Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate

February 8, 2012 · Filed Under CA Budget, Education, Taxes · 2 Comments 

Erasing a 2009' corporate tax break has been a target of Democrats for years. (Photo: KQED/John Myers)

For the last several years, Democrats have been relentless at trying to undo a hotly debated tax incentive for large corporations that was signed into law as part of the 2009 deal. And now they're launching another shot.

The 2012 edition of "Cancel That Corporate Tax Break" at the state Capitol kicks off with a novel, and perhaps politically powerful, proposal from Assembly Speaker John Perez: use the resulting $1 billion in extra tax revenue to dramatically downsize the cost of a college education for middle-class families.
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Capitol Ponders Post-Redevelopment World

January 12, 2012 · Filed Under CA Government, Legislation · 8 Comments 

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters this morning that he's not closing the door on pleas to postpone the dissolution of local redevelopment agencies.

But let's admit it: the door is on one of those automatic arms that closes by itself, and Steinberg isn't jumping up to prop it open.

As such, the conversation inside the state Capitol is likely soon to turn to what California's post-redevelopment world will look like... and Steinberg is cooking up an interesting idea.
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Speaker Perez: Fix Water Bond. And More.

January 4, 2012 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Government · 2 Comments 

"There are superfluous projects that are included in that water bond," says Assembly Speaker John Perez. (File Photo: Getty/Justin Sullivan)

As the Legislature returns to Sacramento, the leader of the lower house is sounding confident but cautious on some of the more challenging issues in year ahead.

And so the headlines from an interview with Assembly Speaker John Perez in his Capitol office: shrink November's massive state water bond, keep high speed rail on track, be cautious on the budget, find an alternative to local redevelopment agencies.
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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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5 Questions I Wasn't Supposed to Think About on Vacation

September 6, 2011 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, CA Government, CA Politics · Comments Off 

There's a sort of unwritten, and yet often violated rule, when my family goes on vacation: don't keep checking your smartphone. I didn't break it too often while visiting my waterlogged family on the coast of North Carolina this past week, but the peeks I took left me with some nagging questions.

And the questions will no doubt shape my approach as a reporter to the upcoming final four days of the 2011 legislative year here in Sacramento.

In no particular order...
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Brown Joins Dems In Budget Deal

June 27, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, The Governor · 2 Comments 

Getty/Justin Sullivan

Assuming Democratic legislative leaders have their ducks in a row, by Tuesday night the 2011 budget fight could be one for the record books, after confirmation today that Governor Jerry Brown has closed party ranks on a budget that is missing the one thing Brown has seemed to long for all year long: a stamp of bipartisanship.

To hear the governor tell it, of course, it's not for his lack of trying. In fact, the great question to be answered in the weeks and months to come: did Brown's plan -- a package of extended taxes he wanted ratified by voters -- die for lack of Republican clarity on side issues, Democratic refusal to deal on those side issues, or both?
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Legislators Lose Pay. See You In Court?

June 21, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget · 13 Comments 

Getty/Justin Sullivan

Given the hard-to-be-lower approval ratings of the California Legislature, there's likely to be a lot of cheers around the state today from Controller John Chiang's decision to cancel the salary and expense payments for the 120 men and women who serve in the Assembly and Senate.

But inside the big domed building just down the street from Chiang's office here in Sacramento it's jeers, not cheers. And the political and legal battle surely to be launched by the actions of the state's chief financial officer add yet another historic footnote to a budget season chock full of noteworthy moments.
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Brown Blocks Dems' Budget Shot

June 16, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, The Governor · 12 Comments 

In a move that set the Capitol ablaze with chatter and -- depending on your company -- either praise or scorn, Governor Jerry Brown today vetoed the budget sent to him less than 24 hours ago by his fellow Democrats.

"California is facing a fiscal crisis, and very strong medicine must be taken," said Brown from behind his desk in a video posted on YouTube.

So now what?
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Democrats Craft Budget Sans GOP

June 14, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget · 2 Comments 

File Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli

We may never know for sure where the point of no return was passed in bipartisan budget talks this year, but it now seems clear that those talks are all but over and that Democrats have a majority vote plan in place to send to Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday.

No election in 2011, no immediate extension of hotly debated taxes, and -- in the wake of last fall's Proposition 25 -- no need for Republican legislators to be consulted.
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Budget Status Fluid... or Solidifying?

March 2, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget · Comments Off 

In these days leading up to Governor Jerry Brown's big deadline for budget action, most of us who spend our time sniffing around the statehouse for something interesting are finding the task pretty tough.

Yes, that means journalists are now less fulfilled than 'first dog' Sutter.

Even so, one seems to get the sense that the ground is shifting; it's just hard to tell whether the movement means stability or free-fall.
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