New Governor, Familiar Fight?

January 31, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, The Governor · 2 Comments 

AP/Steve Yeater

One wonders how much longer the relatively civil political climate that's dominated state politics these last few weeks can continue.

In fact, there's a case to be made that it ended Monday night... when Governor Jerry Brown publicly prodded legislative Republicans, and they quickly fired back.
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Podcast: Hard Surfaces

January 28, 2011 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

Governor Jerry Brown's quip about his office setup for meetings with legislators and others -- a picnic-like table and bench seating that he says keeps everyone from getting too comfortable -- may be the perfect metaphor for the times.

After all, things are uncomfortable all across California.

On this week's Capital Notes Podcast, we gauge how the governor is doing on his quest for a budget deal in just a matter of weeks -- a quest that met head first with some unhappy local officials this week.

Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I also examine this week's public poll that suggests the voters may be willing to go along with Brown's tough plan -- more willing, perhaps, than legislators or interest groups?

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Voters Want Brown's Special Election, Says Poll

January 26, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, Elections, The Governor · 2 Comments 

KQED/John Myers

For a new governor facing a mammoth state budget shortfall, a stubborn recession, and a polarized political world, Jerry Brown could probably use the good news that a brand new statewide poll offers.

The poll, just released, shows strong support for Brown's special statewide election on budget fixes, as well as reasonably strong support for his suggestion to erase California's deficit with a mix of cuts and taxes.
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So Very Much Budget Work To Do. And Soon.

January 24, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, The Governor · 2 Comments 

Getty/Justin Sullivan

It's often said that nothing focuses the mind so much as a deadline. And yet, there are always deadlines around Sacramento that are... well, flexible.

But this year, everyone seems to believe the deadline on Governor Jerry Brown's budget plan is real, which means that things are starting to get awfully busy on a number of fronts.
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Podcast: What's Not to Not Like?

January 21, 2011 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

If the political pressure is getting to Jerry Brown, he doesn't show it.

On this week's Capital Notes Podcast -- recorded in an "exotic" location -- we check in on the ever strengthening political storm over the governor's budget plans and the sense that, so far, Brown seems to be taking it in stride.

The Los Angeles Times' Anthony York along with myself and Juliet Williams of the Associated Press come to you from Berkeley, where the quadrennial post-mortem on the governor's race is being held this weekend. Brown's campaign team is here -- that of the GOP nominee... not so much.

And yes, we really did chat at the bar. Salut!

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Brown Dishes Jokes, Truth, to Locals

January 19, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, The Governor · 2 Comments 

AP/Rich Pedroncelli

Governor Jerry Brown knew what he was in for as he took the stage in front of a crowd of officials from California cities, angry over his plan to abolish redevelopment agencies.

"Has everybody eaten already?" asked Brown. "Because you look a little hungry to me."

The governor mixed humor and honesty for about 25 minutes in an effort to -- if not win over the crowd -- get them to acknowledge that the budget choices the state faces are all bad.
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Podcast: Budget Maneuvers

January 14, 2011 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

Governor Jerry Brown launched this week the great mission of his first year in office, perhaps his first term... and it's going to be quite a ride.

On this week's Capital Notes Podcast, we take our first look at the governor's budget -- and perhaps more importantly, the politics of the proposal.

As Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I discuss, Brown seems intent on a budget debate that gives a lot of potentially unhappy groups a vested interest in seeing it succeed.

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9:15 a.m. Update: A smart -- and well connected -- podcast listener writes in to say that, yes, the extension of the lower-than-it-used-to-be dependent tax credit (which is therefore a tax increase) is part of what the governor hopes to place on a June ballot.

Brown's Budget: Good Start. How Will It Finish?

January 12, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget · 4 Comments 

KQED/John Myers

Governor Jerry Brown racked up probably his last seal of approval today for the kickoff campaign in support of his budget proposal, a campaign that's shaping up more like a race.

And like any good race, what's much tougher is the hard slog from here on out... and whether you can make it across the finish line.

Today's tail wind out of the starting blocks came courtesy of a new report from the Legislature's non-partisan budget crunchers.
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Give Me the Phones, Says Brown

January 11, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Government, The Governor · 3 Comments 

Governor Jerry Brown has told as many as 48,000 state employees to hand in their cell phones, a cutback he estimates could cut $20 million in budget spending.

While it's true that every little bit helps a state in as much fiscal trouble as ours, it's also true that Brown's executive order is a nice bit of symbolism about making state government more frugal -- especially helpful when he's prepping for a statewide election on $12 billion in taxes.
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"We're Finally Facing the Music"

January 10, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, Elections, The Governor · Comments Off 

Justin Sullivan/Getty

The only thing a governor of California really has to spend these days is political capital. And on that front, Governor Jerry Brown seems to be going all in from the get-go.

Brown's new state budget, an 18-month proposal of almost equal parts tough cuts and tough taxes, has sparked brush fires in just about every part of the political world. And the veteran pol seems like he wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's going to be objected to," he told reporters this morning. "But there are going to be even more people who say, 'Thank God, we're finally facing the music.'"
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