The downside of Jerry Brown's budget

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Tom Ammiano's not thrilled with the guv's plan

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. And gee, just about everyone in Sacramento is singing Kumbaya; the praise is coming not just from Democrats but from Republicans.

But there's a downside to the Brown budget: He has, to his credit, stopped the red ink, and he's presenting things in a brilliant way that makes him look like the grownup the state has needed for many years -- but he's doing very little to replace the the money that services for the poor have lost in the past five years.

"At first blush, it has some good things," Assemblymember Tom Ammiano told me. "But I don't see restoration of the cuts for the disenfranchised."

Ammiano is calling for closing Prop. 13 loopholes and passing an oil severance tax as part of the budget process. And with Democrats holding a two-thirds majority in both houses, those kinds of changes are possible. At the very least, it seems, the progressives ought to demand from Brown a plan to backfill what social service providers have lost. If it can't all happen this year, it ought to be part of the future budget process.

State Sen. Mark Leno, who chairs the Senate Budget Commitee, was a bit more politic than Ammiano, but he also is concerned that the budget move the state forward:

“With the improvement of our fiscal outlook comes the opportunity to continue our work to restore California. While our recent efforts have focused largely on making cuts in the least harmful manner possible, we will now have more capacity to refine our work to improve essential programs and analyze the role of government and its effectiveness. I look forward to working with Governor Brown and my colleagues in the Legislature to evaluate this year’s budget to help ensure it is the best possible plan for a state on the mend.”

On the mend is right -- because the state of California is in way worse shape than it was when Arnold Schwarzenegger took over and screwed things up, and the goal shoudn't be to keep at a steady state that's unacceptable. It ought to be returning California to its role as a leader in progressive policy. Sorry, Jerry: A balanced budget alone isn't good enough.

Oh, and Californians United for a Reponsible Budget, which seeks to cut prison spending, points out that this budget is hardly tough on the bloated corrections budget:

The administration has deserted plans to shrink California’s over-sized prison population, ignoring clear messages from voters. The proposed budget increases prison spending $250 million including a $52 million General Fund increase, bringing the total Corrections budget over $11 billion. Despite the passage of Prop. 36 and continuing realignment,  It also projects an increase in the prison population by 2,262 people over the 2012 Budget Act projections. ”If the Governor believes that ‘we can’t pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration’ then why is he increasing spending on Corrections, planning for more prisoners rather than fewer and defying the demands of the Federal Court and the voters to further shrink the prison system?” asked Diana Zuñiga, Field Organizer for Californians United for a Responsible Budget.

It's no surprise that the prison guards' union is happy.

UPDATE: An analysis by Ammiano's office shows a few other lowlights of the budget: It reduced AIDS Drug Assistance Program money by $16.9 million. It doesn't restore any of the deep cuts to the state's Welfare to Work Program. It cuts community college funding by tying state money to student completion, not student enrollment. It offers no additional funding for child care programs. It caps the number of courses students are allowed to take if they want to receive Cal Grants.

The Leg needs to take a hard look at this before it signs off on all these cuts.

Comments

ammaino has no excuses anymore. he has one term left, he has to do something of substance before he leaves. he and other SF democrats used the "no 2/3rds majority rule" as an excuse for going along with arnold's budgets and for doing basically nothing but sit on their overpaid backsides.

time to grow up ad do something, Tom. Otherwise, resign now, and let someone who wants to do something with this 2/3rds majority to get something done on the things you claim you're all about. You too, Sens Mark and (ghost district) Yee and the lot of you.

otherwise, SHUT UP and stop taking my money.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 10, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

Not a Peter Pan like you.

the voters didn't vote to reverse the cuts. They voted to make no more cuts and therefore to riase just enough revenue to make that possible.

This is not a mandate to go back to the bad ol' out-of-control spending days.

Posted by guest on Jan. 10, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

Hear that Jerry Brown? Why are you not listening to Tim Redmond and Tom Ammiano because they've got the voter's money burning a hole in their pockets and they want to spend, spend, SPEND!!

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Posted by essays on Jan. 10, 2013 @ 4:30 pm
Posted by Anon on Jan. 10, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

Michael J. Mishak of the Los Angeles Times would have you believe, "Gov. Jerry Brown commits to major Medi-Cal expansion" and Chris Megerian of the Los Angeles Times would have you believe, "Gov. Jerry Brown envisions budget without more steep cuts"!

Now, either Michael J. Mishak & Chris Megerian have failed to conduct the necessary research with regards to Gov. Jerry Brown proposed budget or they are a paid snake oil man and paid snake oil woman for Douglas H. Bosco & wife, retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gayle Guynup.

According to family members of Douglas H. Bosco & wife, retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gayle Guynup, they have had concocted plans for an “Austerity Budget” to be proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown to pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration.

According to family members of Douglas H. Bosco & wife, retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gayle Guynup, they have had concocted plans for cuts to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs; plans to cut Community College funding; and plans to cap the number of courses students are allowed to take if they want to receive Cal Grants!

Gov. Jerry Brown said, ‘we can’t pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration’ so why do Gov. Jerry Brown, Sup. Scott Wiener, and Sen. Mark Leno have budget plans to pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration?

FACTS

The downside of Jerry Brown's budget
http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2013/01/10/downside-jerry-browns-budget

FICTION

Gov. Jerry Brown commits to major Medi-Cal expansion
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2013/01/gov-jerry-br...

Brown envisions budget without more steep cuts
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2013/01/california-b...

Posted by "N" on Jan. 10, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

Michael J. Mishak of the Los Angeles Times would have you believe, "Gov. Jerry Brown commits to major Medi-Cal expansion" and Chris Megerian of the Los Angeles Times would have you believe, "Gov. Jerry Brown envisions budget without more steep cuts"!

Now, either Michael J. Mishak & Chris Megerian have failed to conduct the necessary research with regards to Gov. Jerry Brown proposed budget or they are a paid snake oil man and paid snake oil woman for Douglas H. Bosco & wife, retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gayle Guynup.

According to family members of Douglas H. Bosco & wife, retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gayle Guynup, they have had concocted plans for an “Austerity Budget” to be proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown to pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration.

According to family members of Douglas H. Bosco & wife, retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gayle Guynup, they have had concocted plans for cuts to AIDS Drug Assistance Programs; plans to cut Community College funding; and plans to cap the number of courses students are allowed to take if they want to receive Cal Grants!

Gov. Jerry Brown said, ‘we can’t pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration’ so why do Gov. Jerry Brown, Sup. Scott Wiener, and Sen. Mark Leno have budget plans to pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration?

FACTS

The downside of Jerry Brown's budget
http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2013/01/10/downside-jerry-browns-budget

FICTION

Gov. Jerry Brown commits to major Medi-Cal expansion
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2013/01/gov-jerry-br...

Brown envisions budget without more steep cuts
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2013/01/california-b...

Posted by Guest on Jan. 10, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

Did Ammiano's eyes suck back into his skull? Do they burst back out of the sockets when he sees poor people?

Posted by Chromefields on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 7:59 am

their private lives, they find them repugnant and studiously avoid them.

White liberals have perfected that schism - cognitive dissonance. The poor are used to acquire, maintain and project power, but you don't actually have to do anything to help them other than give the odd preening, fawning, sycophantic speech.

Posted by anon on Jan. 11, 2013 @ 8:25 am