January 14, 2013 | John Allan Peschong
The best odds makers in Las Vegas couldn’t have predicted some of the events of 2012 — Democrats gaining supermajorities in both the state Senate and Assembly and the makeup of the Board of Supervisors changing from left of center to right of center in San Luis Obispo County. However, hindsight brings clarity and with the new year arrived, I offer my forecast for state and local happenings in 2013.
1. Gov. Brown will announce his intention to run for re-election, seeking a fourth term. I know, this is an easy one, but it assures I’ll get at least one prediction right.
2. Our new county Board of Supervisors will make job creation its top priority.
Since 2001, San Luis Obispo County has lost more than 5,000 net jobs and our unemployment rate, while down from 10.4 percent in 2010, is still unacceptably high. The board will work to make our county more business friendly.
3. Students at Cal Poly and the other 22 California State University campuses will have a one-year reprieve from tuition increases, while their fellow students at California’s UC campuses will not be so lucky. Following the passage of Proposition 30, CSU rescinded its planned tuition increase for 2013 and UC postponed a decision on increasing graduate school tuition. Both university systems will raise tuition in 2014.
4. San Luis Obispo County will face new challenges as its senior population increases exponentially. While this is a statewide trend, it is especially acute in San Luis Obispo County where we have seen a 200-299 percent increase in seniors 85 and older. This will impact services such as health care the greatest — creating challenges such as doctor shortages.
5. Crime will increase in San Luis Obispo County and throughout California due to Gov. Brown’s and the Legislature’s realignment plan. Realignment has shifted thousands of felons from California prisons to county jails. The counties do not have the needed space for the prisoners and our sheriffs are being forced to make early releases. The governor and Democrats will feel some heat as realignment becomes unpopular and crime rates increase.
6. Local and state leaders will scramble to figure out how to implement the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, by 2014.
A great deal of the actual execution of the law falls on our local government vis-à-vis Medicaid. With a number of unanswered questions about how the health care law will be implemented, the expansion of Medicaid will be challenging for San Luis Obispo County.
7. State revenue will fall short of projections and California will again face another multibillion dollar deficit. The problem remains Sacramento politicians’ destructive appetite to spend more of your hard-earned tax dollars.
8. With supermajorities in the Senate and Assembly, Democrats will overreach and vote to raise taxes — even overriding the governor’s veto if necessary. A car tax increase proposal has already been talked about and the legislature will go after Proposition 13, which will hurt working families and small businesses.
9. Debbie Arnold will bring a fresh perspective and approach to county government.Supervisor Arnold brings a business perspective to the board as well as an agriculture background — an important asset for our community.
10. The Earth’s temperature will cool in 2013. This is despite China’s increase in CO2 emissions, which are now 80 percent higher than those in America where CO2 emissions have fallen in recent years.