Capitol Alert

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oil_rig.jpgThough previous efforts have proved unsuccessful, state Sen. Noreen Evans has once again introduced a bill for a tax on companies that extract oil in California. The Santa Rosa Democrat will discuss the legislation during a rally at 10 a.m. at Sacramento State's Hinde Auditorium.

Evans notes that California is the only major oil-producing state in the country without an oil severance tax, and her bill would impose a 9.5 percent levy on oil companies to fund higher education, state parks and health and human services programs. Evans' office estimates that it would generate about $2 billion in annual revenue.

While introducing an oil severance tax in California has been a major goal for many environmentalists, and Evans has made it a priority for her final year in the Senate, the legislation faces a tough road. A similar bill she authored last year was held in committee. Gov. Jerry Brown also rejected the push during the announcement of his budget proposal in January, saying, "I don't think this is the year for new taxes."

VIDEO: The Legislature is more interested in playing political games than legislating so far this session, Dan Walters says.

BUDGET BRIEFING: Still got questions about Brown's budget proposal? Bring them to the California Budget Project's annual briefing, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the CSAC Conference Center on 11th Street. The nonprofit organization plans to discuss Brown's budget priorities, their implications for low- and middle-income Californians and how that could shape the budget debate in the months ahead.

CALSTRS CRUNCH: Though Brown's budget aims to address California's so-called "Wall of Debt," the state still faces tens of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, including the California State Teachers' Retirement System. The Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security will discuss the pension's long-term funding needs during a hearing at 10:30 a.m. in Room 444 of the Capitol.

HITTING THE ROAD: A couple of candidates for statewide office swing through Sacramento today on their campaigns: Attorney General Kamala Harris, who announced her re-election bid last week, headlines the California Newspaper Publishers Association's Governmental Affairs Day with an interview at 1:15 p.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center. Gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari will speak with the Sacramento State College Republicans at 5 p.m. at Sac State's Sequoia Hall.

LIVING HISTORY: In honor of Black History Month, Arthur L. Burnett, Sr., the first African-American U.S. magistrate, reflects on the Civil Rights Movement and his work in the Kennedy administration in the early 1960s at the California Department of Education on N Street at 11 a.m.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, who turns 74 today.

PHOTO: Waves crash in front of an oil rig at Seal Beach, Calif., on Jan. 20, 2010. The Associated Press/Nick Ut



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