Tag Archive: California State Budget

Feb 20 2013

The California Flap: February 20, 2013

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California Cap and Trade

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 is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to today’s California headlines:

  • Mistake in First California Carbon Auction Raises Questions About Secrecy – California’s cap-and-trade program to cut greenhouse gases resumed this week with its second auction of carbon allowances to industrial polluters. The market is being closely watched around the world, and billions of dollars are at stake. But some nagging questions are lingering from the first auction. The state’s first-ever carbon auction last November was a very exclusive online event, open only to bidders and regulators at the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Four days later, Mary Nichols, who heads the board, declared it a resounding success, saying the auction came off “without a hitch.”
  • Second cap and trade California auction needs big bucks – In a private and somewhat secret event on Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget inched a little more towards balance… or further towards a multi-million dollar hole created by what’s turned out to be relatively low demand for greenhouse gas pollution credits. It was the second of three initial auctions of carbon dioxide credits, and the first since November’s offering came up significantly short in revenues available to the state. Net proceeds won’t be revealed by the California Air Resources Board until Friday.  The first auction brought in $55.8 million, less than a third of the $200 million expected in the governor’s budget through the end of June.
  • We predicted there was no California tax ‘windfall’ – The bottom line is that people react to tax increases. When he was plumping for the $6 billion Proposition 30 tax increase last fall, Gov. Jerry Brown touted a study by two Stanford sociologists that rich people supposedly don’t leave to avoid paying higher taxes. I debunked that study here and here. Wayne Lusvardi did so here. In about two months we’ll know much more about how Prop. 30 — and the federal Obamacare and fiscal cliff — tax increases have affected tax receipts and employment.
  • CalPERS to sell all its stock in two gun manufacturers – The nation’s biggest public pension fund is taking a stand against gun violence by voting to sell all its investments in two firearms manufacturers: Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm, Ruger & Co. On Tuesday, the Investment Committee of the California Public Employees’ retirement System voted to sell about $5 million worth of the gun makers’ stock and other securities. Some of the two companies’ products — particularly assault weapons and cheap handguns, known as Saturday night specials — are illegal in California. They “present a significant danger to the health, safety and lives of California residents, including our members, no matter where such weapons are sold or trafficked in the United States,” read the motion approved by the CalPERS board’s Investment Committee in a 9 to 3 vote. Representatives of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger did not respond to requests for comment on the CalPERS vote.
  • California Insurance commissioner touts new plan for CA health-care regions – Saying the Legislature’s existing proposal could exacerbate rate shock, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones unveiled his own proposal Tuesday for dividing California into geographic regions for implementing federal health-care reform. Jones vowed to appear Wednesday before Senate and Assembly health committees to push his 18-region plan instead of existing legislative proposals for six regions in 2014 and 13 regions in 2015. “I believe very strongly that we should draw regions in a way that minimizes rate increases,” Jones said. Because costs of providing health care differ among communities, residents could find themselves paying higher or lower premiums based on the extent to which regions drawn by the state differ from those currently used by health insurance firms.
  • A Mighty Wind – California Flatulence Jokes
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Feb 19 2013

The California Flap: February 19, 2013

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Jerry BussJerry Buss R.I.P.

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 is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to today’s California headlines:

  • Jerry Buss dies at 80; Lakers owner brought ‘Showtime’ success to L.A. – When Jerry Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, he wanted to build a championship team. He also wanted to put on a show. The new owner gave courtside seats to movie stars. He hired pretty women to dance during timeouts. He spent freely on big stars and encouraged a fast-paced, exuberant style of play. As the Lakers sprinted to one NBA title after another, Buss cut an audacious figure in the stands, an aging playboy in bluejeans, often with a younger woman by his side.
  • California inmates renew demands – California prison inmates housed in the state’s highest-security prison have sent an open letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, threatening hunger strikes and work stoppages if the state does not limit the length of time prisoners can be held in isolation cells. The undated letter, signed by four prisoners housed in segregation at Pelican Bay State Prison, contends California prison officials failed to deliver on promises made to end a series of prison hunger strikes that involved as many as 6,500 inmates in 2011. Giving a July 8 deadline, the inmates ask for an end to indefinite holding of prisoners in Security Housing Units, where they are isolated from other inmates, denied privileges and allowed out of the cell 90 minutes a day.
  • N.J. Gov. Christie in La Jolla, Romney sons join the party – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie swooped into town last week for a fundraiser in La Jolla that drew about 50 people, including two of Mitt Romney’s sons, Matt and Craig. The robust governor alienated many Mitt Romney supporters by making nice with President Barack Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and just days before the November election. The La Jolla conclave came between a similar cash grab in Los Angeles on Monday and one in Santa Barbara on Wednesday. Christie was warmly received here with no rancor stemming from his recent coziness with the president, according to Ron Nehring, vice chair of the county GOP.
  • Battle builds over calculating California Public Employee pensions – Debate is brewing across the state over which types of pay can be counted toward a public worker’s pension — fallout from landmark changes that went into effect this year. The overhaul, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, was intended to slash swelling pension costs by raising the retirement age for new workers and increasing employee pension contributions. The sweeping revision, known as the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013, also limits what’s considered pensionable compensation. This is crucial because it’s aimed to curb pension spiking and other issues that have caused governments to bleed money. However, redefining what types of pay can be used to determine pension amounts has led to at least four legal challenges from labor groups mainly in northern California. And the state’s largest public retirement system, which includes nearly all the cities in San Diego County, has stepped in to offer its interpretation of the term.
  • California’s budget windfall could end soon, officials say – The surge of revenue that showed up unexpectedly in state coffers last month may well be offset by a revenue dip in coming months, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. The surprise money has been the source of much speculation in the Capitol. Unanticipated tax receipts filled state coffers with more than $5 billion beyond initial projections for January — more tax dollars than are allocated to the entire state university system in a year. The revenue bump was historic. But the question for budget experts was whether lawmakers could begin allocating the windfall toward government programs and tax breaks — or whether the money amounted to an accounting anomaly.
  • California Higher-Ed: Regents Deny Critics a Fair Hearing
  • Will higher taxes on the rich derail California’s economic comeback?
  • Crazifornia: Will it be Gov. Brownout? – With long-time environmentalist Gov. Jerry Brown at California’s helm, green-leaning Democrat super-majorities in both houses of the state legislature and entrenched eco-crats ruling the state’s regulatory agencies, the AES plant is certain to remain shuttered no matter what the summer may bring. The carbon crusaders simply cannot afford to allow a high-profile precedent to undercut the centerpiece of their carbon-fighting battle so early in the auction’s history. So, should brownouts and blackouts return to California this summer, remember this: It wasn’t really problems at the San Onofre nuclear power plant that caused them. It was problems in the thinking of California’s leadership.
  • Manuel Rojas, burrito maestro of El Tepeyac has passed away? – Reports on social media are saying that the proprietor of Manny’s Original El Tepeyac in Boyle Heights has died. KFI News tweeted that employees of the burrito stand on Evergreen Avenue confirmed Rojas’ death. The station notes Rojas is credited with creating the Hollenbeck Burrito: it’s made with pork verde, rice, beans and guacamole and topped with chile verde.
  • Bill would require 3-day wait before California state lawmakers act – Jamming major bills through the Legislature at the last minute with little if any time for review has been an ongoing source of frustration for some lawmakers, especially minority Republicans. The practice has been used often on budget bills, forcing lawmakers to vote on spending issues with long-term consequences without having the ability to actually read what’s in them. That would change under legislation being proposed by two lawmakers. ADVERTISEMENT The identical bills by Democratic Sen. Lois Wolk of Davis and Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto would require all legislation to be in print and online 72 hours before it comes to a vote. Both bills would be constitutional amendments and would have to be approved by the voters. To get on the ballot, SCA10 or ACA4 need a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.
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Jan 31 2013

The California Flap: January 31, 2013

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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 is here.

An important deadline to remember:

  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

Around the Capitol today:

Lawmakers are holding a press conference pledging their support for a federal immigration overhaul. Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, will be joined by Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens; Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella; Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo; Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento; and Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo. Starting at 10:30 a.m. in room 317 of the State Capitol.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Controversial school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’ – The Napa Valley Unified School District had a quandary: The district needed a new high school in American Canyon, but taxpayers appeared unwilling to take the financial hit required to build it.So in 2009, the district took out an unusual loan – $22 million with no payments due for 21 years. By 2049, when the debt is paid, it will have cost taxpayers $154 million – seven times the amount borrowed.School board member Jose Hurtado said he stands by the deal. But if it were a mortgage, he acknowledged, “we would run.”Napa is one of at least 1,350 school districts and government agencies across the nation that have turned to a controversial form of borrowing called capital appreciation bonds to finance major projects, a California Watch analysis shows. Relying on these bonds has allowed districts to borrow billions of dollars while postponing payments in some cases for decades.
  • California taxes surge in January, report says – California was flooded with tax dollars in January, according to a new report, and the state received $5 billion more revenue this month than Gov. Jerry Brown had anticipated.The Wednesday report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office shows a stark reversal for the state budget. At the end of November, tax revenue had fallen almost $1 billion short in the current fiscal year, according to figures from Brown’s Department of Finance.Now the state appears to be $5 billion ahead, which could provide further evidence for the governor’s declaration that California has emerged from its financial crisis.The analyst’s office floated three possible causes for the surge in tax revenue. The most positive theory is also the simplest — the economy has improved and there’s more income to tax.The others are less optimistic. It’s possible that wealthy residents, fearful that federal budget negotiations would increase their taxes, decided to cash out investments early. If so, that means the s…
  • PPIC Poll: Californians fear shootings, support citizenship – A new statewide poll finds Californians fearful of mass shootings and strongly in favor of more gun control, while also supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.The poll from the Public Policy Institute of California released Wednesday night also finds more optimism about the state’s economy than at anytime since 2007.”Still,” says PPIC pollster and president Mark Baldassare, “many Californians are expressing concerns about the direction of the economy and the state budget situation.”But it’s the California reaction to recent news headlines that offers an early view on what could become potent political issues during the 2013 legislative season in Sacramento and next year’s statewide elections.65 percent of those polled say the government is not doing enough to regulate access to guns, and an equal number support a nationwide ban on semi-automatic style assault weapons.
  • PPIC Poll: Californians upbeat over future, budget plan – Californians are more optimistic about the future of the state than at any time since before the recession and are giving high marks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s budgeting approach after voters approved higher taxes to help balance the state budget, according to a poll released Wednesday.The Democratic governor’s job approval rating reached a record high 51 percent in the latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, with even a slim majority of Republicans giving a thumbs-up to his recent budget proposal.The poll also found broad support for increased gun controls and changes to current immigration laws that would allow a path to citizenship. A majority support the federal health care overhaul that already is under way in California.The percentage of adults who said the state is headed in the right direction was 51 percent, the first time a majority of people said that since January 2007.
  • For millionaire athletes, states with highest tax rates may not make the cut – Is Lefty’s stance on California’s tax hikes a sign of things to come for millionaire athletes?The Golden State’s new 13.3 percent income tax on top earners prompted golfer Phil Mickelson to say earlier this month he was considering a move, and according to the accountants who advise millionaire athletes, he was just saying what a lot of jocks were already thinking. Federal taxes on the top income bracket just rose by roughly 5 percent, and, while there’s nothing rich athletes can do about that, they are paying attention to which states dip into their game checks — and how much they take.“They’re going to have an exodus of people,” said John Karaffa, president of ProSport CPA, a Virginia-based firm that represents nearly 300 professional athletes, primarily in basketball and football. “I think they’ll see some [leave California] for sure. They were already a very high tax state and it’s getting to a point where folks have to make a business decision as well as a lifestyle decision.”
  • Legislation proposed to help California launch healthcare overhaul – The state Legislature gaveled in a special session on healthcare Monday, pushing forward with sweeping proposals to help California implement President Obama’s healthcare overhaul.The measures, including a major expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s public insurance program for the poor, would cement the state’s status as the nation’s earliest and most aggressive adopter of the federal Affordable Care Act. Beginning in January 2014, the law requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.Gov. Jerry Brown called the special session so healthcare bills that he signs can take effect within 90 days rather than next year.
  • Counties express concerns about Medi-Cal expansion – As state lawmakers propose a major expansion of Medi-Cal to help California implement President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, county officials are raising concerns that the proposal could siphon critical dollars from their safety-net programs.On Monday, legislative leaders in both houses sponsored bills that would dramatically expand the state’s public insurance program. Under the proposals, individuals earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level — or $15,415 a year — would be covered, potentially adding more than 1 million Californians to the Medi-Cal rolls.The federal government would subsidize costs for the first three years, phasing down to 90% afterward.Currently, counties receive state funding to care for the uninsured. But Gov. Jerry Brown has said that if the state were to administer the Medi-Cal expansion it may reduce the roughly $2 billion it gives to counties each year to cover the new costs. In his proposed budget, the governor said the state might also shift…
  • State ordered to pay back districts $1 billion for 20-year-old mandate – A state commission has ruled that the state must reimburse school districts about $1 billion in mandated special education costs dating back 20 years. But like many protracted mandate cases, the victory is largely one of principle. Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to include a small payback in next year’s budget, and the dollars will come from funding within Proposition 98, so it will essentially involve shifting education dollars around.The unreimbursed expenses are for intervention plans for special education students identified with behavior problems. In the early 1990s the State Board of Education, under orders from the Legislature, prescribed interventions that teachers should incorporate into individual education plans, known as IEPs, according to Paul Golaszewski, an analyst with the Legislative Analyst’s Office who has followed the case.
  • L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretary – L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretaryThe departure of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood raised new questions over what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would do if he is offered the job – either now or after July 1, when his term as mayor expires. | Also: Doug McIntyre on the mayor’s next moveVillaraigosa was in South Korea for the Special Olympics and is not expected to return until Thursday.
  • Phil Mickelson’s net state income tax increase: 83.6%!!!!! – Richard Rider, the dean of the small-government/low-tax movement in San Diego County, has come up with some stunning number-crunching on his blog:“Here’s the fact that EVERYONE (including me) initially undervalued concerning [Rancho Santa Fe pro golfer Phil] Mickelson and CA state income taxes. Starting in 2013, Mickelson’s NET state income tax has jumped 83.6%! And yes, this huge increase hits most Californians making more than $2 million income.“Here’s why. Until 2013, state income taxes were deductible for federalincome tax purposes. Starting in 2013, for the really rich, this deductibility largely goes away (as does deducting property taxes and many other deductions). For people with over $2 million of income, they lose 80% of such deductions.“With Proposition 30 passed in November, CA has raised its income tax on the wealthy by 29%. The combined tax increase is breathtaking. Do the math, and you find that in 2011 the net CA income tax for Mickelson was 6.7% In 2013 his net CA income tax is 12.3% — an increase of 83.6%.”This is mind-boggling. No wonder Phil said he was contemplating “drastic changes.”
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Jan 23 2013

The California Flap: January 23, 2013

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San Diego, California

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 is here.

Some important deadlines to remember:

  • January 25, 2013: Deadline to send bill ideas to the California Legislative Counsel for drafting.
  • February 22, 2013: Deadline to introduce bills.

Each member of the Assembly and State Senate are allowed to introduce up to 40 bills in this two year legislative session.

On to the morning’s California headlines:

  • Friends remember Bob Larkin, long-time Republican and Simi Valley activist – Bob Larkin, a gregarious, small business owner, who once headed the county’s Republican Central Committee and championed Simi Valley causes has died.Larkin, who served as the committee’s chairman in the early 1990s, was a moderate Republican who was critical of the very conservative branch of the party and in return received criticism for some of his opinions, but he was unwavering in his beliefs, friends recalled on Monday.

    “He was always dedicated to what he believed in,” former U.S. Congressman Elton Gallegly, a Simi Valley Republican, said. “He clearly was involved. He was not afraid of controversy. He was not afraid or taking a controversial opinion. He wasn’t one of these guys who was out on a soap box waiving his finger at anyone. He let people know what he thought.”

    Larkin, who was in his mid 70s, died over the weekend.

  • Amazon to build huge distribution center in Tracy – Amazon said Tuesday it will employ hundreds of full-time workers at a new million-square-foot distribution center it will develop in Tracy, part of its quest to provide next-day and same-day deliveries.”It’s great to be getting these jobs,” said Michael Ammann, CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership. “This is going to be a state-of-the-art facility. It is not just going to be a few people with forklifts in a warehouse. It is going to be a very sophisticated operation for Amazon.”

    Potentially 500 or more full-time Amazon employees could work at the Tracy site.

    Amazon in late 2012 opened a center to fill customer’s orders in San Bernardino. And in the Stanislaus County city of Patterson, Amazon is building a distribution center that could employ 350 to 400, according to estimates from the governor’s office and the city of Patterson.

  • Assembly Democrat wants grocery store ban on plastic bags – Assemblyman Marc Levine announced today he will revive a proposal banning all single-use plastic bags in California grocery stores.Under the proposal, most grocery retailers could no longer provide thin plastic bags for customers starting in 2015. For 18 months, retailers could offer paper bags made of recycled materials or reusable plastic bags for customers to bag their milk, eggs and other groceries.

    Starting in July 2016, grocery retailers could only provide reusable plastic bags, which many stores already offer at a fee. The new proposal, Assembly Bill 158, also leaves room for stores to provide recycled paper bags at a charge.

    Levine, a San Rafael Democrat in his first term, argues that the proposal would save marine life because he says single-use plastic bags account for roughly 10 percent of ocean debris. Environmental groups have backed similar bills in the past.

  • Herdt: Bob Larkin rang a bell; state GOP didn’t hear – Larkin died suddenly at his Westlake Village home on Saturday, and will be remembered as a civic-minded community leader in eastern Ventura County, as a dedicated businessman who continued to serve his customers every day until his death, a good-natured friend, a loving husband and a devoted golfer.
    As for his political epitaph, it can be written in four words: “I told you so.”

    Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, who benefited from Larkin’s support and mentoring, said recent history has proved Larkin to be something of a political prophet.

==========

R.I.P.

But, Herdt has the politics wrong and I will write about it another time.

  • Proposition 8: Backers of same-sex marriage ban make arguments to Supreme Court – Supporters of California’s Proposition 8 on Tuesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, firing the first legal volley of many to come before the justices hear arguments in the historic case in late March.In an 83-page brief, Proposition 8’s defenders decried a federal appeals court’s ruling last year declaring the 2008 gay marriage ban unconstitutional. California voters had a right to define “the vital social institution of marriage” as being between a man and a woman, the Proposition 8 legal team wrote.

    “In short, there is no warrant in precedent or precept for invalidating marriage as it has existed in California for virtually all of its history, as it was universally understood throughout this nation (and the world) until just the last decade, and as it continues to be defined in the overwhelming majority of states and nations,” they declared.

  • California sees a revenue bump after tax changes – After years of budget agony, California is seeing something strange this month: a heap of excess cash.The state is poised to finish January about $4 billion ahead of what forecasters expected in income taxes, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office – the biggest one-month overage that state fiscal experts can recall in recent memory.

    California also set a single-day record Jan. 16 when the Franchise Tax Board received $2.2 billion in taxes, mostly in payments from the 6 percent of filers who pay quarterly rather than have money deducted from paychecks.

  • Glendale City Council To Consider Gun Show Ban – City council members will consider a proposal Tuesday evening that would ban gun shows at the Glendale Auditorium.The Glendale Gun Show has been held at the auditorium since 1992 and is next scheduled to take place in March.

    Last year, three gun shows were held within city limits.

    City councilman Rafi Manoukian first suggested the proposal in December after the fatal shooting of 27 children and adults in Newtown, Conn.

    The council has several options for the ban: canceling rental contacts with the Glendale Gun Show for coming events, banning all gun sales on city property, and allowing the show to operate through the rest of 2013 and then enforcing a ban.

    But not all city residents believe a gun show ban will prevent violence.

  • Honda v. Khanna: Could Silicon Valley be ground zero for 2014 House Asian-American battle royale? – Ro Khanna — the former Obama Administration trade executive and Democratic rising star with a $1.2 million warchest — may be eying a big move: a House race against Democratic South Bay incumbent Mike Honda in 2014.That would be a 2014 Democrat v. Democrat battle worth watching.

    For one thing, it would represent a generational fight — pitting a 71-year-old, longtime political veteran of Japanese ancestry against a 35-year-old emerging leader of the South Asian Indo-American community, which is booming and flexing its muscle in the South bay.

    It would be a challenge of a longtime, traditional, respected Democratic labor favorite and party leader against an up and coming Democrat with tech saavy — and big Silicon Valley ties.

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Jan 08 2013

Video: Jerry Brown is Raring to Go

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Good to hear that the California Governor’s prostate cancer treatment is finished.

I don’t know if it is good for Californians that he is “raring to go.”

Governor Brown will release his proposed budget on Thursday January 10th at 10 AM.

We will see….

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