Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Vegas Resorts are Hiring

A spate of mega resort hotels set to open there this year will create openings for tens of thousands of workers, and hotel operators are already looking for new jobs in Las Vegas.

California Taxpayer Lawsuit

SACRAMENTO — Taxpayer groups and Republican lawmakers filed suit today against a yet-to-be-enacted Democratic plan to raise billions of new revenue for the state with simple-majority votes in the Legislature.

The proposal, which was approved last month by both houses of the Legislature but which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger so far has refused to sign, would sidestep a state law requiring two-thirds majority votes to raise taxes. It would do so essentially by replacing taxes with fees, which need only a majority to pass.

In a lawsuit being filed in the Third Appellate District Court of Appeal, opponents ask for "immediate action" to stop the budget plan from going into effect. The fact that the plan was approved is enough to trigger a ruling from the courts, they said at a news conference.

Silicon Valley Mercury News

Google California

Google, is a California based public corporation, earning revenue from advertising related to its Internet search, e-mail, online mapping, office productivity, social networking, and video sharing services as well as selling advertising-free versions of the same technologies. The Google headquarters, the Googleplex, is located in Mountain View, California. As of 30 September 2008, the company has over 20,000 full-time employees.

Revenues are rumored to have drop quite a bit during the recent economic recession.

Google was co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University and the company was first incorporated as a privately held company on 4 September 1998. The initial public offering took place on 19 August 2004, raising US$1.67 billion, making it worth US$23 billion. Google has continued its growth through a series of new product developments, acquisitions, and partnerships. Environmentalism, philanthropy and positive employee relations have been important tenets during the growth of Google, the latter resulting in being identified multiple times as Fortune Magazine's #1 Best Place to Work.

The unofficial company slogan is "Don't be evil", although criticism of Google includes concerns regarding the privacy of personal information, copyright, censorship and discontinuation of services. Another big criticism of Google is that it is the world's largest directory of pronographic material on the web. As of this date it is facing enormous political preasure from large countries such as China, France and Australia and others to clean up its act and to follow its own slogan.

According to Millward Brown, it is the most powerful brand in the world. Web services include the very successful Search Engine, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Earch and Blogger accounts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

California Proposed Tax Hikes

The Californian - did a great analysis of the Governor's proposed tax hikes to fix the state's broken budget.

SALES TAX: 1.5 percent increase for three years.

ALCHOLIC DRINK FEE: Five cent per drink in the excise tax on a 12-ounce beer, five-ounce glass of wine, and a 1.5 ounce drink of distilled spirits, beginning Jan. 1.

Beer fees would increase from 20 cents to 73 cents per gallon. Wine fees would increase from 20 cents to $1.48 per gallon. Distilled spirits fees would increase from $3.30 to $7.57 per gallon.

GOLF/OTHER SERVICES: Applies the sales tax for first time to any fees charged for admission to golf courses, such as green fees; appliance, vehicle and furniture repair, and veterinarian services beginning Feb. 1. Tax includes the state sales tax of 6.5 percent plus local addition. The 1.5 percent temporary sales tax increase also would apply for three years if it is enacted.

Also imposes the sales tax for the first time to amusement parks and sporting events beginning March 1.

OIL: Imposes, for the first time, an oil severance tax at the rate of 9.9 percent per barrel of oil pumped, beginning Jan. 1. No oil severance tax now exists.

VEHICLE FEE: Increases the annual vehicle registration fee by $12 on top of an $11 increase approved in the current state budget, beginning Feb. 1.

DEPENDENT EXEMPTION CREDIT: Permanently cuts the dependent exemption credit to equal the personal exemption credit. This would drop the dependent credit from $309 per child or other dependent to $99 starting in the 2009 tax year.


WILLIAMSON ACT: Eliminates this fiscal year and in 2009-10 the $34.7 million that the state reimburses counties annually under the Williamson Act to cover reduced property taxes to preserve farmland, scenic and other open spaces. Counties could continue to contract with farmers to operate the program but would have to absorb the tax losses. In 2007, Monterey County received $962,326.

RURAL CRIME: Eliminates $3.7 million for multi-county programs to combat agricultural crime, including in Monterey County.

SCHOOL YEAR: Proposes to give school districts the option to cut the 2009-10 school year by five days to help deal with budget problems.


FIRST FIVE COMMISSIONS: Eliminates the commission created by Proposition 10, which raised cigarette taxes to pay for early childhood development, so state funds and half of the local funds could help pay for children's programs. Requires voter approval.

MENTAL HEALTH: Revises Proposition 63, which taxes the wealthy to pay for community-based mental health programs, to help pay for state mental health programs. Requires voter approval.

JUDGES: Pays for 50 new judges in each of the next two budget years to complete a multi-year plan to boost the number of judges by 150. It's not clear how the new judges would be allocated, but from the initial group of 50 judges previously approved, Monterey County received one.

HIGH SPEED RAIL: Proposes $123 million in 2009-10 from the $9.95 billion bond approved in November to begin the detailed engineering, design and environmental work on the 200mph train that would run connect Northern and Southern California through the San Joaquin Valley. Funding is dependent on the state being able to return to the bond market.

INDIAN GAMBLING: Reduces the estimated amount of revenue that the state will get from tribal casinos by $123 million to $362 million in 2008-09 and by $192 million to $393 million in 2009-09 because of the economic downturn.


$2.1 billion: Shifts these funds from Proposition 10, which raised cigarette taxes to pay for early childhood development, to children's health programs. Requires voter approval.

Scripps Institute

Located in La Jolla California, The Scripps Institution of Oceanography (sometimes referred to as SIO, Scripps Oceanography or just Scripps), is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and earth science research, graduate training, and public service in the world.

Many of the world's finest ocean and earth research scientists conduct scientific research with the aid of oceanographic research vessels and shorebased laboratories.

The public explorations center of the institution is the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

The institution's research programs encompass biological, physical, chemical, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans and earth. Scripps also studies the interaction of the oceans with both the atmospheric climate and environmental concerns on terra firma. Related to this research, Scripps offers doctoral degrees in Oceanography, Marine Biology, and Earth Sciences.

Today, the Scripps staff of 1,300 (including faculty, scientists and graduate students) with an annual budget of more than $140 million. The institution operates a fleet of four oceanographic research vessels and the research platform FLIP for oceanographic research.