Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

December 6, 2012
California State University applications keep going up

For the fourth year in a row, the California State University has received a record number of applications.

During the application period that ended Nov. 30, nearly 295,000 students applied for fall admission to at least one school in the 23-campus system, CSU officials reported today. That was an increase of 10 percent from last year.

Freshmen applications were up to 173,985 from 166,028, while transfer applications grew to 108,726 from 92,806. Officials attribute the increase in transfer applications to limits they put on transfer admissions this year because of an uncertain budget situation before voters decided on tax increases in the November election.

"Every CSU campus received more applications from first time freshmen and transfer applicants than last year," said a statement from the CSU Chancellor's Office.

University of California officials plan to release application data for their system in January.

December 6, 2012
California budget spends less than U.S. average on education

Education may be the largest single segment of California's budget, but the state proportionately spends less of its money on elementary and high schools and colleges than the national average, according to a new Census Bureau report.

The statistic is gleaned from the bureau's annual report on state government finances, the latest of which covers 2011.

The report tallies California's "general expenditures" last year at just under $225 billion -- spending from both the state's own taxes and other resources as well as $64.5 billion in federal funds. Education is almost $75 billion of that, according to the report -- or exactly one-third, somewhat below the national average of 35.8 percent.

California's level of education spending in 2011 was fractionally lower than in 2010. Other states ranged from a high of 46.6 percent in Georgia to a low of 24.9 percent in Alaska.

December 6, 2012
Assemblyman wants Prop. 13 change for commercial property

BB AMMIANO 027.jpgDemocratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said Thursday he will try to rewrite state tax laws that he believes allow businesses to avoid higher taxes when commercial property changes hands.

Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 California tax change, limits annual tax increases on both commercial and residential properties at 2 percent each year after a sale takes place. When property is sold, the new owner typically pays property taxes based on the new market value.

But Ammiano, D-San Francisco, believes businesses are structuring property transactions specifically to avoid triggering reassessment at the sales price. The technique involves ensuring that the new ownership consists of partners, not one of which owns more than a 50 percent stake.

Ammiano is not pursuing a voter amendment that would change Proposition 13 in the state constitution. Instead, he wants to write new laws that prevent businesses from avoiding reassessment in such a manner.

December 6, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Californians more optimistic

Dan says a new survey shows Californians are more optimistic, but there's still a long way to go.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

December 6, 2012
AM Alert: PPIC poll finds support for 'split-roll' property tax

VIDEO: Dan Walters says the state has a way to go to achieve its trademark optimism.

Stop the presses: Proposition 13 is still popular, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California poll.

But 58 percent of likely voters surveyed support changing it to allow for what's called a "split roll" property tax in which commercial properties are assessed at their current market value. Two-thirds of Democrats and 58 percent of independents favor such a move, but Republicans are divided on the issue, with 47 percent for it and 48 percent against it.

Mark Baldassare, PPIC's president and its survey director, joins policy associate Jui Shrestha at a luncheon today to discuss the results of the wide-ranging survey, which you can read at this link.

The event runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramento, 1017 11th St. Click here for more information and to register in advance. Lunch will be provided at no charge.

Also in Sacramento, state schools chief Tom Torlakson gives welcoming remarks at a UC Berkeley symposium on K-12 schools and sustainable communities. Click here for the agenda of the all-day event, which starts at 10 a.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St.

Tonight, the group California Women Lead hosts a panel discussion at the University of Southern California's Sacramento Center about women's impact on politics. Panelists include Beth Miller of Miller Public Affairs, Karen Skelton of Skelton Strategies, and Dan Schnur, director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. The group's executive director, Rachel Michelin, will moderate. It's too late to register, but you can read more at this link.

CAPITOL STEPS: Members of the group Intactivist protest the practice of infant circumcision. They plan to gather on the west steps of the Capitol at 11 a.m.

HOLIDAY MUSIC: It's that time again. The American River Chorus performs at the Capitol rotunda at 11 a.m., followed by the Davis High School Advanced Treble Choir at noon. Click here for the full schedule.


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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