Good Thursday morning!
The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.
On to today’s California headlines:
Flanked by education and labor leaders, dozens of schoolchildren and his dog, Sutter, Gov. Jerry Brown formally kicked off his campaign Wednesday for Proposition 30, the measure on the November ballot that would raise taxes on state sales and incomes of more than $250,000.
Brown used a Sacramento high school as the backdrop for the event, calling Proposition 30 a choice about whether Californians want to provide more funding for schools. In vintage Brown style, he quoted from the New Testament to make his pitch to voters, urging them to ask the state’s wealthiest residents to pay higher taxes to boost education spending.
“To those who much has been given, much will be required,” he said quoting from the Gospel of Luke, saying the state’s highest earners “now have an opportunity to give back.”
Brown was joined by his dog, Sutter, decked out in a red vest covered with Yes on 30 stickers for the event.
Under a budget signed by Brown earlier this year, public schools would face about $5 billion in cuts if the measure is rejected by voters. The state’s two public university systems would each face an additional $250-million reduction.
Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) said Wednesday that the Legislature would end its two-year session this month by passing measures to overhaul the state’s public pension system and enact a series of “regulatory reforms” to make California more attractive to businesses.
He said he hopes that a combination of “smart cuts and smart investments” will spur voters to approve billions of dollars in tax hikes in November to balance the state’s books.
Speaking at a Capitol news conference, Perez boasted about past achievements — delivering on-time state budgets, approving funding for California’s high-speed rail project, passing protections for homeowners from foreclosure and aggressive bank practices — but provided few details about some of largest items on the legislative agenda in the final weeks of the session.
On pensions, he pledged to deliver “comprehensive action” that goes above and beyond the 12-point plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but he declined to discuss specifics. On business regulations, he said lawmakers would likely consider legislation as part of “an ongoing effort to modernize our regulatory system so that it more accurately reflects real-world realities.”
An initiative on the November ballot that would change the way packaged foods are labeled is shaping up like a battle between a tiny health food store and a big box grocery.
Proposition 37 would require new labeling on foods made with genetically-engineered ingredients. That would include just about every processed food that is not organic. As of yesterday, supporters have raised $2.4 million while opponents have raised $25 million – about ten times as much.
A list of supporters reads like the aisle of your local health food store: Eden Foods, Nature’s Path, Amy’s Kitchen, Lundberg Family Farms, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.
A list of opponents is like a stroll through Safeway or WalMart: Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Ocean Spray, Nestle, Kellogg’s, Hershey’s, Sara Lee, General Mills.
Enjoy your morning!