California Budget

Our freak of a governor

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We all know this, but I have to say it again: Jerry Brown is one strange agent.

His State of the State address was blessedly short: Jer doesn't waste a lot of time. In fact, a few minutes in, the crowd in the state Assembly chambers was applauding for the second or third time, and he told them to stop; "this is my longest speech and we're not going to get out of here." I clocked it, applause and all, at about 16 minutes.Read more »

The downside of Jerry Brown's budget

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The guv is quite proud of his new budget: He's eliminated the chronic deficits, he's giving some more money to the schools, and he's vowing that the state will live "within its means." Which sounds like no more taxes. Read more »

How Jerry Brown got us here

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Jerry Roberts, who has long been among the best political reporters in California, has a nice, detailed piece on CalBuzz about Jerry Brown's history and legacy -- and how California got into the mess that the Guv is trying to get us out of. Read more »

Are California taxes fair?

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Let's start with an assumption that I think most sane (non-libertarian, non-right-wing-GOP) people agree on: A tax system ought to be based on ability to pay, ought to avoid as much as possible special-interest breaks and should avoid the appearance and the reality of unfairness.Read more »

The good news about the mid-year state cuts

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Well, there isn't much good news, really -- Gov. Jerry just announced another $1 billion in cuts, mostly to education and services for the disabled and poor. Check out the state's priorities: $429.6 million in cuts to education, $225 million in cuts to MediCal, In-Home Supportive Services and developmental services -- and a whopping $20 million in cuts to the prison system.Read more »

A tax break for the billionaire Fisher family

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The L.A. Times reported Oct. 6 that the Fisher family -- the heirs to right-wing power-broker Don Fisher's GAP fortune -- is set to get a $20 million tax break in the new state budget. It's astonishing, and an example of how the backroom budget process is utterly corrupt.Read more »

Holding corporations accountable for job creation claims

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Amid the ongoing state budget impasse and an election season dominated by scapegoating public employee unions for public sector fiscal problems, Sen. Leland Yee (D-SF) today introduced legislation to hold corporations that receive tax breaks accountable for the jobs they claim to create, a bill that was quietly killed earlier this year after being approved by both houses of the Legislature.

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Arnold's budget casts most vulnerable as The Expendables

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As California’s Budget Conference Committee moves forward with negotiations for the 2010 budget, Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) is promoting her movie, “Faces Behind the Governor’s Cuts,” to different Bay Area venues in an effort to send a message to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that his proposed cuts on services ignore the needs of the poor, parents who use child care facilities, and the elderly.

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The state budget isn't growing

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I heard a great show on NPR the other day about the new rules on compensation for executives whose banks got federal bailout money. The feds have cracked down (a bit), and some of those massive salaries have been cut and top bankers are now accepting much less pay, and stock that can't be sold for three years.

And guess what: More than 80 percent of these people are still hard at work at their desks, including almost all of the most senior folks. Very few have left. It puts the lie to this notion that extreme salaries are needed to attract and retail the top talent; even after those salaries have been cut by more than half, the "talent" doesn't flee.

There's a new study by the California Budget Project (PDF) that says makes the same kinds of points. Jean Ross, the director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan group, says that urban legends die hard, so she's chosen the top ten myths about the state budget and demonstrated how utterly inaccurate they are. Read more »