a planned expansion of the state's cap and trade program could raise gas prices 16 to 76 cents per gallon beginning in January, writes GasBuddy analyst Gregg Laskoski in US News and World Report. Laskoski says the plan lacks transparency, with bureaucrats unable to clarify rates and dates and no limit on the amount gas prices could rise.

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OPINION: San Francisco Transit Workers Average $123K Per Year – Reject 11% Raise

San Francisco municipal transit workers earn a compensation package averaging $123,000 per year and were recently awarded a pay increase of 14.25 percent, which California Policy Center researcher Robert Fellner argues is excessive in Union Watch. While municipal employees say the wage increase is justified because of San Francisco's high cost of living, Fellner says wages should be based on productivity instead.

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OPINION: Redevelopment: Back with a vengeance?

While Governor Brown eliminated redevelopment agencies in 2011 to balance the state budget, new legislation under consideration may bring redevelopment back with less accountability than before, writes San Diego Union Tribune columnist Steven Greenhut. Top Senate Democrat Darrell Steinberg and the League of California Cities have advocated a restoration of redevelopment programs in some form.

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