Podcast: The Road Ahead

March 23, 2012 · Filed Under Podcasts · 4 Comments 

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.

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Podcast: The Deal

March 19, 2012 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

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.

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Tax Initiative Deal Struck, Gathering Signatures Will Be Pricey

March 14, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Elections, Taxes · 3 Comments 

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.

Is there time for a compromise tax initiative? (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty)

By all indications, there's now a détente in the works that would head off the otherwise expected November ballot clash between Governor Jerry Brown and liberal activists over a tax increase.

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.
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Brown's Tax Is Ahead, But Why Not By More?

March 7, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, Taxes, The Governor · 20 Comments 

52% in the new poll support Gov. Brown's tax plan. (Photo: Getty/Justin Sullivan)

A brand new statewide poll shows Governor Jerry Brown's temporary tax increase initiative slightly ahead with voters. And that's no doubt a good thing if you're the governor.

But a more interesting question, it seems, is why isn't it ahead by more?
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Some Initiatives Flush With Cash, Others Bare

March 6, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, Elections · 2 Comments 

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.
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The Great Capitol Capital Gains Debate

February 27, 2012 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Economy · Comments Off 

How much money will come from the richest Californians?

For years, we've all talked about how dependent California government is on the taxes paid by the state's most wealthy. Those dollars, often coming from their investments, can fluctuate from changes in the economy or tax policy.

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?
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The Costs of Brown's Pension Plan... In Money and Politics

February 15, 2012 · Filed Under CA Government, The Governor · 4 Comments 

Brown's pension plan is the Capitol's hot potato. (Photo: Getty/Max Whittaker)

For weeks, the conventional wisdom around the Capitol has been that Governor Jerry Brown's proposal to create a hybrid pension/401(k) system for future government employees faced long odds with legislative Democrats.

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."
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Dems Day 2: Brown Passes on Tax Pitch

Brown skips any tax initiative pitch. (Photo: John Myers/KQED)

SAN DIEGO -- Well, so much for the notion that Governor Jerry Brown would use his big speech at the California Democratic Party convention to pitch his November tax increase initiative.

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.
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Podcast: Sales Pitch

January 27, 2012 · Filed Under Podcasts · 1 Comment 

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.

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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.

If Not For Schools, Would Brown's Tax Hike Be A Dud?

January 24, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, Education, Taxes, The Governor · 5 Comments 

A new survey finds voters disapprove of more education cuts. Is that driving support for Brown's tax hike?

Governor Jerry Brown will no doubt love the headline out of the brand new statewide public poll: 68% of likely voters say they support his November initiative to raise taxes and earmark the money for public schools.

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.
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