Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

June 11, 2013
Jerry Brown, California legislative leaders tout budget deal

perezbudgetpresser.JPGOne day after reaching a compromise with legislative leaders on the state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday he has not agreed to consider increased spending if the economy outperforms his administration's expectations, but he did not dismiss the possibility.

Legislative Democrats had said Monday when they accepted Brown's relatively conservative revenue estimates that they could call for additional spending in January if tax revenue came in higher than anticipated.

"I haven't made any agreement," Brown told reporters at the Capitol. "Look, we have boom and bust, money comes in, money goes out. And I'm trying to be a good, prudent steward of the people's money."

"In general," he added, "I think prudence rather than exuberance should be the order of the day."

The Democratic governor appeared with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, to tout the deal days before a likely vote in both houses Friday.

"This is not only a balanced budget, but it's a real step forward," Brown said.

The budget deal includes a modified version of Brown's controversial proposal to shift more money to poor and English-learning students. The proposal was made more palatable to lawmakers by Brown's agreement to spread more money to more school districts statewide.

The agreement also includes commitments to spend money in the future on mental health services, college student aid and other programs. Brown agreed to spend far less than lawmakers hoped, however. Legislative Democrats had initially urged about $2 billion more in spending on state services and programs than Brown's figure. The $96.3 billion agreement reached Monday includes about $200 million more in discretionary, general fund spending.

"The budget not only is in balance," Steinberg said, "but it begins to provide some relief to the people who were hurt most over the last several years."

The budget agreement did not resolve Brown's proposal to eliminate the state enterprise zone program and to use the money instead for sales tax exemptions for manufacturing and biotech research companies.

Brown said today that the enterprise zone negotiation remains "out in front of us." The issue would not have to be resolved before a budget vote this week.

PHOTO: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, center, speaks to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, as Gov. Jerry Brown, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, right, look on. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

VIDEO: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento and Gov. Jerry Brown speak to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Amy Gebert

June 11, 2013
Cap-and-trade loan in state budget deal irks environmentalists

California-Greenhouse Gases(2).jpgGov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers have cleared the air by announcing a budget accord, but environmental groups are choking on a piece of the deal that would borrow half a billion dollars intended for programs to curtail greenhouse gases.

California's fledgling cap-and-trade program auctioned off its first permits in November, following through on a landmark 2006 law, and has raised about $236 million to date, according to the Air Resources Board. Those proceeds are supposed to flow into programs to reduce emissions.

But the governor wants to shift $500 million generated by the auctions into the general fund. Brown defended the move Tuesday at a news conference by saying "we don't think we're quite ready yet" to start allocating the money.

"We're the most aggressive in the western hemisphere in terms of our clean energy goals," Brown said.

That has drawn the ire of environmental groups and questions from lawmakers who worry the governor is undercutting the greenhouse gas law's intent, or at least unnecessarily delaying implementation.

June 11, 2013
Campaigns funded holiday gifts between Calderon brothers

christmas.JPGChristmas presents don't typically show up on California state disclosure forms, but they do when brothers exchange gifts using campaign funds. Such is the case with Montebello Sen. Ron Calderon, who is the subject of an FBI investigation, and his brother Charles Calderon, a former state legislator.

On Christmas Day in 2010, Charles Calderon's campaign account for his Assembly run that year gave Ron Calderon a $420 "holiday gift," according to his statement of economic interests. The $420 price tag happens to have been the state's limit on gifts to legislators that year. This year, it is $440.

On Christmas Eve in 2009, Charles Calderon's campaign for the Assembly gave Ron Calderon a $400 "holiday gift card." That gift came three days after Ron Calderon's Senate campaign account gave then Assemblyman Charles Calderon a $182.70 pair of shoes for a golf event.

State campaign finance laws exempt gifts among family members from having to be reported by state lawmakers on annual disclosure forms. That is, unless campaign funds are used.

"We looked into the gifts between the two brothers," said Gary Winuk, the enforcement division chief of the Fair Political Practices Commission. "Their claim was that the gift was to improve legislative relations between brothers, which meets the technical legal standard."

June 11, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: It's time to test the Governor's education reform theory

With Gov. Jerry Brown's education spending proposal relatively unscathed in the new budget deal, Dan says its successes and failures fall on Brown's shoulders.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

June 11, 2013
AM Alert: Ron Calderon gets back to work


The Calderon Watch is officially over, and we're not talking about screening Ian's surf videos: Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, surfaced yesterday for the first time since the FBI raided his offices, referred questions to his lawyer and vowed to get back to the daily tasks of being a lawmaker. Today that includes a 9:30 a.m. hearing of the Governmental Organization committee, on which Calderon sits.

VIDEO: Gov. Jerry Brown for the most part got what he wanted out of yesterday's budget accord, and Dan Walters says that means the governor owns the policy proposals behind it.

GUN GAMUT: The Senate Public Safety Committee is taking up a raft of gun control measures that passed the Assembly today, while the Natural Resources Committee is looking at a hotly disputed measure to ban lead ammunition when hunting wildlife. The Natural Resources committee meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. in room 112, while Public Safety is meeting in room 3191.

WOMEN'S HEALTHCARE: We've already brought you news of the multi-front campaign for a bill that would punish employers who don't pay their employees enough to keep them off of Medi-Cal. Today advocates are framing the legislation in terms of its impact on women's health, with female leaders -- among them Patty Bellasalma, president of the National Organization of Women's California chapter -- joining Women's Caucus Chair Bonnie Lowenthal, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez and California Labor Federation President Connie Leyva to push for the bill during a 10:30 a.m. press conference in room 317.

ELEVATING ELECTIONS: Is California's electoral system a source of disappointment for you? The Public Policy Institute of California will entertain some suggestions for alleviating the pain during an "Improving California's Elections" talk today that will include Fair Political Practices Commission chair Ann Ravel, California Chamber of Commerce president Allan Zaremberg, KQED reporter Scott Shafer, and Mark Baldassare and Eric McGhee of PPIC. The event, which runs from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., is in San Francisco, but you can follow it via live webcast.

TRANSPORTATION TRYST: Lawmakers who sit on transit committees will be breakfasting with members of the California Transportation Commission at the Sheraton Grand this morning, after which the commission will convene at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria on I street to weigh funding for new projects.

PHOTO: State Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, right, reacts as a reporter tries to ask him a question at the end of his brief news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday June 10, 2013. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli.


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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