Today is get-away day, as both the Senate and Assembly are expected to vote on a budget deal that was reached by the governor and legislative leaders earlier this week.
The Register draws the charts
on the budget deal scheduled for a vote in both houses today. In it, they find that the "amount of highly doubtful revenue included" in the budget has dropped from $2.6 billion last year to $625 million this year, fees have increased $219 million
and that the budget leaves a deficit next year of $4.9 billion
Dan Weintraub notes that the $4.9 billion deficit
is "down from $15 billion when [the governor] took office, and projections show the red ink slowly shrinking each year in the future. In California these days, that's what passes for progress.
The Merc's Gladstone and Folmar ask
: "As lawmakers prepare to vote today on the compromise $117.5 billion spending plan, this question remains: Will the spirit of bipartisanship, compromise and shared sacrifice last? Or is it only a cease-fire in the sniping over the coming Nov. 8 special election prompted by the need to secure a two-thirds vote to pass a budget?"
To quote a phrase, that is the question: Will there be another deal on the special election ballot
"The governor wants a deal on the "Live Within Our Means" budget reform measure. Meanwhile, "[Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez
] wants a universal accord
on the spending measure, an initiative to change the way the state draws its legislative boundaries and an initiative to force public employee unions to obtain individual members' annual written consent before spending dues money on politics. Schwarzenegger has not endorsed the union dues measure but could use his potential support as leverage in negotiations with Democrats."
And hey, if there happens to be a deal that would allow him to remain speaker for the next ten years, that'd be nice too.
Senate pro tem Don Perata
's strategy is a bit different. "'We will make mistake after mistake in my judgment if in fact we try to do something hastily,' said Perata, D-Oakland. 'I will always sit down and talk with him ... (but) it would take a lot of convincing for me to focus my attention over the next six weeks on the initiatives that he has placed on the ballot
KQED's John Meyer looks at the deadline date for a deal to be worked out.
"A spokesperson for Secretary of State Bruce McPherson
is now advising that the deadline for the Legislature and governor to place any item on the ballot is Thursday, July 21st... only two weeks away. In a brief Q&A this afternoon during a meeting of his Cabinet, Schwarzenegger said he has been told that the deadline is the first week of August."
Now that the budget deal is done, the governor has dealt away a key bargaining chip in any effort to make a universal deal. Unions are still worried about paycheck protection, and Nuñez would love a term limits deal, but there are a lot of Democrats who feel they can, and should, take on and defeat Schwarzenegger at the polls this fall.
Speaking of unions, the Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State is out with a new poll
this morning. "While California voters' approval of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has fallen to 41%
and their disapproval has risen to 50%, those same voters, by a margin of 57-32%, overwhelmingly approve of unions -- the "special interests" the governor has labeled the source of the state's political and financial woes."
"'Attempts to frame the political debate in California as a battle between Gov. Schwarzenegger and his reforms on the one hand versus greedy unions and special interests on the other hand have yet to gain much traction,' said SPRI Director Phil Trounstine
(Trounstine, of course, was Gray Davis
' communications director, and Republicans have long taken issue with his group's poll numbers.)
George Skelton reviews the implications of the numbers
. [The poll] "shows why such a broad agreement is crucial for Schwarzenegger's political future. And, conversely, it illustrates why Democrats are increasingly cool toward compromise: They think the Republican governor has trapped himself in a special election he's unlikely to win.
The LA Times's Robert Salladay looks into the governor's psyche
by talking to the authors of two recent books. "'He's a man who his whole life has had this joyful quality to him,' [biographer Lawrence] Leamer
said in an interview. 'Now it's beginning to look like Lyndon Johnson in the White House. The protesters are out there in big numbers…. He is alone. Only Arnold can get himself out of this now.
"'He is a very Nietzschean figure, there is no question about it,' [author Gary] Indiana said. 'The obduracy is something you have to be in awe of. This is somebody who will just beat the wall until the wall breaks.
Yes, that's Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York or Rome
... (sorry, couldn't resist).
Aside from his Freudian duties, Salladay has been looking through campaign finance reports and finds that both Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Phil Angelides
have been fundraising from firms with interests in official state decisions
Much has been made of the governor's fundraising, but Salladay's story officially begins open season on the Democratic front-runner
. "Angelides has taken donations from nearly two dozen law firms authorized to advise the state on California's bond market. A spokesman for Angelides said the attorneys were hired based "on the advice from the professional staff" at the treasurer's office. Among out-of-state law firms, Nixon Peabody LLP of New York and its attorneys donated nearly $43,000 to Angelides between 2000 and 2003. This year, they consulted with the treasurer's office on a University of California bond sale worth $344 million."
Speaking of fundraising, a couple of big checks moved yesterday, including another $300,000 from Bill Simon
to his campaign for state treasurer. In AD 53, Republican Greg Hill moved $100,000 into his campaign coffers
for the Assembly race in AD 53.
And on the subject of special elections, B-1 Bob may be eyeing a comeback
in the race to replace Rep. Chris Cox
. " Dornan, 72, is weighing whether to abandon the GOP and run as a candidate for the American Independent Party."