April 11, 2012 archive

Flap’s California Morning Collection: April 11, 2012


Santa Monica, California

Good Wednesday morning!The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.
The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

California controller outlines shortfall, says key months ahead

As state leaders hope for a surprise uptick in revenue this spring, state Controller John Chiang reported Tuesday that California lagged last month by $233.5 million, or 4.2 percent.

The state missed its target most in corporate income taxes, which were $125.8 million (8.2 percent) off the mark. Income taxes and sales taxes were each less than 2 percent behind Gov. Jerry Brown’s revenue forecast. For the fiscal year that ends in June, the state is now trailing Brown’s expectations by nearly $1.1 billion, or 1.9 percent.

Community college board cuts more jobs

The district that oversees Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges is eliminating 60 more jobs as it continues to cut classes, trim programs and restructure departments.

The Ventura County Community College District board voted to cut the jobs Tuesday night on a 4-0 vote. Trustee Bernardo Perez was absent.

In addition, the board voted to reduce hours for about two dozen workers. The vote is expected to save $2.6 million.

“This is one of the hardest things I think any of us will ever do,” said Trustee Dianne McKay. “We want to be good employers. We want to do what’s best for students. But the money flowing from Sacramento is making that harder and harder to do.”

Feinstein calls treasurer’s actions ‘big betrayal’

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday there was never any indication that her former campaign treasurer was mismanaging her re-election account before the treasurer’s arrest last year in a widespread embezzlement case.

“It was a big betrayal,” Feinstein told reporters after addressing Sacramento area government officials. “Oh yeah, you can imagine how you’d feel.”

Feinstein made her first public remarks on the topic after her former campaign treasurer, Kinde Durkee, entered guilty pleas March 30 to five counts of mail fraud in a case that prosecutors said involved looting at least $7 million from about 50 clients.

It is believed to be the largest embezzlement case involving political campaign funds in the nation’s history.

Feinstein lost an estimated $4.5 million from her re-election account, while other Democratic members of Congress, the state Legislature and political organizations lost millions more. Durkee could face as long as 14 years in prison when she is sentenced in June.

Dan Walters: Politicians should act instead of expecting budget miracle

The Capitol is preoccupied with Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to persuade voters to raise taxes and the complicating effects of a rival tax measure sponsored by civil rights attorney Molly Munger.

With deadlines looming, will Brown and his union allies collect enough signatures to place their measure on the June ballot? Will Munger cave in to pressure from Brown, et al., to back off? If both are on the ballot, would it doom both?

The uncertainty is paralyzing the Capitol as legislative leaders refuse to mop up the red ink that’s already leaking from the current year’s budget.

The 2011-12 budget was “balanced” – quotation marks denoting its flimsy use – last year on a last-minute, miraculous assumption that the state would receive an extra $4 billion in revenue, despite the lack of any credible evidence, thereby allowing legislators to be paid.

A few months later, the administration downgraded its income forecast but, as a new report from Controller John Chiang shows, revenue is running below even those lower numbers.

Nevertheless Capitol politicians are still crossing their fingers, hoping that a surge in income taxes in April will shield them from cutting more spending.

In other words, they’re hoping for another miracle whose chances are somewhere between minuscule and none.

Enjoy your morning!

And, Dan Walters reminds California Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, just returning from his year long deployment to Afghanistan, that he did not really miss too much in the year that he missed in the California Legislature:


Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-11


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