As the great Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
There are some forks in the road ahead for Governor Jerry Brown and his backers of a budget balanced, in part, with a new temporary tax increase.
And a fork in the road right here and now for your weekly aural dish on California politics.
On this week's Capital Notes Podcast, I'm joined by Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of the San Francisco Chronicle to talk about the road ahead for the tax measure and the governor.
This is, as I'll describe in detail later today here on the blog, the final podcast for the time being. Consider it a pause, perhaps, for a personnel reboot. In any event, we hope it'll tide our loyal listeners (and your emails really make it clear, you're loyal) until the next chapter begins here on the blog.
Things look different on California's political landscape as the new week begins, and it's not just because spring is around the corner. Change your scorecards from three tax increase initiatives... to two.
On a special Monday edition of the Capital Notes Podcast, Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I offer a recap of the very busy last few days -- the big deal struck between Governor Jerry Brown and liberal activists and the road ahead.
2:00 p.m. UPDATE: Governor Brown confirmed to reporters in southern California this afternoon that a deal has, in fact, been reached on a November tax initiative. As such, this posting includes updated information and has a slightly tweaked headline from its original form.
Multiple sources confirm a compromise is being crafted that would adhere in some ways to Brown's existing initiative -- mainly, by still including a small sales tax increase -- but would boost the income tax increase on the wealthy above where the governor has proposed, while still making all of the taxes temporary.
But a more interesting question, it seems, is why isn't it ahead by more?
It's by no means a perfect way to measure the eventual outcome at the polls, but money often talks loudest in campaigns for or against ballot measures in California. And at this juncture, the money recorded in publicly filed fundraising reports has some interesting things to say.
In a nutshell: tobacco is king... and Governor Jerry Brown's dialing for dollars is paying off.
But this year, the discussion in Sacramento may be almost exclusively about rich Californians -- specifically, how many of their tax dollars can lawmakers reasonably expect to collect?
Now, they've got something on which to base their opposition: a study by CalPERS that suggests such a system may not be all it's cracked up to be.
The report released late Tuesday concludes that Brown's plan (at least in as much as a work-in-progress could be analyzed) would "lower retirement benefits for new employees and shift the risk from employers to employees."
In a speech running a little more than 11 minutes, and after volunteers handed out glossy signs that proclaimed, "Stand With Jerry," the governor told the party faithful to stand down… for now… on the tax issue.
"You'll get your marching orders soon enough," said Brown in a muted comment about the proposal.
Maybe all those years spent on the rough seas of California politics help explain why, so far, Governor Jerry Brown has charted a pretty successful course for his November tax initiative.
But there's a lot more sailing to be done before the voyage is complete. On this week's Capital Notes Podcast, we discuss Brown's cruise so far -- from successful fundraising to a good showing in the latest statewide poll.
Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I also discuss this week's lawsuit filed by legislative leaders over the boundaries (or even existence) of the role for a state controller in the annual budget process.
Note that we discuss the possibility of a redistricting ruling by the California Supreme Court (as we taped this on Thursday). Guess Anthony's source was right; that ruling is due at 10:00 a.m.
But dig deeper into the poll and it's pretty clear that were it not for the linkage to schools, the Brown proposal would either be less popular... or fail to break the 50-percent barrier altogether.