Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

March 22, 2012
Jerry Brown studies up

GOLETA - Here's Gov. Jerry Brown, "A" student.

In Southern California for a three-day conference on green energy and the economy, the Democratic governor has been sitting up front, drinking coffee and taking notes. His cellphone hasn't gone off once.

Brown is scheduled to speak Friday at the conference, at the posh Bacara Resort & Spa just outside Santa Barbara. Nibbling on a cookie during a break this afternoon, he was not inclined to provide a preview.

"There's no news," Brown said. "This is my study."

First lady Anne Gust Brown came by a few moments later, and they headed into an auditorium for another round of sessions. Inside, the governor stopped for a few minutes to talk to T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oil executive.

March 22, 2012
Senate Democrats' fundraiser gets pricier for top donors this year

The price of access is going up for top donors attending this weekend's Pro Tem Cup at San Diego's Torrey Pines Golf Course, an annual golf outing held to raise cash for the California Democratic Party.

Contributors looking to spend some quality time with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg this weekend can expect to pay up to $60,000 -- a $10,000 increase from recent outings, according to this year's invite and event listings from 2011 and 2008.

The top "Two Day Platinum" price includes golf for four on Friday and Saturday, an evening with Steinberg, two nights accommodation, attendance at an awards BBQ and "commemorative gifts," according to an invitation. The "Two Day Gold," which includes the same access for two people, spiked $5,000, to $45,000 this year.

Prices for the cheaper packages, which start at $10,000 for golf for one on Saturday, one night's stay, the awards BBQ and gifts, remained steady. Spa packages are available for interested parties who don't want to golf.

The increased ticket price comes as Senate Democrats prepare for major battles in several swing districts where victory could mean securing a two-thirds majority in the upper house. Those targeted races, including the Stockton-area 5th Senate District, are expected to be costly battles.

The fundraiser, which starts tomorrow, is sponsored by cable industry interests, including the California Cable & Telecommunications Association, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Jason Kinney, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats, declined to comment on details of the fundraiser, including package prices, ahead of the event.

March 22, 2012
States saw revenue surge last year, but not California

As the nation's economy recovered, albeit slowly, from recession last year, most states saw a surge of revenues - but not California, a new Census Bureau data dump indicates.

Nationally, state government revenues rose 3.5 percent to $183.8 billion during the fourth quarter of 2011 over the same period of 2010, the Census Bureau report said, but in California, they dropped 8.2 percent to $25.6 billion.

But there may be less import than those numbers would indicate. Temporary income and sales tax increases enacted by the Legislature in 2009 were still in effect in 2010, but had expired by late last year, which largely explains the sharp declines in revenues from those two sources.

Fourth-quarter California income tax revenues last year were $11.3 billion, the Census Bureau report said, down from $12.2 billion in 2010, while sales taxes dropped from $8.1 billion to $7.5 billion.

Gov. Jerry Brown tried to get the temporary taxes extended, but Republican legislators refused to support his plan. He's now pushing a November ballot measure that would raise sales taxes by a quarter-cent and sharply boost income taxes on high-income Californians. He says it would raise about $9 billion a year but the Legislature's budget analyst says that number is likely too high.

March 22, 2012
AM Alert: Play along with our electoral college map

DAN WALTERS DAILY: In his video report, Dan points out the irony of Gov. Jerry Brown vetoing that signature gathering bill last year.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is having quite a week in the Capitol. On Monday, she spoke to lawmakers to ask for money and defend her administration of the courts.

Today, the Sacramento native will participate in the inaugural event for She Shares, a series of conversations with what organizers call "female trailblazers, who, through their leadership have created a lasting impact on women in California and beyond."

Moderated by Karen Breslau of the Dewey Square Group, the luncheon with Cantil-Sakauye will include six students representing schools the chief justice attended: McClatchy High School, Sacramento City College and UC Davis Law School.

Find more info on the She Shares Facebook page.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Bipartisan birthdays today. Democrat Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles is 39. Republican Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres turns 43.

After Illinois, are you ready to calculate how the electoral college vote will go in November's presidential election? Predict the vote with The Bee's interactive map.

March 22, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: The irony of politics

VIDEO: Today Dan points out the irony of Gov. Jerry Brown vetoing that signature gathering bill last year.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

Read Dan Walters' columns here.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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