May 27, 2010 (Sacramento) – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senate and Assembly Democratic leaders have proposed three separate budgets with drastically different approaches to closing a $20 billion gap. Should California completely eliminate safety nets for children, poor families and the elderly?
That's what the Governor has proposed -- and what Republican leaders in both houses support. Or should corporate tax breaks be delayed to help balance the budget, as Senate Democrats propose? Or should a compromise measure from Senate Assembly leaders, that includes both cuts and a tax on oil companies, plus outsourcing management of bottle bill revenues, be considered?
Those are among the touch choices facing state legislators.
Nothing but the Truth!
May 20, 2010 (San Diego) -- The Annual California Budget Mess has started -again! Arnold "Terminator" Swartzenegger has proposed a budget which guts welfare, healthcare. and schools, and aid to the mentally ill. Swartzenegger refuses to tax Big Oil, while California Republicans continue to block a Democratic budget reform which might actually tax businesses. A 10% oil severance tax, which California refuses (unlike all other US states), would easily pay for many of these cuts in state service.
California has been unable to pass a budget for years, thanks to a "Minority Rules" quirk in the State Constitution. Under current rules, a small minority of Republicans is able to block a budget which needs a 2/3 vote to pass new taxes or reform the Governor's Budget.
California is the Only Top Ten Producing State Without a Tax
Texas Taxes = $14.33/barrel; California only gets $4.22/barrel
May 17,2010 (Sacramento) – Last week, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released an updated California Budget with massive cuts in services, Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) called on the Governor to support his Assembly Bill 1604, the Oil Industry Fair Share Act. The bill would create an 10 percent oil severance tax on each barrel of oil produced in California and generate over $1.5 billion in revenues to fund public safety, education, human services, and other vital programs.
“At a time when classrooms are becoming more crowded, when more and more people are losing their health insurance due to unemployment, and numerous programs affecting seniors, and the disabled are facing increased cuts, we cannot allow the oil industry to get a free ride in California,” said Nava, who is also a candidate for Attorney General. “These resources belong to the people of California and therefore should be used for the benefit of all our hardworking families.”
GOVERNOR PROPOSES TERMINATION OF WELFARE-TO-WORK AND DRASTIC CUTS IN SERVICES FOR SENIORS, DISABLED, & CHILDREN
Majority Vote Budget Initiative qualifies for ballot
How would you balance the budget? Take the Next10 budget challenge
By Miriam Raftery
May 14, 2010 (Sacramento) – Facing a budget deficit of over $20 billion, today Governor Schwarzenegger proposed deep new budget cuts. The Governor proposes the complete elimination of the CAL-Works program (which will impact over 80,000 low-income parents and their children in San Diego County), slash in-home care for seniors and the disabled (including 23,000 seniors and disabled persons in San Diego County), and sharply cut funds for the Healthy Families program, among other drastic measures.
Hoping to end budget gridlock, teachers, firefighters and nurses last week joined together to submit more than 1.1 million signatures and qualify a Majority Vote Budget Initiative for the November 2, 2010 election. “Late budgets hurt all Californians and the budget crisis is continuing to be the top issue in the state,” said Kay McVay, President Emeritus of the California Nurses Association, “This initiative will not end all of the gridlock, but it is a step in the right direction.”
Bills’ supporters say budget shortfalls will hurt economy, lead to crowded schools and disintegration of safety-net
May 10, 2010 (Sacramento) -- Legislators held a State Capitol News Conference to announce the introduction of a package of bills to close “fat cat tax” loopholes.
“California’s hard working families are getting ripped off by corporate tax loopholes,“ said Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara). “At a time when classrooms are getting more crowded, when more and more people are losing their health insurance due to unemployment, and numerous programs affecting seniors, and the disabled are facing cuts, we cannot afford these giveaways to big business.”
COURT OKS STATE TO RAID LOCAL REDEVELOPMENT FUNDS TO BALANCE BUDGET & HELP SCHOOLS; DECISION IRES SOME OFFICIALS
May 6, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – A Sacramento County Superior Court ruled last week in favor of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to raid more than $2 billion from local redevelopment funds. The Governor wants to transfer those monies to school operations.
“La Mesa will take a hit of $1,200,000.00,” La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid told East County Magazine in an e-mail.
January 28, 2008 (El Cajon) – “Tonight is a most difficult meeting,” GUHSD Superintendent Bob Collins told those present this evening at a special governing board budget workshop. Citing funding cuts from the state plaguing school districts throughout the state, he warned of a growing budget gap.
“The current district surplus will be fully consumed in solving this crisis—and it will not be enough.” He predicted, “It will be gone by the end of the year—and things are going to get worse.”
CALIFORNIA’S FIREFIGHTING CAPACITY IS STRESSED AND FIREFIGHTERS STRETCHED THIN BY BUDGET CUTS, FIRE CHIEFS WARN LEGISLATIVE PANEL IN SAN DIEGO
State Fire Experts Urge Adoption of Emergency Response Initiative (ERI)
By Miriam Raftery
September 23, 2009 (San Diego) - With major wildfires burning in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and red flag warnings locally due to high fire danger, State Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) chaired a joint legislative committee hearing on emergency management in San Diego today. Fire chiefs and legislators presented grim warnings that California’s fire and emergency preparedness has been stretched too thin by budget cuts, placing area residents in jeopardy. Here are a few samples of the dire concerns raised:
”It’s October. The winds are kicking up, and we are really challenged…There are blackouts, brownouts, and reduced strike teams.“ – San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarmon
“Our members, they’ve all said that constraints of the budgets at state and county levels are wearing our firefighters out.” – Lou Paulson, President, California Professional Firefighers
“The system is stressed…There is zero margin for error…50 engines have dropped off the grid since the Cedar Fire…San Francisco ran out of engines. There are brownouts and blackouts at fire districts around the state…We handled the Station Fire in Los Angeles because it was the only fire…Heaven forbid if we had had three or four fires in Southern California and they were wind-driven.” – Chief Sheldon Gilbert, Co-Chair, Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force and Fire Chief, Alameda County
“Our fire prevention budget is shamefully low..Firefighting costs have increased 100% in the last five years…I want to see more put in at the front end.” – Senator Christine Kehoe
September 1, 2009 (Sacramento) – Residents, business owners, charities and other organizations from around the state flooded the office of Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) with over 1,500 letters in support of AB 1506. The bill, authored by Anderson, would require California to accept its own IOUs as payment for taxes or fees owed to the state.
Thursday, the bill passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee by a unanimous vote. It now heads to the Assembly floor, where it is virtually assured of passage with 45 bipartisan coauthors –a majority of Assembly members.
By Miriam Raftery,, Voter's Watchdog columnist
August 4, 2009 (San Diego) – An overflow crowd packed the Mission Valley Library on Saturday, August 1st, when Common Cause hosted a town hall meeting to discuss overhauling the state’s constitution. The government reform group is hosting a series of townhalls throughout California, joining a diverse coalition calling for change in our legislative process. One business-led group revealed plans to put initiatives on next year’s ballot to convene a state Constitutional Convention and rewrite the rules on how we make our laws.
“We believe California’s system of government is fundamentally broken,” Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, said in a statement published the group’s website. The Council represents 275 of the Bay Area’s largest employers ranging from Google to major oil companies, foundations and educational institutions.
BUDGET PASSED - ”BUT CALIFORNIA'S FINANCIAL SITUATION REMAINS "PRECARIOUS"; STATE REPUBLICANS BLOCK REELECTION FUNDS FOR GOP MEMBERS WHO VOTED FOR TAX HIKES
By Miriam Raftery
February 23, 2009 (Sacramento)--Ending months of deadlock, the California Legislature has approved a compromise budget which Governor Schwarzenegger has signed. The budget includes $12.8 billion in tax increases and $15.1 billion in spending cuts, including deep cuts to education funding and social services. But the Los Angeles Times reported, “California remains in a precarious financial situation. If, by April, the state does not secure about $2 billion more in federal aid than it now expects to receive, deeper cuts will automatically kick in because of provisions in the budget.” Those cuts would include 4% reductions in welfare grants, 2.3% cuts to the blind and disabled, wage caps for in-home aides to the ill and reductions for colleges and universities.