Thousand Oaks, California
The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.
There are no floor session scheduled for today.
On to today’s California Headlines:
Gov. Jerry Brown said this morning that the Legislature should “man up” and make spending cuts, acknowledging the state budget deficit is likely larger than he previously thought.
The Democratic governor, in an interview on the Bay Area talk radio station KGO 810, said the deficit is “probably bigger now” than the $9.2 billion he estimated earlier this year.
“We’re trying to be as prudent as we can,” Brown said. “That’s why the Legislature has to man up, make the cuts, and get some taxes and we’ll make it.”
Legislative Democrats have resisted many of Brown’s proposals to reduce spending, and his demand that cuts be enacted by March fell flat.
Brown’s “man up” remark was reminiscent of when Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called legislative Democrats “girlie men” in 2004, also in a budget dispute.
“Uh-oh …” Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger’s former press secretary, said on Twitter, “sounds a lot like ‘Girly Men.'”
In the radio interview, Brown promoted his November ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California’s highest earners, but he backpedaled from his previous characterization of the initiative as a “Millionaires’ Tax.”
“I’m not calling it that,” he said.
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher received oodles of media attention when he left the Republican Party and re-registered as an independent amidst his campaign for mayor of San Diego.
And it may be paying off.
A San Diego television station reported Thursday that its poll shows Fletcher jumping from third place in the race to succeed Mayor Jerry Sanders into a solid second, just two percentage points behind City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, with Democratic Rep. Bob Filner dropping into third place.
Three years after the Tea Party started, activists in Orange County say the movement has evolved in several different directions. And not always for the better, some say.
“I attended my first Tea Party rally two years ago at the O.C. Civic Center in Santa Ana,” said Corona del Mar business owner Nancy Vanderpool, 63. “The focus was on taxation. With the advent of the health-care bill, focus began to switch gradually to the constitutionality of the bill. From there, it has become more diverse.
“Although I definitely disagree with the premise of the health bill, I believe the two separate issues have caused the fervor to die with regards to over-taxation and government spending. Maybe we need to get back to its original platform.”
She suggested the health-care bill should be framed by the Tea Party as a form of taxation that leads to bigger government.
Costa Mesa’s Tom Pollitt sees a different shift in the Tea Party – a move toward a more pragmatic, local focus – but with as much activity as ever.
“We are doing less rallies and spending more time getting involved in the local issues,” said Pollitt, 68, a Newport Mesa Tea Party member. “We cannot change national issues, but we can change what happens on a local level. We still believe in limited government, less spending, and less regulation.
“In O.C. you can go to a Tea Party event almost every night of the week on any topic from pensions, Agenda 21 to voter fraud. We are being informed, getting involved, and are inspired to get out the voters for change.”
Nearly two and a half years into California’s recovery from its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, more than 2 million state residents are officially unemployed.
Another 1 million are either underemployed–working part-time or temporary jobs when they really want full-time, permanent work–or so discouraged by the state job market that they’ve dropped out of the labor force.
Against that backdrop, the California Chamber of Commerce released this week its annual list of “job killing” legislation currently under consideration by lawmakers inS acramento. The chamber identified 23 bills, five of which particularly stood out to me.
AB 1963, by Assembly member Alyson Huber, D-Dorado Hills; and AB 2540, by Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles. The bills would impose a new tax-and-use base on a number of services. It would fall hard on the state’s small businesses that will not benefit from proposed reductions in other tax rates (which probably wouldn’t materialize anyway).
AB 1439, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, would automatically increase the state minimum wage each year by the rate of inflation, even during an economic downtown. This may appear beneficial to workers, but it really is not.
For when the minimum wage increases, it puts upward pressure on all wages. That raises overall labor costs for businesses, discouraging them from hiring new workers.
AB 1808, by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, would significantly expand the definition of “public employee” to include employees of private employers where a public agency “shares” in the employment decisions of those privately-employed workers.
The legislation is a sop to public employee unions, seeking to grow their ranks to further increase their political influence in the state capital, by recruiting in private workplaces.
Enjoy your weekend!
And, here is Dan Walters talking about California income tax collections: