Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Return of ‘A State without a Budget, A government without a Clue’: BIG MIDYEAR HIT FOR PROP 98 LIKELY + DEEPER CUTS TO STATE BUDGET EXPECTED + Addl Coverage + smf’s 2¢

smf: In budget cycles past, 4LAKids broke out the California Budget Debate from the rest of the Education mess and placed in in a separate blog: A state without a Budget, a government without a Clue”.  4LAKids was trying to keep the recession separate from recess – and to avoid depression altogether.

This past year the state got a budget early, and after an initial hiccough got a another, “final” budget; close enough to on-time to escape a tardy slip. There was no “State without a Budget, Government without a Clue.”

Except, of course, it unraveled just like the Schwarzeneggerian budgets previous:  Those rose-colored glasses and fanciful projections ran afoul of reality and the towering house of cards came tumbling down like a pre-Field Act elementary school in Long Beach in 1933.

The May Revise comes in December this year; pink slips and holiday cards will be in the mail. And charter schools and school districts will go into bankruptcy and/or receivership.

So we’re back right back where we started – deeper in debt, mired in the shortfall, tangled in the great expectations and the Reform®; Tested, Assessed Value-addled+Data-driven to Distraction. 

“Cut, cut, cut!”
say the Republicans.

”Cut!” says the director.
”Places” says the A,D.
“…Roll Camera.”
“………………Scene 2011, Take Three. Marker.”
”…………………………And…. ACTION!”

Big midyear hit for Prop 98 likely: LAO foresees $3.7 billion state shortfall

By John Fensterwald - Educated Guess |

11/17/11 • The first shoe fell with a thud Wednesday, when the Legislative Analyst’s Office predicted that a $3.7 billion state revenue shortfall this year would result in $2 billion in midyear “trigger” cuts, including $1.5 billion in Proposition 98 funding and $100 million each to the University of California and California State University.

The other shoe will drop next month when the state Dept. of Finance issues its own revenue estimates and then sets the midyear cuts based on the rosier of the two projections.

The LAO is predicting a $13 billion state deficit next year, even after $2 billion in midear cuts this year, declining gradually over five years. Click to enlarge.

The LAO is predicting a $13 billion state deficit next year, even after $2 billion in midear cuts this year, declining gradually over five years. Click to enlarge.>>

The expected cuts, which will bite into services for the disabled as well, follow dreary revenue reports for the first four months of the fiscal year, and so should come as no shock. The repercussions were felt immediately Wednesday, with CSU trustees approving a 9 percent tuition increase for next year unless the state increases funding by at least $138 million next year. The $100 million midyear cut will put CSU that much more in a hole and wipe out the system’s reserves.

Under the budget passed last year, the shortfall also will lead to a $10 per credit community college fee increase, and will compound problems for K-12 districts, especially those that, hoping against hope, didn’t build in sufficient reserves or don’t have contingencies for negotiating additional staff furlough days this spring. Under the worst-case scenario, some of those districts, the LAO said, may run right out of cash by year-end and have to seek a state emergency loan.

The $1.5 billion in Prop 98 cuts would include the $248 million in home and school transportation payments – more than half of funding for the program – and $1.1 billion in standard revenue limit funding for districts. The latter equals a cut of $180 per student, about 3 percent of state tuition payments.

The transportation cuts, an average of $41.60 per student, will disproportionately affect rural and poor urban students, according to a breakdown by Stephen Rhoads, a lobbyist with Strategic Education Services in Sacramento. In rural Humboldt County, the cut amounts to $113 per student; in Mariposa County, $346 per student; for low-income students, the cut would average $49 per child, compared with $23 in wealthier districts. If students stop attending school regularly after bus routes are cut, districts would see a further erosion in revenue.

The Legislature made contingencies for cuts when it shifted $2 billion in sales tax revenue from Prop 98 to pay for transferring prisoners to county and local jails. Rather than immediately cut education, the Legislature assumed that the state would take in an extra $4 billion in revenue – a deal it cut with the California Teachers Association that in the end turned sour.

CTA President Dean Vogel, commenting on the LAO report, called for fixing the state’s “unfair tax structure and corporate tax breaks” in order not to shortchange education.

“It’s time to put a fair and equitable tax system in place so that our students and the most vulnerable Californians don’t have to continue to do without,” he said.

Looking ahead to a sluggish economy and an unemployment rate that will likely remain above 8 percent for another five years, the LAO assumes that the midyear cuts won’t be restored for years. Even with the midyear cuts, the LAO is predicting that the state will end this year $3 billion in the red, and the deficit will grow to $13 billion next year, and will remain above $5 billion per year through 2016-17.

If there’s good news for schools, it’s in the LAO’s projection that the funding obligation for K-12 and community colleges will rise $4 billion next year. But more than half of that will be simply part of what the state owes the schools: restoring Prop 98 to the level before the $2 billion in sales tax money was diverted and then partially repaying for the lost $2 billion this year ($400 million per year for five years).

With unemployment beginning to drop next year, per capita income will rise 4 percent, resulting in an increase of nearly $1 billion in the Prop 98 obligation. But, with the Prop 98 increase contributing to the $13 billion deficit, the LAO suggested that the Legislature would have to consider suspending Prop 98 – and how to do it.

It added two more cautionary notes: Even though an upsurge in revenue may enable the state to fund Prop 98 an average of $2.5 billion a year beyond the minimum guarantee from 2013-14 to 2016-17, it will still end up owing education $10 billion in past obligations. And it will not have begun to pay down CalSTRS’ unfunded pension liability. “Addressing the unfunded liabilities of just the teachers’ retirement fund probably will require billions of dollars of additional payments annually over the coming decades,” the report said.


Deeper cuts to state budget expected: Lower-than-forecast revenue means automatic reductions will likely kick in. A shorter K-12 school year could result.

By Anthony York and Nicholas Riccardi - Los Angeles Times |


Students and parents rallied against education cuts outside Millikan Middle School earlier this year. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

November 17, 2011 - Reporting from Sacramento— Sluggish state revenue is likely to trigger a new round of spending cuts that could mean a shorter school year and millions of dollars slashed from public universities, child care programs and services for the disabled, the Legislative Analyst's Office says.

California's coffers will be $3.7 billion below what lawmakers and the governor assumed in the budget they crafted last summer, said Mac Taylor, the analyst whom legislators look to for nonpartisan financial advice. The new reductions were built into the spending plan, to kick in if state income fell short.

A final decision will be made next month, when Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Finance releases its own forecast for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Taylor said the projections could still change enough to ward off some of the deepest cuts. But his announcement Wednesday was the first official confirmation that reductions are likely.

The grim news prompted outrage from education officials who have already sharply pared their budgets. But it was no surprise to economists who had criticized Brown for balancing the budget by anticipating an extra $4 billion in revenue after he failed to secure Republican support for a ballot measure to raise taxes.

"Short of aliens landing on the planet with a big bucket of cash," said Christopher Thornberg, a founder of Beacon Economics, "there's no way we're going to make [Brown's] revenue projections."

If the economic picture does not improve in December, the new cuts would include a $1.4-billion reduction in public school funds that would even force state-provided student buses to be mothballed. Such severe cuts had Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy publicly contemplating defiance Wednesday.

"What comes to mind is we simply won't do it," he said in an interview.

At the urging of teachers unions, legislators barred districts from closing the money gap by laying off teachers. Rather, they would have to cut expenses elsewhere. The state gave them permission to trim up to a week from the school year if they agreed with their local teachers unions to do so.

Kevin Gordon, a lobbyist for several school districts, said he believes it would be almost impossible for local authorities to win permission from labor to curtail the academic year and the Legislature would have to revisit the issue.

"There will be a reshuffling of the deck entirely if it appears schools will have to shoulder the magnitude of cuts" that the Legislative Analyst's Office projects, Gordon said.

In addition to reductions in K-12 education, the University of California and California State University systems would each lose $100 million. Fees at the state's community colleges would increase by an additional $10 per unit.

Counties, already struggling to accommodate more inmates under Brown's current budget, which shifts responsibility for some offenders from the state to local governments, would lose $72 million that pays for the housing of serious juvenile offenders.

Funding for home health aides would be cut by 20%, and services for the disabled would be slashed by $100 million — on top of deep reductions already made in those programs.

That could be the last straw for Michelle Franklin, 45, of Stockton, who receives just under $800 a month from the state to care for her schizophrenic son and an elderly neighbor. If her payments drop by 20%, she said, she may have to commit her child to a state mental hospital.

"I love my son dearly and it's going to break my heart, but if they cut my hours I may have to make the decision to let my son go," Franklin said. "That's going to end up costing the state a lot more in the long run."

Administration officials and Democratic legislative leaders urged calm, holding out hope that December's forecast would be better and enable the state to dodge the automatic cuts. They stressed that the state's finances are in better shape than they have been for much of the decade-long budget crisis.

"California's budget gap is the result of a decade of poor fiscal choices and a global recession," said Brown spokesman Gil Duran. "This year, we cut the problem in half. Next year, we'll continue to make the tough choices necessary until the problem is solved."

But Taylor's analysis shows little relief in sight. It predicts that even with the new slate of cuts, the state will face a $13-billion shortfall in the next fiscal year. That gap would be so severe it would be difficult to close without going below the minimum funding that state law guarantees for K-12 education.

The good news, Taylor said, is that the annual deficit is expected to gradually dwindle into the range of $5 billion by 2016, a better long-range picture than he has seen in years.

The cuts will become official Dec. 15 if the projections don't improve, then be phased in over subsequent months. In September, Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed the Legislature to reconfigure the cuts, saying it would be reckless to alter them. On Wednesday, Taylor said it would be "unwise" to do so.

A bevy of interest groups are trying to change them anyway.

Jean Hurst, a lobbyist with the California State Assn. of Counties, said her members would ask the administration to reconsider taking $72 million in juvenile lockup funds from them. She noted that the move would come as counties implemented Brown's "realignment" plan by keeping inmates who would have otherwise gone to prisons.

"To pull additional funds out of our base of safety services is a huge challenge," she said.

Social service advocates and unions representing home health workers vowed to sue to stop what they described as "devastating" cuts to services for the disabled. They joined labor groups and many Democrats in calling for tax hikes to be placed on the 2012 ballot to stave off more reductions.

Both university systems have said they believe they can absorb their potential cuts, though this year's austere budget led Cal State trustees to approve a 9% fee hike Wednesday.

Full coverage from google news

Most school districts may weather midyear cuts, but worry about future

San Jose Mercury News – Nov 17, 2011

California's anemic tax revenues may trigger steep budget cuts on Feb. 1, but with most school districts anticipating them, they won't set off drastic changes in the school year. That doesn't mean the cuts, estimated to be $180 per ...

Calif. budget cuts could shorten school year

San Jose Mercury News - Nov 17, 2011

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Millions of California parents and schoolchildren face a direct hit from the state's latest financial woes—the prospect of fewer school days that would make California's school year among the ...

Fitch: Effect of California Trigger Cuts to Vary for State & Schools

MarketWatch (press release) - Nov 17, 2011

NEW YORK, Nov 17, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Underperforming revenues will likely prompt the State of California to lower its near-term revenue outlook and implement some mid-year trigger cuts contained in its 2012 fiscal budget, a scenario that will have ...

Calif. faces $13B deficit, faces midyear cuts

BusinessWeek - Nov 17, 2011

California faces $2 billion in automatic spending cuts at the first of the year that will reduce funding for public schools, higher education and a range of state services, according to a nonpartisan fiscal analysis released Wednesday. ...

State fiscal nightmare: deep cuts on horizon

San Francisco Chronicle (press release) - Nov 16, 2011

Rich Pedroncelli / AP California faces deep midyear cuts to its universities, community colleges, social service programs and public schools - which may have their year shortened - because the state will collect billions of dollars less in revenue than ...

All 81 related articles »


New California budget report triggers old partisan arguments

Sacramento Bee (blog) - ‎Nov 16, 2011‎

Fresh off a new Legislative Analyst's Office report that paves the way for mid-year cuts in education and social services, Democrats called for additional taxes and Republicans said lawmakers must rein in spending. The report also pegs the state's ...

BUDGET Analyst projects revenue $3.7 billion short

Press-Enterprise (blog) - ‎Nov 16, 2011‎

By PE Politics on November 16, 2011 11:25 AM California would face $2 billion in midyear cuts to schools, universities and other programs under an updated revenue analysis by the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal analyst. State revenue is on pace to be ...

LAO Predicts Trigger Pulled On Budget Cuts

Capital Notes (blog) - ‎Nov 16, 2011‎

The annual fiscal forecast of the Legislative Analyst's Office is always interesting to budget wonks, but never so consequential to the services used by millions of Californians as it is this year. That forecast, released this morning, projects the ...

All 8 related blogs »

United States

Californians Dislike Cuts as Revenue Projected to Trail Budget

BusinessWeek - Nov 16, 2011

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Almost three-quarters of Californians say the state doesn't spend enough on higher education, according to a new survey, even as revenue forecasts raise the likelihood of more cuts to colleges ...

Sharp Decline in Revenue Is Forecast for California

New York Times - Nov 16, 2011

A report released by state budget analysts on Wednesday forecasts a sharp decline in revenue for this fiscal year, which could set off more than $2 billion in new cuts in state spending in January, including a seven-day reduction in ...

All 97 related articles from United States »

Sacramento, CA

LAO: Calif. Budget Triggers Likely, $13 Billion Deficit Next Year

Capital Public Radio News - ‎Nov 16, 2011‎

It now looks even more likely that California will have to make mid-year “trigger” cuts to the state budget, according to a new report by the state's nonpartisan legislative analyst's office. By Ben Adler This year's budget relies on an extra $4 ...

California Budget Facing Billion Dollar Deficit

KCRA Sacramento - ‎Nov 16, 2011‎

SACRAMENTO, Calif -- California's nonpartisan fiscal analyst projected the state to have a $13 billion budget shortfall over the next 18 months. That likely means Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers will have to make another round of spending cuts. ...

Analyst: State Faces $13B Deficit Next Year

KCRA Sacramento - ‎Nov 16, 2011‎

California's nonpartisan budget analyst says the state is projected to face a $13 billion budget shortfall next year. By The Numbers The Legislative Analyst's Office on Wednesday released a gloomy state fiscal outlook. It says tax revenue will fall ...

All 14 related articles from Sacramento, CA »

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Op-Ed by Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard [Eureka/North Coast]

Posted: 02/10/2010 01:31:30 AM PST

Anyone questioning the severity of California's budget woes needs only to look at some recently considered proposals to generate revenue for a rebuke, and a glimpse into just how dire things really are.

Recent months have seen cash-strapped California seriously consider proposals to sell naming rights to its state buildings, to legalize and tax marijuana, to keep marijuana illegal but tax it anyway, to privatize the state's prisons, to build and operate state prisons in Mexico and to sell off surplus state vehicles autographed by the governor.

The latest proposal comes from the governor, and is looking to convert overhead freeway displays -- historically used for public service announcements and to warn of road hazards -- into electronic advertising billboards.

While the proposal isn't likely to gain much traction, it further underscores the bleak reality that California is in the throes of budget problems the likes of which haven't been seen in a long, long time. It's also an indication that the state isn't taking its problems as seriously as it should, according to Ryan Emenaker, an assistant professor of political science at College of the Redwoods.

”We are in a desperate situation, and I think this is another thing in a line of us pretending that the situation isn't that dire -- that we can fix it with a gimmick,” Emenaker said. “It's the idea that we can avoid making hard choices and find the magic bullet to fix all our problems.”

But, Emenaker cautioned, there won't be any magic bullet and the only answer will be a long-term reshaping of the state's budget and tax systems.

In the short term, however, there's a budget to bring into balance.

With the state having issued $32 billion in budget cuts in the last year, most believe California has long since run out of easy answers. Now, facing a pending $20 billion deficit for the next fiscal year, and projected shortfalls of about $20 billion in each of the next five years, the budget battle is gearing up again.

”Our budget is seriously out of whack, and it's becoming worse by the day,” said state Sen. Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, in a statement.

This week, legislative committees will continue chewing over Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget proposals, with the familiar refrains: Democrats calling to protect education and health and human services, and Republicans pledging not to raise taxes. All the while, state finance officials are warning that lawmakers must act quickly to avert another cash crisis.

To make up for a drastic drop in tax revenue and plug a $20 billion deficit, Schwarzenegger is proposing further cuts to health and human services, welfare programs, prisons, transportation and environmental programs.

He also seeks to raise money by rolling back recent corporate tax breaks, expanding oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast to provide $140 million for state parks, and demanding more money from the federal government.

In his proposal, Schwarzenegger banked on almost $7 billion in additional federal funds -- money he claims the state is owed. But the federal budget proposal President Barack Obama recently released only includes a fraction of that amount -- about $1.5 billion.

The governor's proposal contained a contingency plan in the event that Obama didn't offer up what Schwarzenegger asked for, and it includes the elimination of some of the state's social service programs, including in-home care for frail seniors and the disabled, the Healthy Families program that provides health care for millions of children of the working poor, and CALWORKS, the state's main welfare and work-training program.

Many have their doubts about the proposed cuts, saying that they come with huge moral and fiscal ramifications.

The California Budget Project -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization -- warned that the proposed cuts come at a time of growing need.

A recent report released by the project indicates the state has about the same number of jobs it had 10 years ago, when the state's population had about 3.6 million fewer working-age individuals. More than 2.2 million Californians were out of work in December, and the state's jobless rate was 12.4 percent. Additionally, the report states that more than 1.5 million Californians were underemployed in December, working part time “involuntarily.”

Things are so bad, the report states, that the CALWORKS rolls increased by more than 86,000 over the last two years and the number of Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal increased by more than 450,000. Almost 1 million more Californians were receiving food stamp assistance in October 2009 than in October 2007, according to the report.

In light of all those numbers, California Budget Project Executive Director Jean Ross warns that the governor's proposed cuts could exacerbate the state's problems.

”The governor's proposed budget will batter a struggling economy and make life tougher for millions of families already struggling in the face of double-digit unemployment rates,” Ross said in a statement. “... He's proposing cuts to the Healthy Families program, which will lead to more uninsured children. He's slashing the In-Home Supportive Services Program, which will increase demand for costly nursing home care. At a time when the governor is talking about the importance of 'jobs, jobs, jobs,' he's proposing deeper cuts to the CALWORKS Program, California's highly successful welfare-to-work program.”

But, nobody disputes that something has to give, and that the bleak state of California's finances necessitate some very tough choices, in both the short and the long term.

In a presentation to the Assembly Budget Committee last week, State Controller John Chiang issued a stark warning. Not since July 2007 has California actually had cash on hand, Chiang reportedly told the committee, adding that, since then, the state's relied on external and internal borrowing from various special funds to pay its bills.

Chiang told the committee that, in the short term, the state faces a cash crunch in March. An influx of tax revenue is expected in April, but much of that will reportedly be quickly diverted into repayment of short-term loans, leaving the state cash-strapped by the July 1 start of fiscal year 2010-2011. The state encountered a similar situation last year, prompting the issuance of IOUs, widely considered a national embarrassment.

To address the short-term issue, Schwarzenegger proposed a plan to give the state Department of Finance unprecedented authority to delay almost any state payments at any time over the next two years, which critics argue would leave a host of entities, including local schools, people expecting tax refunds and CalGrant recipients on the fence, unsure of when they would receive state payments.

”Sadly, it's just another power play,” said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, in a post on her budget blog. Evans is currently running for the First District state Senate seat currently held by Wiggins, who has announced she will not seek re-election in November.

Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, also took issue with the governor's plan, saying in a statement issued Friday that he finds it unacceptable to give Schwarzenegger's administration that kind of blanket authority.

”The governor has a responsibility to present his deferral proposals to the Legislature so that there can be a hearing and public testimony, followed by a vote of the membership,” Chesbro said in the statement. “The people of California have a right to learn about his proposals and participate in this process. Government must be open and accessible to the constituents it serves.”

However the state bridges the gap in the short term, Chiang warned that the way the state balances its budget for the next fiscal year will dictate what California looks like for years to come.

”Your actions can make the difference in setting this generation on the right fiscal path,” Chiang told the assembly committee, according to a report in the California Progress Report. “For too long, when people don't make tough choices, students, the aged, disabled and taxpayers all end up suffering.”

Wiggins said she and her colleagues in the Senate have been going over the governor's proposals and crafting counterproposals with a sense of urgency. But, she cautioned, the Legislature needs to find some common ground.

”Budgeting requires a balancing act, but it's darn near impossible to achieve a balance if some of the players refuse to make compromises,” she said, adding that while Democrats have conceded to tens of billions in spending cuts, Republicans refuse to budge on tax increases.

For his part, Chesbro said he knows difficult choices lie in his future.

”With our current financial situation, the Legislature will be facing tough choices. But, these choices need to make sense financially and provide real budget savings,” Chesbro said in the release, adding that he believes many of Schwarzenegger's proposals would prove more costly in the long run by pushing the elderly and disabled into nursing homes.

Emenaker said he thinks the Legislature will continue to face similarly difficult choices until the economy rebounds, because the structure of the state's budget and tax systems necessitate them. Because the state's revenue base is so dependent on sales and income tax revenues, Emenaker said the state is assured to see revenues dip in down economies. Conversely, Emenaker said demands for state services increase in a down economy, when more people find themselves in need of assistance and relying on state programs for the poor.

”We've set up a system where we always have the least amount of money coming in when we have the most amount of need,” he said. “Structural changes need to be made.”

Monday, January 11, 2010


Written by  California State Association of Counties |

January 11, 2010  -- The Governor’s proposed 2010-11 state budget released today is based on unrealistic assumptions, significant risks and cost shifts to counties, according to the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).

“This plan is a retread budget, not a reform budget,” said Tony Oliveira, CSAC President and Kings County Supervisor. “Unfortunately, it’s based on a number of failed ideas taken from past years.”

The budget proposal will blow a huge hole in an already frayed safety net, said Paul McIntosh, CSAC Executive Director. “There are recommendations to cut more than $2.9 billion from social service programs. This action alone will further push families into poverty, putting them in a dire situation from which they may never recover. That’s not the California Dream.”

Elimination of these programs will, in turn, impact other areas as well, including our criminal justice system, the homeless population and counties’ general assistance roles, McIntosh said.

The proposal to rely on $6.9 billion in additional funds from the federal government has county officials very concerned. If the Governor’s attempts to secure these funds fail, critical programs will be eliminated. “The Governor is holding vital social programs – and the people they serve -- hostage,” McIntosh said.  “It’s a risky gamble to balance the health and safety of millions of Californians on a Hail Mary to the federal government.”

CSAC officials called the Governor’s proposed spending plan a “job killer.” At a time when the Governor is calling for the creation of new jobs, the budget plan could eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs that provide vital services to the sick and disabled. Elimination of the IHSS and CalWORKs programs alone would put nearly 450,000 Californians out of work.

“Instead of the ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ the Governor talked about in his State of the State address, it’s no jobs, no jobs, no jobs,” commented McIntosh.

The Governor’s plan will also reduce future jobs tied to transportation projects. CSAC officials are concerned that the alternative funding proposal for transportation will impact the system long term. While appreciating that the budget plan does not call for the reduction in revenues for local streets and roads, counties point out that it will eliminate the sales tax on gas, a source of future revenue growth.

“The state will be trading a revenue source that is projected to increase with one that is projected to decrease,” Oliveira said. “This budget maneuver will hinder future investment in California’s transportation system.”

“While there is little to like about this budget, California counties are strongly supportive of assuring that California gets every dollar from the federal government for delivering essential services. We look forward to working with our state and federal partners in furthering this goal,” Oliveira said.

The Governor’s proposal also includes cost shifts for counties. For example, it calls for a savings of $291.6 million by sending certain felony offenders to county jails rather than prison. Jails in many of California’s 58 counties are already overcrowded, and 32 are operating under a population cap.

“The Governor’s theme this week has been teamwork and fairness. This budget does nothing but undermine the partnership the state has with California Counties and the 38 million people we serve,” McIntosh said.

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) is the voice of California’s 58 counties at the state and federal level. The Association’s long-term objective is to significantly improve the fiscal health of all California counties – from Alpine County with a little more than 1,200 people to Los Angeles County with more than 10 million – so they can adequately meet the demand for vital public programs and services. CSAC also places a strong emphasis on educating the public about the value and need for county programs and services.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

SCHWARZENEGGER: "Dear Santa:" …with a cc: to Uncle Sam

from various newsfeeds

Schwarzenegger Seeks Obama's Help for Deficit Relief

BusinessWeek - Michael B. Marois, William Selway - ‎Dec 24, 2009‎

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, anticipating a $21 billion state budget deficit, ...

Schwarzenegger Presses US for More Aid for Needy California

New York Times - Randal C. Archibold - ‎Dec 23, 2009‎

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken advantage of the holiday lull before the next state budget storm to serve notice ...

Schwarzenegger to seek federal help for California budget

‎Dec 23, 2009‎ - Los Angeles Times

Two Ways to Play: California May Ask for Bailout - Terry Woo - ‎Dec 24, 2009‎

Specific details aren't out yet but California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may ask President Barack Obama for a bailout ...

No happy new year for California budget

‎Dec 22, 2009‎ - Reuters

Health care plan may cost too much for California

‎Dec 21, 2009‎ -

Broke, Schwarzenegger begs President Obama for $8 billion. Is a California ...

LA Weekly (blog) - Jill Stewart - ‎Dec 23, 2009‎

Wow, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just continues to flounder and flub and flim-flam his way through one of the worst ...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Program passed by the Legislature in September to keep 700,000 children from losing healthcare coverage may not meet regulatory guidelines, federal health officials say. Eric Bailey in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/15/09

“U.S. health officials say the plan adopted by the state during the final days of the legislative session in September and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may not meet regulatory muster.

“As a result, children's health advocates are warning that by the end of next year, hundreds of thousands of poor youngsters could lose their coverage -- even as the Obama administration continues its push for universal healthcare.”

Monday, December 14, 2009


links from Rough & Tumble

California debt costs to surpass $10 bln-Treasurer

-- California, the largest borrower among U.S. states, may see its debt interest costs nearly double to over $10 billion in 2020, the state treasurer reported on Monday. Lisa Lambert Reuters -- 12/14/09

Schwarzenegger names new finance director

-- Matosantos, currently chief deputy, will take over the Department of Finance helm days before Schwarzenegger delivers his final budget proposal in January, expected to be a cuts-heavy plan to deal with another severe deficit. Kevin Yamamura in the Sacramento Bee Shane Goldmacher in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/14/09

Thursday, December 10, 2009


EASTERN GROUP PUBLICATIONS Editorial | Eastside Sun / Northeast Sun / Mexican American Sun / Bell Gardens Sun / City Terrace Comet / Commerce Comet / Montebello Comet / Monterey Park Comet / ELA Brookyln Belvedere Comet / Wyvernwood Chronicle / Vernon Sun

December 10, 2009 -- The first signs of what promises to be a war of words, shouts and picketing has taken place this week in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The LAUSD school board has adopted a budget the District hopes will help it close a projected $1.2 billion deficit through 2012.

This budget calls for the furloughing of at least 5,000 district personnel. It appears that this time around the threats of layoffs will actually come to fruition. Last spring, LAUSD threatened to layoff as many as 8,000 teachers, but through a combination of cuts in other areas and the use of stimulus dollars, that threat never came remotely close to being acted on.

It doesn’t seem that will be the case this time around, however.

But if it is, and the District really has no plans to layoff workers, then they should not be causing so much uncertainty among District employees and even greater mistrust by the public in the school board’s budget proposals.

Clearly, however, if the budget is anywhere near the dismal financial reality being painted by the District, tough compromises will have to be worked out between the District’s unions and District negotiators. Hopefully it won’t come down to a standoff that will just disrupt our schools and not solve anything.

There comes a time when we all have to accept the inevitable and start working together to come to the least disruptive solutions. Any less, is a disservice to the teachers, students, and the District.