Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

May 16, 2014
Karl Rove warns Tim Donnelly will hurt GOP candidates nationwide

karlrovesits.jpgKarl Rove, the prominent Republican strategist, said Friday that Tim Donnelly will be a liability for Republicans nationwide if the tea party favorite finishes second in the gubernatorial primary election and advances to a November runoff against Gov. Jerry Brown.

"If the California Republican Party has as the leading candidate, the leading statewide candidate on the ballot this year somebody who has said the outrageous things that he's said and prone to the outrageous behavior that he routinely engages in, it will be used to tarnish not only the California Republican Party, but they'll throw it at everybody else on the ballot, and everybody else will, across the country, disavow the guy," Rove told the conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on his show.

Rove said, "Every time he goes out and says something, and as we've seen, Mr. Donnelly is quite prone to sharing the weird recesses and corners of his mind, it could be really problematic for the GOP."

Rove's remarks come a day after former California Gov. Pete Wilson issued a similar warning, and other prominent Republicans have rebuked Donnelly, a former member of the anti-illegal immigration Minuteman Project. Among other controversies, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors after carrying a loaded gun into Ontario International Airport in 2012 and tried recently to tie his opponent, Neel Kashkari, to Islamic law.

Donnelly has dismissed warnings against him as coming from elite Republicans out of touch with the party's base.

"When the GOP is talking about the threat (I pose), they're right," Donnelly told the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board on Wednesday. "I'm a threat to the country-club Republicans. I'm a danger because I might bring a little more country into the club."

Donnelly, a Twin Peaks assemblyman, leads Kashkari, a more moderate Republican, in public opinion polls.

PHOTO: Then White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove listens as President George W. Bush, not shown, speaks with reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington in this April 2, 2007, file photo. Associated Press Photo/ Gerald Herbert

May 16, 2014
Neel Kashkari drops another $1 million into governor's race

kashkaridam.jpgRepublican Neel Kashkari has dropped another $1 million into his run for governor, his campaign said Friday, re-doubling his efforts as he tries to make up ground on GOP rival Tim Donnelly.

Kashkari has now donated $2 million to his campaign, accounting for about half of all money he has reported raising. It also represents a personally significant sum. Kashkari, who previously said he did not intend to self-finance, put his net worth at less than $5 million before the campaign began.

Despite greatly outspending Donnelly, Kashkari lags behind the Twin Peaks assemblyman in public opinion polls. Kashkari, a former Goldman Sachs executive and former U.S. Treasury Department official, has recently started paid advertising, while Donnelly is unlikely to have any traditional advertising effort before the June 3 primary election.

Donnelly and Kashkari are the two main Republicans bidding to unseat Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown, a third-term Democrat, is widely expected to finish first in the June primary election, leaving Kashkari and Donnelly to compete for second place. The top two finishers advance to a runoff election in the fall.

PHOTO: Republican Neel Kashkari speaks with reporters at Oroville Dam on March 28, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

May 16, 2014
VIDEO: Jerry Brown builds case for fourth term as governor

Gov. Jerry Brown stopped by The Sacramento Bee's Editorial Board on Thursday. He touched on subjects ranging from education and water to why voters should give him another four years.

May 16, 2014
VIDEO: Fiscal analyst predicts more revenue than Brown's plan


The Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal analyst estimated Friday that state revenue through June 2015 would be $2.5 billion higher than what is in Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget plan, including $2.2 billion in additional money during the coming budget year.

But the Legislative Analyst's Office cautions that much of the additional revenue it forecasts would be consumed by larger obligations under the state's constitutional school-funding guarantee. It also acknowledges that its revenue numbers might turn out to be wrong.

"While our best estimates right now are for general fund revenues to be over $2 billion higher than the administration's projections in 2014-15, changes in asset markets and the economy could materialize that would result in less or more tax collections than our office now projects," it wrote in Friday's report.

Friday's review comes three days after Brown released a revised $156.2 billion spending plan that reflects $2.4 billion in extra revenue compared to his January proposal. It allocates most of the money to higher-than-expected Medi-Cal costs.

The plan features a rainy-day reserve he negotiated with legislative leaders and which would receive $1.6 billion in 2014-15. Also, the plan includes an extra payment to finally pay off $15 billion in deficit borrowing approved a decade ago.

The LAO offers warm words for the administration. "Overall, his plan takes a careful approach to state finances, and he deserves much credit for that," it said. "Under this approach, the state would improve its chances of managing the next significant state revenue downturn with little in the way of the drastic budget cuts required during the last few recessions."

Liberal advocacy groups, though, have said the governor's proposal fails to begin restoring billions of dollars in cuts during the recession. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, this week challenged the governor to "do a little lifting" to meet the concerns of his caucus members, suggesting that funding for the governor's prized high-speed rail project could otherwise be a tough sell.

The analyst's office earlier voiced support for the revised plan's proposal to spend $100 million toward paying off the $900 million the state owes local governments for complying with state mandates before 2004. It would be the first payment in almost a decade.

PHOTO: Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua

May 16, 2014
AM Alert: Health and human services budget committee discusses May Revision

Capitol_repaint.JPGLegislators are usually back in their districts on a Friday, but with Gov. Jerry Brown presenting his revised budget proposal this week, there's enough to discuss to keep some of them in town today. The Assembly Budget Committee's Subcommittee on Health and Human Services meets in Room 4202 of the Capitol at 9 a.m.

Whether Brown has restored enough of the recession-era spending cuts to health programs and social services is one of the biggest points of contention surrounding the budget. With the first surplus in years, liberal lawmakers and advocacy groups have pushed the governor to spend the additional billions rather than socking them away in a proposed rainy-day fund. In-home caregivers have been especially vocal in pushing back against Brown's budget, which would limit the number of hours they can work.

VIDEO: Final budget negotiations become a political bargaining chip for those holding the purse strings, Dan Walters says.

COLLEGE READINESS: California's high school graduation rate is on the rise, but are those students prepared for college? Policy Analysis for California Education sponsors a talk with researchers from Stanford University on a college readiness indicator system that could help schools and districts better prepare their students for future success, 11:30 a.m. at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

COMMENCE THE COMMENCEMENTS: With the school year coming to a close, graduation season is in full swing and members of the Capitol community are beginning their visits to colleges and universities across the state. Assemblyman John A. PĂ©rez, D-Los Angeles, will deliver the commencement address at the UC Davis School of Law today at 4 p.m. at the Mondavi Center, while Jennifer Siebel Newsom, documentary filmmaker and wife of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, speaks to graduates of Dominican University of California in San Rafael on Saturday.

LONG RIDE TO FUNDING: Cyclists will ride from Vacaville, Suisun City and Oakland to Sacramento on Saturday calling on California to reinvest in public education. They will finish at the west steps of the Capitol, where Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Karen Stapf Walters, executive director of the State Board of Education, are scheduled to speak at 4 p.m.

PHOTO: Construction workers erect scaffolding around the Capitol dome on May 1, 2002 in preparation for painting. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench

May 16, 2014
Dan Walters Daily: Budget serves as political bargaining chip

brownjanbudget.jpgThose holding the purse strings can push their favored policies in final budget negotiations, Dan says.

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

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

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


Capitol Alert Staff

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. Twitter: @DanielSnowSmith

Jim Miller Jim Miller covers California policy and politics and edits Capitol Alert. Twitter: @jimmiller2

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

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

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

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers the Legislature. Twitter: @capitolalert

Koseff Alexei Koseff edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @akoseff

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

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