News Stories

SB 405, Driving Down Debt, by Sen. Hertzberg, is cited

April 27, 2015

Soaring municipal fees are turning traffic tickets into such major expenses that many can’t get their car out of the impound lot. People shouldn’t lose their transportation to work over an illegal left turn. Sen. Robert Hertzberg’s SB 405 aims to fix that.

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By Tammerlin Drummond Oakland Tribune Columnist/Bay Area News Group

April 20, 2015

Link to original column HERE:

By Christopher Cadelago

April 16, 2015

Link to complete original story, including video and charts, HERE

Christina Charles acknowledges she broke the law. 
Between 2011 and 2012, Charles improperly stopped at a stop sign. She drove with a missing license plate and a taillight out.

Her license was suspended when she couldn’t pay for the tickets and failed to appear in court. Charles also was stopped for driving on the suspended license and without car insurance. 
She eventually piled up $6,000 in debt.

By Aaron Mendelson

April 15, 2015

The California legislature is considering a trio of bills that would crack open the state's vast amounts of public data. The seemingly small changes they require, including dictating the electronic file types and tracking systems that governments use, aim to make data easier for citizens to access and analyze.

Proposed reform to impose sales tax on services

April 15, 2015

By Art Garcia

How much do you know about Senate Bill 8, currently awaiting a hearing in the California senate? Not much? Never heard of it? Neither have most small businesses, operations that would be heavily affected by passage of its proposed tax reform.

Submitted by Democratic State Senator Robert Hertzberg of Van Nuys, the bill, which is titled the Upward Mobility Act, has yet to be assigned to a committee for hearing, but that should happen within a few weeks, and likely will go to the committee chaired by Hertzberg, the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance.

By Joel Fox

April 15, 2015

Just in time for Tax Day, the Board of Equalization issued a study requested by the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance estimating the revenue take from taxing untaxed services would be $122.6 billion. The study will become fodder in the coming debate over Senator Bob Hertzberg’s effort to restructure the state tax system to include taxes on the service economy.

By Laura Mahoney

April 14, 2015

Reproduced with permission from Daily Tax Report, 72 DTR H-3 (Apr. 15, 2015). Copyright 2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <>

April 14 — A new estimate that a California sales tax on services could generate as much as $122.6 billion a year is fueling calls from state officials to impose the tax and reduce or eliminate the income tax at the same time.

Ferguson, Missouri isn't the only place where traffic courts drive poor people deeper into poverty. In California, more than 4 million people have had their drivers' licenses suspended after traffic fines they couldn't afford were increased by escalating

April 13, 2015

After investigating the notorious police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the federal Department of Justice reported that local courts were systematically taking money from poor people to provide revenue for the city. Now a coalition of legal aid groups has found something similar going on in California — where traffic courts are pushing low-income people deeper into poverty. More than four million people have had their drivers' licenses suspended after traffic fines they couldn't afford were increased by escalating fees and penalties.

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