Tuesday, January 6, 2009


The Sacramento Bee CapitolAlert |AM Alert: 6 Jan

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger still hasn't signed that majority-vote budget Democrats passed back in December, but GOP opponents are going to court today to block the budget plan anyway.

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said his organization, backed by GOP lawmakers, will be filing a lawsuit that argues the Democratic plan is illegal because it raises taxes without the necessary two-thirds vote.

"How can anyone with a straight face look at this package of bills and say it's not intended to raise revenue?" Coupal asks.

(Democrats admit they are raising revenue, but say they are only raising fees and swapping one equal tax for another, thus meeting the legal requirement for a majority vote.)

The whole argument, of course, is moot so long as Schwarzenegger refuses to sign the $18 billion package, as he has since it passed.

Negotiations continue, though the governor's office has indicated little progress has been made.

With that stalemate being, well, stale, other budget-balancing plans are popping up.

In his column today, Dan Walters outlines a plan to net the state some money through redevelopment agencies:

Under the deal now being weighed, the state would allow city redevelopment agencies to extend local redevelopment projects now scheduled to expire, without having to meet recently enacted reforms, including proving the existence of blight. In return, the redevelopment agencies would float bonds secured by property taxes on those extended projects and share the borrowed money with the state. In effect, the state would be borrowing against itself, because it now is on the hook for about $2 billion a year in reimbursements to schools for the property taxes that redevelopment agencies retain - a state burden that would decrease slowly were the older projects to expire. But the deal would effectively allow the state to recapture some school money up-front.

Meanwhile, if you're expecting the State of the State address this week (it's usually the first full week of the year), don't hold your breath.

The Schwarzenegger administration has scheduled the big speech on Jan. 15.

No official word on why, but Kevin Yamamura reports the "speculation is that the governor may want to broker a midyear budget deal before he speaks to his fellow Californians. Perhaps it's better to have reached a partial budget solution than to explain that things in Sacramento are completely fouled up."

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