California Supremes Rule, Redevelopment is History

December 29, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Government · 7 Comments 

The ruling from the California Supreme Court means that, absent legislative intervention, local redevelopment agencies must close their doors.

In a ruling that is no doubt sending shock waves through city halls across California, the state Supreme Court has ruled that only half of a state budget proposal diverting redevelopment dollars is legal. That split decision means that more than 400 local redevelopment agencies must cease operations -- for good -- sometime in 2012.

As it turns out, the comment made during last month's court hearing by the attorney representing the state. "The redevelopment agencies took a gamble on this lawsuit," said deputy state attorney Ross Moody.

And it's a gamble they lost.
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Podcast: The Political Pros

December 23, 2011 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

While we political reporters like to think we live and breathe the goings-on under the state Capitol dome and on the campaign trail, we've got nothing on political consultants and strategists.

And so this pre-Christmas edition of the Capital Notes Podcast features two of the state's most interesting -- and lively -- politicos: Democratic strategist Jason Kinney and Republican strategist Julie Soderlund.

We take a look back at the year in review -- from the governor's tax negotiations to battles over pensions and more. We also check in on the battles brewing for the big 2012 election season.

Next week, it's the journalists' turn at the greatest hits of 2011.

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Podcast: Trigger Blues

December 16, 2011 · Filed Under Podcasts · 1 Comment 

Chances are when you sing one the holiday season's most familiar songs, it doesn't start out this way: "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, $980 million in budget cuts."

And yet on the first day of Christmas 2011 -- assume you celebrate, as the song does, 12 days -- that's what arrived for California. More deep cuts and, as we're told, more on the way.

This week's Capital Notes Podcast takes a closer look at Governor Jerry Brown's announcement of the automatic spending cuts. Kevin Yamamura of the Sacramento Bee and I also discuss the budget context in which these cuts will play out, as well as a look at the fiscal and tax fights looming for 2012.

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Brown Announces Some, Not All, Budget Trigger Cuts

December 13, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, Taxes, The Governor · Comments Off 

KQED/John Myers

California's Latin-fluent governor, as he likes to do, invoked the ancient language when asked what he would say to millions of the state's citizens impacted by about $1 billion in automatic, and immediate, budget cuts.

"Nemo dat non habet," said Governor Jerry Brown in a Capitol news conference. "It means, 'No man gives what he does not have.'"
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Reporter's Notebook: From Budget Cash to Court Clash

December 10, 2011 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, CA Politics, Elections · 1 Comment 

Few things make eyes bleary and heads throb more than reading government ledger sheets and complex, legalese court rulings. Throw in some minutiae about best budget practices and gubernatorial style... and you've got a full week.

Hence, the weekend cleanup from the Reporter's Notebook.
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Rethinking Budget Trigger Unlikely, Says Speaker

November 28, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget · 2 Comments 

Pool/Hector Amezcua

Assembly Speaker John Perez isn't ruling it out -- never say never, one supposes -- but nonetheless says that talk of the Legislature stopping, or even just rejiggering, the budget's automatic spending cuts isn't likely to go anywhere.

"I don’t know of another approach that has greater support than the triggers that we already voted on," said Perez in comments to reporters after today's long and contentious meeting of the regents of the University of California.
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Podcast: Trigger Talk

November 18, 2011 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

And now, the final debate of the 2011 budget saga: was the $2 billion trigger cut provision a fiscal insurance policy, a risky bet for millions who depend on targeted services, or simply a political necessity in a very polarized statehouse?

As we discuss in this week's Capital Notes Podcast, the answer is hard to glean so far -- in part, because no one's quite sure how much of the trigger will be pulled. Yes, even if it will be pulled.

Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I take a quick look at the details of -- and reaction to -- this week's important revenue forecast. We also discuss the politics of additional cuts, and what Governor Jerry Brown's own team might offer in its revenue projection due next month.

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Don't Cut Higher Ed. And Don't Ask Me to Pay More!

November 16, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, Education, Taxes · 14 Comments 

Say what you will about Californians, but when it comes to their desires and demands about government services, they are consistently inconsistent.

A newly released statewide poll shows that while large majorities of residents are angry... even downright depressed... about the funding of public colleges and universities, most are unwilling to pay any additional taxes to solve the problem.
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LAO Predicts Trigger Pulled On Budget Cuts

November 16, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Economy · Comments Off 

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 state will take in $3.7 billion less revenue than the budget signed by Governor Jerry Brown, thus paving the way for potential automatic cuts of almost $2 billion to K-12 schools, higher education, and social services.
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California Supreme Court Slugfest Over Redevelopment

November 10, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget · 4 Comments 

AP/Jeff Chiu

SAN FRANCISCO -- The crux of the legal fight waged this morning in front of California's seven Supreme Court justices seems to be who controls the fate of local redevelopment agencies: legislators or voters?

And even then, is that fate a zero sum game -- that is, must the agencies continue to exist exactly as they are now? Or not at all?
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