Friday, February 6, 2009


 “The one safe bet seems to be that there will be no public hearings and no opportunity for public input on major decisions that will shape California for years, if not decades, to come.”

Jean Ross | California Budget Project

Wed, 4 Feb 2009 22:34:00  - Some of you may wonder why, and even be frustrated by the fact that, we haven’t been blogging about the status of budget negotiations. That’s because a virtually impenetrable cone of silence has descended upon the Capitol. Secrecy in budget negotiations is nothing new. However, the level of secrecy around budget negotiations that reached a new high last summer has been far surpassed by the lack of information in the current negotiations. While rumors fly daily - often several times a day - as to when a vote on a budget deal may occur, these rumors are neither confirmed nor denied by those truly in the know.

The one safe bet seems to be that there will be no public hearings and no opportunity for public input on major decisions that will shape California for years, if not decades, to come. The taxes and spending cuts that are likely to be included will no doubt be drawn from some combination of the Governor’s proposals and plans supported by Legislative Democrats in late 2008. However, there are increasing signs that additional measures, such as a “hard” spending cap and sizeable tax cuts for the state’s largest corporations, may also be part of the package. The cone of silence has been particularly airtight with respect to “add ons” such as these. No details have been made available to rank and file lawmakers or the public that would enable a critical assessment of the impact they might have on current and future budgets.


more from CBP:
  • Another Urban Legend
    Posted: Fri, 06 Feb 2009 01:26:40 +0000

    A recent comment on our blog post reminded us of a persistent, but factually incorrect, rumor frequently heard in state policy circles - that rich people are leaving California in droves for states with lower personal income tax rates. Curious to find out whether this was actually true, CBP staff dove into data provided by [...]

  • The Personal Income Tax Is Not the Problem
    Posted: Wed, 04 Feb 2009 01:16:37 +0000

    One of the frequently cited causes of California’s budget crisis is “revenue volatility” - the fluctuations in state income tax revenues that occur when income tax collections, primarily taxes collected on capital gains, rise and fall during boom and bust periods. In fact, a key goal of the Governor’s Commission on the 21st Century Economy [...]

  • Congress Poised To Approve Children’s Health Coverage Bill
    Posted: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 00:13:03 +0000

    After more than one year of waiting - and two vetoes by former President Bush - Congress is poised to approve a bill that will help California significantly increase the number of children with health coverage. The House and Senate have approved bills to renew, or “reauthorize,” the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) with [...]

  • A Proposed Hard Cap on Spending Is Misguided
    Posted: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 22:04:48 +0000

    We’ve been swamped lately at the CBP with budget-related work. That’s why we’re just now getting around to posting this op-ed written by CBP Executive Director Jean Ross that appeared in the Los Angeles Times yesterday. In the op-ed, Jean examines a Republican proposal to place a hard spending cap on the ballot in exchange [...]

  • Sowing the Seeds of Future Budget Problems
    Posted: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 00:27:59 +0000

    Press reports and the rumor mill suggest that lawmakers may be close to reaching agreement on a deal that attempts to address most, if not all, of the state’s $40 billion budget gap. A reasonable voter might wonder why, in the face of an impending cash flow crisis, reaching an agreement is so difficult. One [...]

  • California Stands To Receive Nearly $20 Billion Under House Economic Recovery Plan
    Posted: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 01:43:06 +0000

    Our colleagues at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) have released preliminary analyses of the state-by-state impact of the House Economic Recovery Plan. The CBPP estimates that California would receive $11.1 billion from provisions that would increase the federal government’s share of Medicaid spending (Medi-Cal in California) in the current and next two [...]

  • Limiting California’s Future - An Elaboration
    Posted: Thu, 22 Jan 2009 19:30:07 +0000

    We received a number of good questions on yesterday’s post. Explaining the impact of a hard budget cap is a tough thing to do in a blog post! The $31.2 billion figure is the difference between budgeted 2008-09 General Fund spending and the level of spending that would be allowed under a cap similar to that [...]

  • Limiting California’s Future
    Posted: Thu, 22 Jan 2009 00:25:49 +0000

    Republican lawmakers have called for the Legislature to place a “hard spending cap” on the ballot in return for Republican support of a tax increase to help close the state’s budget gap. First, it is important to note that California already has a hard cap in the state’s constitution. In fact, we’ve had one since [...]

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