Does California Need A Budget Cop?

June 26, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Government · 2 Comments 

The one thing that the recent debate over who gets to call a California budget balanced has shown... is that perhaps the old system has finally run its course.

For generations, legislators and governors promised that the state's fiscal plan penciled out. But now, in the era of perpetual deficits and polarized politics, traditional budget balancing has been replaced by creative accounting. And maybe what the state needs is a budget cop.
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Take It to the Limit... and Beyond?

June 6, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Government · Comments Off 

The television ad features a portly man at a restaurant table, being brought plate after plate of heaping portions, as the announcer mockingly says, "Tell him it's time the people took control of gluttonous government spending."

The commercial aired in the fall of 1979 as part of the ultimately successful campaign for Proposition 4, a constitutional amendment to limit government spending.

If there's one thing that Californians really want when it comes to ending the state’s seemingly endless cycle of fiscal chaos, it's a strict cap on government spending.

Except when they don't.
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You Go Your Way, I'll Go Mine

April 28, 2011 · Filed Under CA Government, CA Politics · 6 Comments 

Newcomers to California barely get their bags unpacked when someone, somewhere, starts griping about how the state is so big or its citizens so disagreeable that we ought to just crack it up into smaller pieces and go our own separate ways.

Which brings us to the budget fight of the spring of 2011.
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Brown's Redevelopment Firestorm

February 21, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Government · 3 Comments 

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Lost in the back-and-forth over Governor Jerry Brown's plan to shut down hundreds of local redevelopment agencies and funnel their property tax dollars elsewhere are a couple of pretty important questions: will the plan actually work? And is it driven by reform, or revenue?
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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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Jerry's Team: New Top Aides

January 5, 2011 · Filed Under CA Government, The Governor · Comments Off 

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Governor Jerry Brown started filling out the ranks of top staffers today, deciding to split the job of what used to be chief of staff, tapping all Democrats, and a former statewide official who made headlines for resigning 17 years ago after four felony convictions.

And his wife? A sort of formal role... and no paycheck.
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California's 2011 Political Watch List

December 31, 2010 · Filed Under CA Government, CA Politics · 5 Comments 

In just a matter of hours, the calendars will flip and the champagne will bubble, and we'll all wonder what lies ahead in the year to come.

But for those of us who watch California politics for a living, it's more fun to bring out the crystal ball for a sneak peek.
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Redistricting Panel: Glamorous, It Ain't

KQED/John Myers

When an attorney suggested this morning that the men and women who will draw California's political maps could benefit from snuggling up some weekend with a copy of the state's open meetings law, you could feel the reality set in.

California's newly chosen citizen redistricting experts have got quite a task on their hands, one that officially began today.
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Schwarzenegger's Huzzah, Brown's Huddle

November 16, 2010 · Filed Under CA Government, The Governor · Comments Off 

AP/Rich Pedroncelli

A glitzy summit of a governor's environmental achievements. A somber discussion of his successor's challenges. Such was the contrast of the day spent by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown.
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Brown, Whitman Lukewarm on Reform

October 20, 2010 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Government, CA Politics, Elections · 2 Comments 

John Myers/KQED

California simply needs a strong leader to solve what's ailing it; that's the implicit message of both of the major candidates for governor. Trouble is, voters have heard the same assessment of the problems before... and yet the problems persist.

This morning on The California Report, we examine what Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman have said on the subject of reforming the state's system of government, and find that it hasn't been much.
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