Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

January 9, 2014
Rainy-day proposal pulls back from 2010 California budget deal

michael_cohen_blog.jpgThe proposed rainy-day fund that is a central part of Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan would scrap some of the provisions in a measure already on the November ballot.

That measure, ACA 4, was part of a 2010 budget deal between Democrats, Republicans and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and was originally scheduled to go before voters in 2012. But lawmakers that year moved the initiative to 2014, and unions and some advocates for programs for low-income residents have voiced concerns that the proposed fund is too strict.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Brown said the details of his proposed rainy-day fund remain to be worked out. But he said it would ease boom-and-bust budget cycles, while providing more flexibility than ACA 4.

"The reason for that rainy day fund is the volatility. With that zig-zag, up and down, in capital gains and spending, the only way to offset that is to have money in reserve, and that's what I intend to do," Brown said.

"The measure will be on the ballot, unless it's changed. And so I think that provides a lot of incentive to come up with some better alternatives," he added.

School and other budget interests reacted cautiously to the governor's proposed reserve.

"What's better, parking money or using it for one-time purposes?" said Dennis Meyers, assistant executive director for governmental relations of the California School Boards Association, one of the members of the influential Education Coalition that includes the California Teachers Association.

"There are just a lot of needs. You just have to weigh those needs versus softening the funding swings," Meyers said.

Replacing ACA 4 on the ballot with Brown's plan would require a two-thirds vote. Democrats have slim two-thirds majorities. Republicans, meanwhile, said they would oppose anything they deem weaker than ACA 4.

"We await details on the proposal announced today. However if it is stronger than Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 — which will be on the ballot in November - then we'd be happy to take it under consideration," Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, said in a statement.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who voted for ACA 4 to help end a three-month budget standoff, on Thursday called the measure "flawed, and flawed significantly."

"I think the governor's proposal will undoubtedly be better, but we have to analyze it," Steinberg said.

Under ACA 4, the state would divert money into a rainy-day reserve based on 20 years of historical revenue. The money would be off-limits except after earthquakes and other emergencies and when revenue comes in less than expenses for the previous year.

Brown's proposal includes three main differences from ACA 4:

  • The proposed reserve would collect capital-gains revenue that exceeds 6.5 percent of the general fund.
  • It would create a special pot within the reserve for the state's constitutional school-funding guarantee, Prop. 98. "Instead of immediately allocating it to schools, some of that money gets allocated into a reserve, so that when Prop. 98 drops...that money can get allocated from that account," the Department of Finance's Nick Schweizer said.
  • Lastly, it would allow lawmakers to tap the fund to pay down state debts. "What we've done to date and what we want to continue to do is balance saving money for the future as well as chipping away at all of these huge liabilities," Finance Director Michael Cohen said.

PHOTO: Michael Cohen, director of the California Department of Finance, testifies to the Senate budget committee in 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

January 9, 2014
Latino caucus wants DMV to move faster on immigrant driver's licenses

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Lawmakers in California's Latino Caucus are pressuring the Department of Motor Vehicles to speed up its process for issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Assembly Bill 60, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year, allows immigrants who are in the United States illegally to obtain a California driver's license. It calls for the new licenses to be available by Jan. 1, 2015, or "an earlier date as determined by the Director of the DMV," says a statement the California Latino Legislative Caucus sent to the media today.

"In light of the urgent need for driver's licenses, we respectfully request that you expedite the development of regulations and commence accepting applications for licenses as soon as possible," says the letter from the Latino Caucus to Jean Shiomoto, DMV director.

"We understand that a program of this magnitude presents technical and staffing challenges as more than one million new individuals will be eligible for drivers's licenses. Nevertheless, with the support of community groups and local government s across the state we have full confidence that the Department of Motor Vehicles will be able to accelerate the process by several months," says the letter signed by Latino Caucus chairman Sen. Ricardo Lara and the two dozen state senators and assembly members who make up the group.

The 2014-15 budget proposal Brown released Thursday allocates $64.7 million for the DMV to set up the immigrant driver's license program, including costs for staff and temporary field offices.

PHOTO: The DMV office on La Mancha Way in Sacramento, shown in June 2007. The Sacramento Bee/ Randall Benton

January 9, 2014
VIDEO: Jerry Brown proceeds with caution in new budget

Reporter David Siders shares the highlights of Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal.

January 9, 2014
Fun with numbers - details of Jerry Brown's proposed budget

Brownbudget.pngIt's time for some fun with numbers -- state budget numbers -- as found in the summary of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed 2014-15 budget:

-- Brown's proposed budget for 2014-15 is about 15 times as large as the first one he managed for the 1975-76 fiscal year.

-- The governor pegs the total 2014-15 budget of the general fund, special funds and bond funds at $154.9 billion, but the real number is well over $200 billion, when federal funds are included. That's the equivalent of more than 10 percent of California's entire economic output.

-- Most of the federal money underwrites health and welfare services and K-12 education. The "health and human services" budget, for instance, is $118 billion, but the state's general fund would contribute only $28.8 billion of that total, with most of the rest coming from the feds.

-- Spending on elementary and high schools would top $76 billion, with $45.3 billion from the general fund, another $16 billion from local property taxes and the final $15 billion mostly from the federal government. That translates into $12,833 for each of the state's six million K-12 students.

-- During the 2007-8 fiscal year, the state pumped $3.3 billion of general fund money into the University of California's $12 billion general purpose spending, but during 2014-15, the state's contribution would be $2.8 billion while revenue from tuition and student fees would have climbed from $6.6 billion in 2007-08 to $12.2 billion in 2014-15.

-- During that same period, the state's share of running the state university and college system would shrink less dramatically, from $3 billion to $2.5 billion while student fees would increase from $2.8 billion to $5.5 billion.

-- Although the state's prison population has dropped by about 30,000 inmates in recent years, thanks to pressure from federal judges about overcrowding, the state's spending on "corrections and rehabilitation" hasn't shrunk and, in fact, appears to have grown.

The 2014-15 budget pegs corrections at just under $12 billion, including sales taxes that the state gives counties to handle felons that have been diverted into local jails and supervision under "realignment." Spending on inmate health and dental care alone - another source of federal judicial pressure - has risen from an average of $7,580 per inmate in 2005-06 to a projected $18,415 in 2014-15.

-- During Brown's first stint as governor nearly four decades ago, the sales tax was the No. 1 generator of general fund revenues at 41 percent in 1975-76, with income taxes trailing at 34 percent. The 2014-15 budget projects income taxes to be almost 66 percent of the state's revenues and sales taxes just 23 percent.

--The proposed budget, if enacted, would spend the equivalent of 8.17 percent of Californians' personal incomes, by no means the highest level, but also not the lowest, since 1950, according to a chart in the budget.

The highest relative level of spending, 8.83 percent, occurred during the 1980-81 fiscal year, when Brown was serving his first stint as governor, and again in 2007-08 during Arnold Schwarzenegger's governorship. The lowest level, 4.62 percent, occurred in 1951-52, when Earl Warren was governor. Since 1975, the lowest has been 7.28 percent in 1983-84. the first budget for then-Gov. George Deukmejian.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. to include more historic data.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown presents his proposed budget at the state Capitol on Jan. 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Alexei Koseff


January 9, 2014
Brown says cap-and-trade money for high-speed rail 'very appropriate'

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Calling his high-speed rail project consistent with California's history as "a generator of dreams and great initiatives," Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday defended his decision to shore up the project's shaky finances with money from the state's cap-and-trade fund.

"The alternative would be not to spend the money, and you do need that money, and we're going to spend it," Brown said. "No one's talking about the Marshall Plan or putting a man on the moon or the transcontinental railroad," he added.

Legal challenges have beset the project, throwing into question the fate of billions in voter-approved bond money. But the cap-and-trade money Brown proposes to use would not face any spending restrictions, according to a spokesman for the California State Transportation Agency.

With California's market for carbon-emissions permits generating hundreds of millions of dollars, Brown has proposed diverting some of the proceeds to high-speed rail. His budget calls for a combined $300 million to be spent on high-speed rail and on the California Department of Transportation.

The plan has been buffeted from all sides. Environmentalists wonder if it is an appropriate use of money set aside to cut California's overall carbon emissions level, while critics of high-speed rail see Brown attempting to prop up an expensive boondoggle.

Brown called the move an effective way to reduce emissions by investing in transportation infrastructure, saying California's already overburdened roadways will not be able to accommodate projected population growth.

"The high-speed rail is a reducer of greenhouse gases, an enhancement of the quality of California life and a bringing together of our various" communities around the state, Brown said. Given expectations that the state's population will grow by millions of residents, he said, "we need alternatives."

A Sacramento Superior Court judge cast serious doubt on the $68 billion bullet train's financial underpinnings in November, ordering the state to withdraw its original funding plan and declining to authorize an $8 billion bond sale.

At the same time, Judge Michael P. Kenny did not halt the state's plan to spend $3.4 billion in federal money on an initial segment in the Central Valley.

Opponents of high-speed rail have trumpeted the rulings as a decisive blow, while officials with the California Department of Transportation have said the project will proceed.

PHOTO: A view of a high speed train moving through a wind farm in the proposed high speed rail network. Rendering by Newlands and Company Inc.

January 9, 2014
Torlakson: Proposition 30 tax increases should be extended

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By Diana Lambert
dlambert@sacbee.com

As California begins to see budget surpluses in the wake of a 2012 statewide tax increase, state schools chief Tom Torlakson is already calling for an extension of Proposition 30 beyond its full expiration in 2018.

The initiative imposed an income tax increase on the state's highest earners through 2018 and a sales tax hike by a quarter-cent on the dollar through 2016.

"We need to renew Prop. 30," Torlakson, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, said Wednesday night at a coffee meeting with local PTA leaders in a Sacramento home.

The tax initiative, along with a robust stock market and strong technology sector, has generated stronger revenues than state leaders anticipated. Under the state constitution, a significant share of those dollars must go toward K-12 schools, which suffered deep cuts during the recession.

Torlakson's remarks came just as reporters obtained Brown's budget proposal, which calls for spending $6.3 billion more on K-12 schools and community colleges in 2014-15 beyond what had been dedicated for this school year. Much of that new money will go toward low-income students and English-language learners.

The governor also wants to use $6.4 billion to reverse past accounting maneuvers that forced districts to borrow or cut spending.

Brown has proposed giving California State University and University of California a 4.2 percent bump, though the two systems are seeking a 10 percent increase.

Photo: Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, meets with parents to talk about Common Core Standards and concerns in education on Wednesday night, January 8, 2014 in South Land Park. The Sacramento Bee/Jose Luis Villegas

January 9, 2014
Brown's blueprint reflects 12 percent hike in pre-recession spending

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California budgets became a thicket of funding shifts, loans and other fiscal maneuvers after the recession gutted the state's tax revenue. Overall, though, state spending would be up 12 percent from pre-recession levels under Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget.

This week's plan includes about $154.9 billion in total spending in 2014-15, which reflects expenditures paid by the general fund ($106.8 billion), special funds (almost $44 billion) and bond money ($4.2 billion.)

In the 2007-08 plan passed by lawmakers before the recession hit, total spending was about $138 billion — $103 billion general fund, $26.7 billion special funds, and $8.4 billion bond funds.

The chart below shows total spending by fiscal year since 2007-08, with sharp drops during the deepest part of the recession.

Source: California budget summaries

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on Jan. 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

January 9, 2014
Jerry Brown's budget leak excites some, disappoints others

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The news media rejoiced when digital copies of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed spending plan leaked Wednesday afternoon, pushing up the governor's presentation by 24 hours.

The Sacramento Bee obtained a copy and offered this early post.

Not everyone was convenienced by the circumstances. Brown's press shop scrambled to reschedule events in Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles. And Michael Cohen, Brown's new finance director, was hit with some unexpected news.

Cohen's parents had booked a flight for Thursday, and couldn't move it back a day to see their son preside over his first state budget as the governor's chief fiscal policy adviser.

Cohen was appointed to the job in September, taking over for Ana Matosantos.

Brown's spokesman, Evan Westrup, had this to say about the leak: "I think it speaks for itself but regardless we're ready to roll."

As for where the leak came from?

"That's a good question," he said. "If you find out let us know."

PHOTO: Finance Director Michael Cohen testifies before the Senate budget committee at the Capitol on Jan. 13, 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

January 9, 2014
State school board seeks compromise on spending rules

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The state Board of Education appears to be playing King Solomon — splitting the baby — as it contends with competing demands on how to implement the state's new program of giving extra money to school districts with large numbers of poor and/or English-learner students.

With billions of dollars at stake in the "Local Control Funding Formula" championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, civil rights groups and other advocates for poor children denounced the original version of regulations as being too loose, while school officials tended to praise them for the "flexibility" they sought.

The board, its staff and its consultants digested the criticism and have released a revised version of the rules, which will be discussed and perhaps approved at a Jan. 16 school board meeting.

The board's agenda for the meeting includes not only the revised rules themselves but
a chart that explains the revisions and how they responded to the criticism.

Overall, they appear to tighten up the rules for spending the extra money, but don't go as far as the critics - who included the Legislature's leadership - had wanted. The biggest change is providing more specificity and detail on how districts calculate the extra services they must provide to the targeted kids. But the new rules do not, as the critical groups sought, require that the extra money be spent exclusively on those students.

Brown, citing the principle of "subsidiarity," has called for giving districts as much flexibility as possible, but critics say that leaving the extra spending to the districts could result in its being diverted into other purposes.

Overall, about 60 percent of the state's six million K-2 students are classified as poor because of their qualification for free or reduced-price school meals and/or English-learners.

Meanwhile, EdSource, a website that intensively covers California education, has published a complete guide to the new program and how it would work.

PHOTO: California Board of Education president Michael Kirst in November 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

January 9, 2014
Jerry Brown rejects oil tax push

budget_conference.jpgGov. Jerry Brown on Thursday rejected calls for a tax on companies that extract oil in California, after billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer said last month that he would ramp up a campaign for such a tax in the state Legislature.

"I don't think this is the year for new taxes," the Democratic governor told reporters at the state Capitol.

Brown, who is preparing for a likely re-election bid this year, spent much of 2012 campaigning for his ballot initiative to raise taxes, Proposition 30, and its passage is a major reason he is enjoying a budget surplus this year.

"I went up and down the state campaigning for Proposition 30," Brown told reporters after unveiling his annual budget plan. "I said it was temporary. It is going to be temporary. And I just think we want to do everything we can to live within our means before going back again and trying to get more taxes."

Previous efforts to enact an oil severance tax have failed in the Legislature. Steyer, a former hedge fund manager and major Democratic donor, has said prospects may be improving in the heavily Democratic Senate and Assembly.

Steyer has declined to say whether he will seek an initiative to qualify for the ballot if efforts at the Capitol fail.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks about his budget proposal at a news conference at the Capitol on January 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Alexei Koseff

January 9, 2014
Jerry Brown says "governors can't make it rain."

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Gov. Jerry Brown said he is closely monitoring the state's worsening drought, but suggested that a drought emergency declaration was not imminent.

"Governors can't make it rain," Brown told reporters as he presented his proposed 2014-15 budget. He pointed to a state water task force working on the issue, which is meeting today.

But Brown downplayed any expectations that his office can do much to alleviate the dry conditions, which already have caused some agencies to cut dam releases and seek reductions in home water use.

"We'll take whatever steps we can, in collaboration with the state's farmers...and also the urban people have to do their part," Brown said.

"But don't think paper from the governor's office is going to affect the rain. We are doing what we can do in terms of water exchanges and we'll do other things as we get down the road.

"That seems to be probably enough, from my point of view," Brown added.

PHOTO: John Timon and Kent Smith of Oroville cross paths as they walk opposite direction on the Oroville Dam in 2009. Oroville is the state's second-largest reservoir and the largest in the State Water Project. The Sacramento Bee/Jose Luis Villegas

January 9, 2014
Rapid Response: Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal

Here are some reactions to Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal.

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez:

Assembly Democrats want to maintain stability and expand opportunity. There is much in the Governor's budget proposal that supports those goals. I'm pleased to see so many areas of agreement between the Governor and the Assembly, particularly how strongly he has embraced the rainy day fund that is the cornerstone of the Assembly's proposal.

With a strong rainy day fund in place we can avoid mistakes of the past and ensure that education and other vital services in California are protected from the volatility of boom and bust cycles.

I am pleased that the Governor proposes to continue paying down the wall of debt. This proposal completely pays off California's economic recovery bond debt from 2005, and repays our schools six billion dollars in funds that were deferred during the worst years of the Recession.

This proposal makes smart investments in strengthening our economic recovery, especially with respect to our shared commitment to infrastructure.

The Assembly will work with the Governor and the Senate to finalize another on-time balanced budget. Having agreement on such a major component as the rainy day fund makes that job easier."

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare.

While the budget is out sooner than the Governor planned, it gives us more time to review the fine print. I hope that Gov. Brown is successful in convincing his fellow Democrats to resist the urge to spend away any fiscal progress the state has made. We've been down this road before and I'd strongly caution my legislative friends across the aisle from traveling it again. In the not-so-distant past, California has seen unexpected revenue spikes that have evaporated overnight - quickly turning modest surpluses into enormous deficits.

"Now is the time to tackle the wall of debt, avoid the budget mistakes of the past and invest in our future so that our economy grows. The Governor sounds receptive to those ideas and Assembly Republicans stand ready to work in good faith to achieve those goals.


Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento

"After years of struggle to erase the state's deficit, we all agree that it's imperative to use much of our increased revenues to pump up the rainy day fund and to eliminate the debt from loans, bonds and delayed payments to our schools. I appreciate the Governor's aggressive approach to more than double the reserve and pay down debt even more quickly than we had hoped.

"At the same time, we must invest in the people of California, especially those living in the economic margins. I've proposed and remain committed to a balanced framework of 'a third, a third, a third,' where we divide the surplus into reserves, repayment and reinvestment.

"We are pleased that the budget includes last year's Senate Democratic proposal to invest in substance abuse treatment, mental health and re-entry programs for criminal offenders who serve their time, saving more money by slowing the revolving door in our jails and prisons. I support the Governor's request for a two year delay in the federal court's prison population order. The court must approve this request.

"Such smart reinvestment pays dividends down the road and is just as important to fiscal stability as the long term strategy of excising our debt and saving for the future. Similarly, expanding transitional kindergarten can be accomplished with just a fraction of increased Prop 98 funds while saving billions of dollars in the long run by reducing the extra costs of special education, grade retention and juvenile crime.

"The Legislature will now accelerate its work in the five-month budget process through public hearings to closely examine the Governor's proposals. I look forward to working with my colleagues, the Administration and the Assembly to achieve our common goal - developing a sound fiscal roadmap to meet the needs of all Californians."

Sens. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, and Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber

"Generally speaking we're pleased to see our schools benefit, but the rainy day reserve needs to be more robust, and the ACA 4 proposal supported by Democrats and Republicans is a better starting point," Senator Huff said. "The Governor wisely identified the need to pay down debt in this budget, but there's more that needs to be done. As he notes, there is a $355 billion mountain of debt that isn't going away. His High Speed Rail proposal is a non-starter. Even if his idea to take money from the Cap & Trade fund is legal - which we don't believe it is -businesses throughout the state will be forced to pay for it. That means higher gas costs and fewer jobs for middle class families. Too many people, too many families, are still hurting and looking for work. We need to help California workers find jobs.

The big question is, can the Governor hold strong against the spending demands made by his fellow Democrats," Senator Huff added. "Judging by the way they want to spend money, you'd think California was booming. Sadly, that's not the case. Our unemployment rate is still among the highest in the country and that's not acceptable. Ramping up state spending before making sure we're on solid fiscal ground is a recipe for disaster. What's the good of building up programs only to tear them down in a couple of years? We've seen this movie before, and it doesn't have a happy ending."

Senator Nielsen added, "I appreciate that the Governor is advocating fiscal restraint. This budget proposal, however, doesn't adequately address the structural deficit that continues to plague the state treasury. It also continues to fund the Governor's 'dream' of the High Speed Rail that California taxpayers don't want and can't afford.

California's budget problems have not been erased by the financial windfall created by recent tax increases. We have a $350 billion 'wall of debt' that must be paid down so our economy can grow. Our state's economy is not recovering like the rest of the country. We must address the need to create more jobs for Californians who want to work."

Michele Stillwell-Parvensky of Children's Defense Fund-California

"Governor Brown's initial budget proposal once again fails to recognize the dire need to repair a social safety net that was shredded during five years of budget cuts to critical programs. While the Governor's continued investment in K-12 education is a positive step, children also need health care, quality child care and pre-k, and family supports to survive and flourish.
"We understand the wisdom of preparing for the future; however, it is irresponsible to allocate billions to pay down state debt and build a rainy day fund when one in four California children live in poverty. It has been pouring for California's most vulnerable children and families for years - and now the state has the resources to protect our children and our future by investing in programs that will help create a level playing field for all children.
"The need for re-investing on the state level is made even more pressing by the devastating cuts to federal social safety net programs like food assistance and unemployment benefits, upon which so many Californians rely to support their families.
"Our continued prosperity depends on all of our citizens having a chance to thrive and succeed. On the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, we urge our state lawmakers to use our good fiscal health to restore and strengthen the safety net programs that protect and support our most vulnerable children and families as they find their way out of poverty and into economic security."

January 9, 2014
Jerry Brown pledges caution despite budget surplus

budget_conference.jpgNoting billions of dollars in unpaid bills the state has for pensions, schools and health care, Gov. Jerry Brown today touted what he called a "very measured" election year budget proposal despite a state surplus.

"We've got lots of long-term liabilities," Brown said. "It isn't time to just embark on a whole raft of new initiatives, and that's the problem."

Brown is proposing a $154.9 billion spending plan from all funds, about a 5 percent increase over the current year. It increases spending on schools and social service programs and dedicates $11 billion to pay down part of what Brown calls a "wall of debt."

But Brown said the surplus is based on a volatile source of income - capital gains taxes from stock market gains -- and urged caution.

"We've tried to keep it very measured," he said.

Brown highlighted the need for a rainy-day fund, but offered few details about how it would differ from a measure approved by the Legislature in 2010 that is already on the November ballot. Unions and other groups have said the proposal is too restrictive.

"I think that provides a lot of incentive to come up with some better alternatives," Brown said, adding that he wants to work with legislative leaders on a rainy-day account that is "more flexible and workable."

"The difficulty in drawing one is you don't know what the world is going to look like in a few years," he added.

Advocates for the poor have decried years of flat benefits and cuts to social programs and healthcare, and repeatedly called for spending increases as the state's fiscal outlook improves.

Brown downplayed those concerns. "We can always do more," he said, but California stacks up well against other states.

Brown also came out against a proposed oil-severance tax championed by some environmental activists. "I don't think this is the year for new taxes," he said.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks about his budget proposal at a news conference at the Capitol on January 9, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Alexei Koseff

January 9, 2014
AM Alert: Jerry Brown takes budget pitch across California

brownchamberbreakfast.jpgIn what has become an unlucky pattern for Gov. Jerry Brown, his budget proposal leaked early last night. It is the second time in three years this has happened. In 2012, the governor's proposal was inadvertently posted to the Department of Finance website before it was formally introduced.

Among Gov. Brown's priorities for the 2014-15 fiscal year are repaying about $6 billion in deferred school payments and creating a rainy day fund. (You can check out the entire document here.)

News conferences across the state, originally planned for Friday, have now been moved up a day: After introducing his budget at the Capitol at 9 a.m., Gov. Brown will be at the San Diego City Administration Building at 12:30 p.m. and the Ronald Reagan State Building in Los Angeles at 3:00 p.m. for additional announcements.

VIDEO: The Legislature continues to act irresponsibly by ignoring California's growing pension debts, Dan Walters says.

LEFT OUT: A new report from the National Fair Housing Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for equal housing opportunity, charges that rental companies routinely discriminate against applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing. The group is planning to file federal civil rights complaints today against major apartment owners and managers in eight cities nationwide, including Sacramento. The details will be announced during an online news conference at 10 a.m.

EDUCATION INNOVATION: Among the more than 2 million students served by California's community college system, nearly three-quarters require some basic skills coursework in English or math, according to the Campaign for College Opportunity. Most of them won't finish their education as a result -- a situation the group believes can be improved by encouraging more innovation in how those basic skills are taught. Representatives from several community colleges share their experiences during a briefing at 2 p.m. in Room 126 of the Capitol building.

DIGITAL TRAIL: Assembly members Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, who chairs the select committee on privacy, and Bonnie Loewenthal, D-Long Beach, will host a screening of the documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply at 11:30 a.m. in Room 127 of the Capitol building. The film concerns digital privacy and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Matthew Cagle, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the California Chamber of Commerce's annual Host Breakfast in Sacramento on May 22, 2013. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli

January 9, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Legislature's refusal to deal with pension debt is irresponsible

Creating new programs instead of dealing with unfunded liabilities is like skipping a house payment to buy a sports car, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.



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Capitol Alert Staff


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

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

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com

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

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert. mmassimino@sacbee.com

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

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

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

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