Month: April 2011

Police Chiefs Discover ZIP Codes Can Predict More Than Health

Public health expert Dr. Anthony Iton says that if you give him your address, he can tell you how long you’re likely to live. His prediction isn’t based simply on homicide rates or disease prevalence. It’s based on the stress of living in neighborhoods that aren’t safe, where, for instance, children avoid playgrounds for fear of stray bullets and adults stay home at night for fear of being assaulted.

Legacy LA Links Dreams with Leadership in Boyle Heights: A Conversation with Lou Calanche

Maria “Lou” Calanche believes in dreams. But Calanche, a community activist since her teens, knows that residents of the Ramona Gardens housing project need leadership skills to turn their dreams into reality. As Executive Director of the Boyle Heights non-profit Legacy LA, she works with parents and at-risk teens to find alternatives to the gangs, violence and drug addiction that perpetuate the cycle of incarceration, teen pregnancy and low graduation rates.

smael Morales, director of health services at the Center Long Beach, which serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. For now, the Center has survived state cuts to HIV and AIDS prevention and testing funding after receiving a three-year, $300,000 grant in 2009.

HIV prevention efforts a struggle after budget cuts

Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, state funding for HIV and AIDS programs was cut by more than half, $85 million, in the 2009-10 fiscal year. That included the entire budget for HIV prevention and testing, though about $12 million in federal funds was still available. That trend has continued since then, and no state funding for prevention and testing is proposed in the next fiscal year either under Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget as California continues to face a financial meltdown.

Can health insurance exchange, regulation co-exist?

Today the California Assembly Health Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would allow state regulators to reject health insurance rate increases deemed excessive or discriminatory. This hearing will come just six days after the first board meeting of the California Health Benefit Exchange. Many hope that the Exchange will take the lead in holding insurance rate increases down through actively negotiating with insurers. Can active negotiation work in tandem with rate regulation?

Advocates, experts question proposed changes to Megan’s Law

Legislation passed by the Assembly’s public safety committee would allow counties to send email alerts notifying residents when a convicted sex offender moves into the neighborhood. Residents who sign up for the service would get messages with the name, photo, offense and address of local registered sex offenders delivered directly into their inboxes. But some victim advocates and treatment providers worry that notification doesn’t improve public safety, and may have the unintended consequence of making communities less safe.

Corporate tax burden shrinking in state

As the economy has expanded and contracted over the past three decades, Californians have slowly, but steadily, paid more in personal income taxes to support state government. Corporations, however, are another story.

While individuals have watched their tax burden rise, corporations have seen their effective tax rate plummet even as California-based companies like Chevron, Google and Apple have posted record profits. This disparity has reinforced the state’s reliance on personal income tax and contributed to California’s chronic budget deficit.

In 2008, the last year for which numbers are available, Californians paid a little more than 4 cents in taxes on every dollar earned, up from about 3 cents in 1981. Over that same period, taxes on corporate income dropped from almost 10 cents of every dollar in 1981 to about 5 cents in 2008. The corporate tax burden fell by half while the individual taxpayer’s burden rose by a third.

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