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Apr 26 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: April 26, 2012

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Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and City Hall

Good Thursday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

Remember: Friday is the last day for policy committees to pass fiscal bills introduced in their house. So, there will be some action around the Capitol this week.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Analyst predicts state budget gap “a few billion dollars” worse

With state revenues slowing to a trickle as the end of April draws near, the state’s top fiscal analyst said late Wednesday that California could be “a few billion dollars” shy of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget projections through June 2013.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said total personal income tax collections would likely be more than $2 billion below Brown’s expectation of $9.4 billion for the month. Because the state was already running behind, it would mean PIT revenues would be $3 billion shy for the fiscal year compared to Brown’s updated January projections.

Corporate taxes are also likely to trail Brown’s forecast by about $450 million for the fiscal year so far, according to LAO.

Unless sales taxes are robust, that means the state would be about $3.5 billion behind for this fiscal year, and likely a “few billion dollars” through the budget cycle that ends in June 2013, the Analyst’s Office estimates.

California poll finds disconnect on school cuts, taxes

Nearly 80 percent of Californians oppose $5 billion in so-called trigger cuts to state schools this fall, but only a slight majority of voters support the governor’s tax plan to stop it, according to a survey of 2,000 voters released Wednesday.

At this point, 54 percent of likely voters said they’d vote for Gov. Jerry Brown’s ballot measure to temporarily boost sales tax and income tax on wealthy California residents, the Public Policy Institute of California poll found.

If it doesn’t pass, Brown’s plan calls for school budget cuts to be triggered. Supporters of the tax hike measure expect to submit enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot sometime next month.

Wednesday’s poll signals something of a voter disconnect in the early stages of the campaign, said Mark Baldassare, the institute’s president.

Part of that could stem from the fact that most voters, 65 percent, like the idea of a tax on the wealthy to support schools, but 52 percent of those surveyed said they don’t like the sales tax increase.

The survey also showed voters want education dollars spent more wisely, with 48 percent saying that doing so would significantly improve schools. On the other hand, 46 percent of those surveyed said it will take wisdom and more money to make an impact.

Just 6 percent said more money by itself would have the most impact.


California blog regulations could hit Drudge, citizen journalists

California’s chief political watchdog, Ann Ravel, recently announced plans to regulate political websites that accept payments from campaigns. Last year Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her to head the Fair Political Practices Commission.

California bloggers right, left and center quickly criticized the proposal for quashing free speech and putting them at a disadvantage to out-of-state competitors.

“The Internet is global,” wrote Mark Paul on his blog, the California Fix. “The commission’s jurisdiction is limited to California. If campaigns find it useful to make payments to online sock puppets, won’t they funnel the dollars to bloggers living outside the state? Do we want to send jobs out of California?” Paul also is the co-author of the new book, “California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It.”

Out-of-state competition might not be a problem, say some legal experts, because California’s Fair Political Practices Commission could cross state lines and police out-of-state blogs and websites, including international news aggregators like the Drudge Report, regardless of their location. And there is adequate case law to back it up.

Meet President Obama’s $500,000 Hollywood Power Couple

In a 20-page special report, The Hollywood Reporter examines the complicated relationship between Hollywood and politics. The issue includes an in-depth profile by contributing editor Tina Daunt of President Barack Obama’s $500,000 power couple — maverick Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos and wife Nicole Avant, the Beverly Hills-bred former U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas. Elsewhere in the section, New Girl creator Liz Meriwether imagines her “sexy night with Mitt Romney”; former Designing Women producer Harry Thomason explains how he helped Bill Clinton’s re-election bid, but why he can’t help Obama; and more prominent Hollywood voices, including those of Eva Longoria and Dustin Lance Black on the issues that get them riled.

Netflix chief content officer Sarandos is the man everyone in Hollywood wants a meeting with. Avant, recently back from her post in The Bahamas, is a former music executive and actress who was a critical member of the L.A. campaign team that in 2008 brought in $21 million for Obama — only $1.9 million shy of what the president’s hometown, Chicago, raised. Now the couple is working together, and are among Los Angeles’ most high-profile and talked-about power duos, a pair who bridge the worlds of technology, entertainment and politics like no one else in town.

Enjoy your morning and here is Dan Walters and the daily video file from Sacramento: Tax measure polling problematic for Jerry Brown

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