Good Tuesday morning!
The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.
Vice President Joe Biden will hit California today to keynote the 40th Annual International Convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, in Los Angeles. AFSCME is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Then he’ll travel north for a fundraiser at Sacramento’s Sutter Club. Tickets for the event, to raise money for the Obama Victory Fund, start at $500.
On to today’s California headlines:
California legislators may have passed a budget, but Democratic leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown are fighting to a standoff over his proposal to restructure the state’s welfare program.
Brown is pressuring the Legislature for deeper cuts amid a projected $15.7 billion shortfall. Negotiations continued Monday with Democratic lawmakers resisting Brown’s proposal to reduce welfare spending, one of many issues still to be resolved before the state’s spending plan can be implemented.
Brown, a Democrat, wants to emphasize getting people back to work, while reducing aid for parents who aren’t meeting requirements under CalWORKS, the state’s welfare-to-work program. The governor’s office says his plan would save $880 million.
But Democrats say it’s foolish to pay for job training when there aren’t enough jobs to go around. They would rather preserve cash grants.
“It is inefficient and, quite frankly, foolish, to invest in training for jobs that don’t exist,” Assembly Speaker John Perez said last week before passing the initial budget plan.
Democrats want to extend existing cuts on county work training and child care assistance programs, but the move would save $428 million—less than half of Brown’s proposal.
Their differences on welfare remain a major sticking point as Democratic leaders seek the governor’s approval this week on bills that must be resolved before the budget can take effect.
In need of a shoe shine?
Assemblyman Das Williams is at your service.
The Santa Barbara Democrat is inviting his donors to get their footwear polished and fixed at Russo’s Shoe Repair across from the state Capitol tomorrow.
“They’re just one of those places that, I bring them a pair of shoes that looks like it’s on death’s door and they make ’em look magical,” said Williams, who is even offering to shine some himself.
An invitation touts the 5 p.m. fundraiser as a birthday celebration, but this party favor doesn’t come cheap.
Tickets to the event, which benefits Williams’ re-election bid, start at $1,000, though he says he’s letting invitees come for less.
Sydney Walker is scared. She is worried her children, who attend San Juan Unified schools, won’t be prepared for college or classes next year if state lawmakers allow school districts to cut the school year by as many as 15 days.
That could shorten the school year to 160 days – tying California with Colorado for the shortest school year, and well below the national norm of 180 days.
Walker says she knows families who would have trouble finding child care if districts cut school days.
That’s what lawmakers are counting on, according to many education experts.
They say Gov. Jerry Brown, who proposed the shortened school year, and Democratic legislators are using the issue to get California residents to vote for a tax initiative in November.
Only in Sacramento could lawmakers meet the deadline for passing a budget and still not have a spending plan.
Yet that’s where we are today after Democrats in the Legislature approved a $92 billion budget on Friday (to ensure they kept getting paid), but failed to take up the budget trailer bills necessary to actually implement the spending plan pending more negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown.
The sticking point is CalWORKs, the state’s welfare-to-work program. The governor wants more cuts. The Democrats in the Legislature don’t.
Brown has until June 27 to sign or veto the budget plan approved by the Legislature. That gives the governor and Legislature nine days to cut a deal, or else lawmakers will have to approve a new budget package. The state’s new fiscal year starts July 1.
Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he hopes to have it all wrapped up this week.
“It is certainly my goal — and I’m just, you know, one spoke on the wheel here — to get this wrapped up within several days,” he said. “That’s what I’m hopeful for. That’s what we’ll work towards and, you know, I’m relatively confident that we’ll be able to do so.”
Steinberg added: “We’re very close. We’re only a couple hundred million dollars apart. And when you consider past budgets and the gulf that existed in those negotiations long into July and August and September, this is different and I think it is better.”
Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters’ Daily video: ‘There’s a lot of waiting going on…’