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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« July 13, 2005 | | July 15, 2005 »
July 14, 2005

Wiki-drafting: our own budget reform

I want to try a little experiment here that I hope you will help me with. As negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders continue over his reform agenda, it seems clear that the toughest nut to crack will be his insistence on some kind of spending limit or budget reform. So I thought maybe we here in this space might join the search for common ground.

The task is to solicit specific ideas from left and right, members of both parties, people inside the Capitol and out, ideas that might eventually form the basis for a solution. I’m under no illusions that the governor or legislative leaders will take us up on our product. I just thought it might be fun to engage in a sort of public simulation of what should be going on under the dome at this moment.

Let’s begin with the governor’s stated goals, since the challenge is to come as close as possible to satisfying those in a way that Democrats could support. If you do that, he renounces his Live Within Our Means proposal, and he and the Dem leaders sing Kumbaya all the way to the ballot.

My summary:

--Some kind of smoothing mechanism that limits spending in boom years to avoid committing one-time money to ongoing programs.

--A provision to allow a governor to offer or impose mid-year corrections if a deficit is looming (or worsening).

--A device to prevent summer budget stalemates.

--An amendment to Proposition 98 to prevent or reduce its tendency to ratchet up school spending in good years without regard to the state’s ability to keep up with that level of spending if revenues drop.

Don’t feel as if you have to address all of these issues. Pick off just one or a couple if you like. And there’s this: as you make suggestions, try to stretch to make them acceptable to people who don’t see the world the same way you do. Think: what are the limits to how far I can go toward meeting the other side’s needs and still live with what I come up with?

Email your ideas to

I’ll publish suggestions in this space as I get them and then you can comment on what we get. No names or identifications will be included. Please alert others to this exercise if you think they might join in. The more the merrier.


Posted by dweintraub at 2:11 PM

CBP on the budget

Here is the California Budget Project's five-page summary of the budget deal.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:09 PM

Two jobs aren't better than one

What is the governor thinking?

Today's papers (the Bee's story is here) disclose that Schwarzenegger is being paid $1 million a year or 1 percent of advertising revenues by two bodybuilding magazines whose advertisers have business in the Capitol.

This comes a day after the Bee revealed that Schwarzenegger had promised to do what he could to help the dietary supplements industry, which is a heavy advertiser in the magazines and is under fire in Sacramento and Washington. Last year, he vetoed a bill that would have limited the supplements' use.

It's time for Schwarzenegger to sever his ties to these folks and return the money he has been paid so far.

He's having enough trouble doing his job as governor. Does he really need another one?

Posted by dweintraub at 8:02 AM



At Crossroads, a panel of experts and the public debate the future of health care in California. We'd like you to join the conversation.

Daniel Weintraub


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