In what has become something of annual ritual, we have the announcement from the state controller that California will run out of cash absent some immediate action from the Legislature and governor. It may even be true, too.
From the Chronicle's Wyatt Buchanan: "The controller said the overarching problem is that, as of the end of the calendar year, the state was spending $2.6 billion more than was included in the budget while tax revenue coming into state coffers was $2.6 billion below projections."
"He said $3.3 billion must somehow be found if the state is going to bridge the seven-week cash shortfall period, but the situation could get worse if there is more overspending and further reductions in tax income."
Well-heeled interests are lining up behind Gov. Brown's tax-hike initiative to raise money for schools and public safety. The governor already has raised $1.7 million for the November campaign and more money is on the way.
From the Merc's Steve Harmon: "In the past two weeks, two business groups -- the Occidental Petroleum Corporation and the American Beverage Association -- pitched in $250,000 apiece to his ballot committee, Californians to Protect Schools, Universities and Public Safety."
"The governor has raised $1.7 million as his campaign begins to collect signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot, according to campaign finance reports released Tuesday. No committee has yet been formed to oppose the tax measure."
Today, Feb. 1, is the shutdown deadline for hundreds of redevelopment agencies across California, but the Senate approved a measure that would let them set aside some $1.4 billion to be used exlusively for affordable housing. It's the first legislation to emerge from a house since the courts upheld the governor's decision to abolish the agencies and tap their funds.
From the Press-Enterprise's Jim Miller: "Republican lawmakers refused to vote for the bill after Democrats blocked GOP efforts to change the measure. The Republicans wanted it to cover more than just affordable housing and address what local officials contend are major problems with the law shutting down redevelopment agencies."
"That prompted the bill’s author, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, to change the measure so it could pass on a majority vote. The amended measure, however, would not take effect until next January."
The growth of decline-to-state voters continues in California -- now representing a fifth of the electorate -- while Democrats and Republicans alike have seen slight decreases in their parties' registrations. Democrats, however, remain dominant 44 percent to 30 percent over the GOP in overall registration.
From the LAT's Phil Willon: "It’s been this way for two decades," said Allan Hoffenblum, a former GOP strategist who analyzes election contests in his nonpartisan California Target Book. "The Republican Party’s greatest problem, as far as its ability to increase the number of Republican legislators, continues to be the weak registration numbers."
"The Democratic Party increased its edge in voter registration in California’s newly drawn congressional districts, which could aid the party’s efforts of recapturing the House of Representatives in Washington. Democrats account for a majority of voters in 39 of California’s 53 congressional districts, compared to a majority in 33 a year ago. The state’s congressional delegation is represented by 34 Democrats and 19 Republicans."
The state Assembly, on partisan lines, rejected an attempt to force more public disclosure on independent expenditure committees, those campaign committees that have poured millions of dollars into races in California in recent years and play a critical role in the flow of political cash.
From the Bee's Jim Sanders: "The Assembly rejected legislation today that would have required independent expenditure comittees to provide more disclosure of their contributors in backing candidates or ballot measures."
"Assembly Bill 1148 fell two votes short of the two-thirds supermajority required for passage. Every Democrat but Cathleen Galgiani of Livingston supported it, and every Republican but Nathan Fletcher of San Diego opposed it or did not vote. The final tally was 52-26."