Morrell Monthly: December 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
IN THIS ISSUE:
Connect With Me On Social Media
Another Year Over
Photos
Helping Veterans Get Around Town
Top Chamber Business Awards a Success!
Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future
Hidden Gas Tax Fight Continues
University of California Regents Raise Tuition
Intern Spotlight: Stephanie Lao
California’s Business Taxes Not Competitive

Connect With Me On Social Media

To learn more about what I’m working on in Sacramento, or events happening in the district, please visit my website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. You can also email me at Senator.Morrell@sen.ca.gov.

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Another Year Over

Image of Christmas Tree

The holidays are a time of expectation and celebration, inviting us to quietly reflect on our past and anticipate what awaits us in the future.

Our world faces many challenges, both here at home and around the globe. In the midst of this turmoil and uncertainty, it can be difficult to find the peace and joy this season brings.

In his 1981 Christmas message, President Reagan said, “more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man.” As we come to the close of another year, I pray we can take his words to heart and look to commit ourselves to carrying this spirit throughout our lives.

My family and I wish you safe travels in the days ahead. May you have a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

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Photos

Photo of Senator Morrell, his wife and Kimie Metcalf
Each year, a child with developmental disabilities is chosen to light the Capitol Christmas tree in Sacramento. This year, the tree was lit by 9-year-old Kimie Metcalf who my wife and I had the privilege to meet. A leukemia survivor with cerebral palsy, Kimie has many challenges, but she is facing them courageously and leads a remarkable life. I encourage you to read more about her story here.

Photo of Senator Morrell with the Urban Conservation Corps
In November, I had the opportunity to help put together care packages for our troops overseas. Pass Area Supporting Soldiers (PASS) does a great job working with the Banning, Beaumont, Hemet, and San Jacinto communities to make these pack days a success. This photo from the Record Gazette includes myself, Banning Mayor Debbie Franklin, and the Pass Patchers Quilt Guild.

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Helping Veterans Get Around Town

A recent article in The Sun highlighted the work of Marine veteran Osvaldo Maysonet. Since 2012, he has worked with transit agencies and other groups throughout the Inland Empire to make transportation more affordable for our region’s veterans. His efforts on behalf of his fellow men and women in uniform are admirable and I know are much appreciated. To read the story, click here.

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Top Chamber Business Awards a Success!

Photo of Senator Morrell with Top Chamber Business Owner Larry McRae and the Poison Spyder Customs team of Banning
With Top Chamber Business Owner Larry McRae and the Poison Spyder Customs team of Banning.

Thank you to everyone who made it to the 4th Annual Top Chamber Business Awards at the University of Redlands. We had a great turnout to recognize the work of this year’s honorees. To read more about the event and see a list of the award recipients, click here.

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Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future

Flyer for Save the Date

On Friday, March 13, 2015, I’ll be hosting the second annual Patriots of the Past, Present, and Future Recognition Ceremony and Dinner. The event will honor servicemen and women of every generation and the local businesses and organizations that have supported them.

“Patriots” (one each from the Past, Present, and Future) will be recognized in four separate categories - Business, Education, Public Safety, and Community Service - for a total of 12 awards.

For more information, click here.

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Hidden Gas Tax Fight Continues

Throughout 2014, my colleagues and I have put pressure on the Governor and majority party leaders to stop the gas tax headed our direction beginning January 1. When fully implemented, the additional cost could top 76 cents per gallon!

We haven’t given up the fight. On the first day of the new legislative session, I joined with Senate and Assembly Republicans to introduce legislation (Senate Bill 5) that would eliminate the new tax and protect Californians from higher costs at the pump. To read my full statement, click here.

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University of California Regents Raise Tuition

When voters passed Proposition 30 in 2012, they did so with the understanding that the money would go to education. Governor Brown promised students that the funds would prevent tuition increases at state colleges and universities. But this November, the Regents of the University of California approved a plan that would hike tuition by five percent per year for five years - an increase of almost $3,400. You can read my statement here.

Proposition 30 has turned into just one more broken commitment to Californians. Republicans proposed freezing UC tuition two years ago, and it’s time legislative Democrats finally recognize that need. Students should have access to an affordable education that can help them climb the economic ladder.

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 Intern Spotlight: Stephanie Lao

Image of Intern Stephanie LaoStephanie Lao started as one of our fall interns at the beginning of the current school year. She is studying political science at California State University, San Bernardino.

A self-described natural-born jetsetter, Stephanie spent part of her childhood in the Philippines and has loved travelling ever since. She would like to make a career out of it by one day working for the U.S. State Department or acting as an international liaison to foster diplomatic relations with other countries.

Stephanie’s interest in politics stems from her time on the Speech and Debate Team of Redlands East Valley High School specializing in issues concerning international relations as well as developing presentation and speaking skills. During her sophomore year of high school she had the opportunity to be an exchange student in Japan as part of her participation in the Redlands Sister Cities Association. She remains involved with the organization during the summer as a student representative, in which she assists in chaperoning Japanese exchange students visiting the United States.

Stephanie’s hobbies include tennis, reading, studying foreign languages, digital art, and animation. In conjunction with studying, she works part-time at a Kohl’s department store and as a freelance illustrator for a game company called Painted Lemur Studios in Toronto, Canada.

We’ve enjoyed having Stephanie on staff and look forward to what the future holds for her. Thanks for your hard work, Stephanie!

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California’s Business Taxes Not Competitive

Image of 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index
Source: Tax Foundation

As we head into 2015, the Legislature will be taking on a lot of issues, including spurring private sector job creation and getting people back to work. While the official unemployment rate has gone down, California still faces several obstacles that stand in the way of full economic recovery.

One of these challenges is that California’s business tax climate remains one of the least competitive in the nation. The poor ranking reflects the system’s complexity as well as the fact that the state has some of the country’s highest income taxes, corporate taxes, and sales taxes.

When businesses are intimidated by the state’s tax structure, it means fewer job opportunities. Keeping all of this in mind will be necessary as Sacramento begins the New Year.

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