El Cajon Hills, California
The California Legislature is in session. California Assembly and State Senate Floor Sessions will begin at noon. Today’s schedule is here.
Gov. Jerry Brown joins former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today at a big-ticket Bay Area Council event in San Jose.
The 2012 Outlook Conference will look at trends affecting business, the economy and politics. Rice is speaking at 1 p.m., while Brown is scheduled to start at 3:35 p.m. sharp. Clinton’s talk is set for 5 p.m. Other speakers include the CEOs of LinkedIn, DuPont, PG&E Corp., and Kaiser Permanente.
On to today’s California headlines:
Supporters of a tax measure backed by wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger have started submitting the voter signatures they’ve collected in their qualification campaign.
The campaign announced late today that it is submitting 241,049 signatures to elections officials in Los Angeles County. Backers hope to submit signatures of 775,000 voters in all. Roughly 504,000 valid signatures are needed to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.
Campaign spokesman Nathan Ballard said supporters are wrapping up signature-gathering efforts this week. He said he is “optimistic” that they will hit that target.
Munger’s measure, which is supported by the California State PTA, would raise income taxes on a sliding scale on all but the poorest California workers for 12 years, with most of the estimated $10 billion in revenues going directly to schools and early development programs. A portion of the money would be used to pay down school bond debt for the first several years.
Supporters of the tax measure backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, which would temporarily hike the sales tax and increase income taxes for Californians making more than $250,000 a year, sought earlier this year to persuade Munger to drop her effort so there would not be more than one tax measure on the same ballot. That campaign has not yet announced turning in petition signatures.
Supporters of Governor Jerry Brown’s tax increase initiative believe they’ve got the signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot, less than seven weeks after hitting the streets.
The initiative to temporarily raise income taxes on the most wealthy and sales taxes on everyone wrapped up its paid signature gathering on Wednesday, according to Democratic political consultant Gale Kaufman, a top advisor to the campaign.
It will likely take several weeks for elections officials to verify all the signatures, collected at a brisk pace following the governor’s eleventh hour compromise with liberal activists who were originally pushing a millionaires tax initiative.
Meantime, Brown’s fall tax hike competition also made news Wednesday.
Education activist Molly Munger and her PTA allies began submitting signatures for their temporary, virtually across-the-board income tax increase to help fund K-12 schools. The independently wealthy Munger has bankrolled the entire signature gathering effort — some $7.2 million. And as she said in a March interview, she’s prepared to self-fund the entire 2012 campaign.
Even so, the Munger measure continues to fare poorly in public statewide polls, though its backers remain adamant that it’s the best choice for voters who care about school funding.
A labor union that pushed a pair of ballot measures to rein in excessive hospital billing and expand healthcare for the poor has dropped them — in exchange for an agreement that, among other things, enlists the hospital industry in the union’s organizing efforts.
The agreement, announced late Wednesday, ends a months-long public battle between the Service Employees International Union and the California Hospital Assn. Private hospitals had accused the union of using the initiative process as leverage in contract negotiations to expand its membership, a charge the union strongly denied.
Under the new pact, dubbed a Partnership for a Healthy California, the hospital association pledges to facilitate meetings between the SEIU and CEOs of hospitals and health systems employing 100,000 non-union workers. (Those hospitals, the document notes, are not bound to sign organizing agreements.) In turn, the SEIU agreed not to file petition signatures with county election officials and the secretary of state’s office.
On Wednesday, both parties downplayed the organizing component of the deal, instead painting the agreement as the product of an unprecedented partnership dedicated to tackling the most pressing issues in modern healthcare. The SEIU and the hospital assn. vowed to form a labor-management task force to find ways to lower costs, improve quality and expand access.
There are two important political ramifications to these numbers.
- The explosive growth in Latino voters may have already happened. Latinos accounted for about 20 percent of the California electorate in 2010, and that percent has risen dramatically since 1994 and Proposition 187, the anti-immigrant measure. It will probably continue rising, but not as rapidly as it has. There are 4.5 million under 18 Latinos; they will reach voting age in the next two decades, and most are citizens and were born here. But that may not be enough to maintain the current levels of growth of the Latino electorate, and that electorate will join the rest of Californians in growing older. As Josh Kraushaar of the Nation Journal wrote recently, “For Democrats, the expected long-term explosion of Latino voters may not end up materializing. While there was a significant spike in the Hispanic population at the first half of the last decade, the economic recession and tighter immigration crackdown have slowed that to a trickle.”
- The second is the passing of immigration as a political issue. Michael Barone of the American Enterprise Institute recently wrote that, ”The illegal immigration problem is going away.” Illegal immigration became a political issue because, as Barone put it, “Mexican immigrants tend to be younger, poorer, less educated and less fluent in English. They are also more likely to be illegal.” With this flow stopped, many observers see the political issue eventually fading away.
Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters in his Daily Video: Budget season is here