Sacramento Entries

Anthem To Raise Premiums While Making Huge Profits

Graphic: Jessica PorterAnthem Blue Cross spent $2 million lobbying the California legislature and another $1.6 million on campaign contributions between 2009 and 2010. It lobbied the Department of Managed Health Care, the Department of Insurance and the Governor's office regarding health insurance regulations.

In particular, Anthem spent a significant amount of time lobbying against SB1163, a piece of legislation that gave the state the power to review premium increases.

So what, you say? Anthem is planning to raise its premiums almost 15 percent for more than 150,000 of its members.

California Teachers Lobbying for Higher Taxes, Better Public Education

An estimated 800 CTA members met to discuss the potential cuts to education. (Photo: Catherine Cloutier)In the face of severe state budget cuts, the California Teachers' Association has been cozying up to Gov. Jerry Brown to lobby for higher taxes and to help minimize the damage to public education.

The CTA gave Brown $49,300 in campaign contributions for his 2010 gubernatorial run.

Now both want to extend higher sales and income taxes and fee increases for five years to soften projected blows to the education budget. They hope to put their tax extension initiative before voters in a June special election.

But getting the extensions to pass will be an uphill battle, and if they fail, funding for the 2011-12 school year faces a $4.5 billion cut.

Where Alcohol And Politics Mix, Sin Taxes Leave Bad Taste

(Photo: John Guenther)

California's big alcohol industry fills the glasses of many Americans and the coffers of many politicians. The state's tax rates on alcohol are some of the lowest in the country as a result. Despite a large budget deficit, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are not looking to change this any time soon.

"They have hordes of lobbyists," California Assembly Member Jim Beall, Jr. (D-24) said, describing the alcohol industry's political army. "One of them called me 'the devil.'" Why? Simply because Beall authored a recent failed bill to impose a fee on alcohol purchases.