State Treasurer Bill Lockyer lashed out at lawmakers again Thursday, warning of dire consequences of a protracted budget
The Chron's Matthew Yi reports, "State Treasurer Bill Lockyer issued a dire warning
on Thursday that
California's plummeting credit rating could halt thousands of
public works projects - such as the construction of roads, levees and
With everyone focused on education, many groups who
thought they might be safe a couple of weeks ago are
now realizing they're going to take a budget hit, if and when we ever
get a deal.
Among the groups that are going to be hit will be local
"California cities and counties will take a multibillion-dollar hit to help close the state's massive budget gap," The Bee's Jim Sanders reports.
"Bolstering state coffers with local government funds
revenue lost by killing proposals to hike taxes on
an oil extraction tax and raise vehicle registration
fees to bankroll state park.
"A three-pronged revenue package totaling more than $4 billion this year
from cities, counties and special districts is the
within budget negotiations according to multiple sources
familiar with the talks.
"Senate Republican leader Dennis Hollingsworth is pushing an alternative idea, involving borrowing
against redevelopment funds, but it likewise involves
That's the stuff most of the negotiatiors can agree on.
The sticky question still seems to be how to repay
schools. It boils down to this: Gov. Schwarzenegger is willing to promise that, over
time, schools will be paid back $11 billion or so that they won't get in funding. Democrats and education groups want
more than a promise -- they want a Constitutional guarantee.
The LAT's Eric Bailey reports the current problem is showing the limitations of the
formula that determines school funding.
"Proposition 98, the law that guarantees public schools roughly 40% of
general fund revenue, is being tested as it has been
only a few times
"Schwarzenegger has talked of suspending Proposition
98 and has
reopened a battle with the law's guardian and protector, the powerful
California Teachers Assn. Both sides have waged war
over the airwaves
for the last week, with dueling TV commercials typically
not seen in a
Mike Zapler bravely attempts to explain the problem in English.
"Schwarzenegger says he
favors repaying schools the $11 billion they've lost. But he opposes
doing so in a way that would commit the state by law
to a higher
funding level for schools going forward. Instead, he's offered to
support stand-alone legislation promising repayment, without writing
more permanent change into Proposition 98. Such built-in funding
commitments, an aide to the governor noted, are partly
the state's budget problems.
"All of the sudden we were asked
yesterday to change the (state) Constitution," Schwarzenegger told
reporters, "and to commit ourselves to future spending. And I said
are not going to do that."
The Democrats and the teachers union,
by contrast, argue that tweaking Proposition 98 as part of the budget
agreement is the only way to assure schools are made
whole from recent
budget cuts. The governor's way, they say, would be difficult to
enforce and leave the state exposed to a court challenge
groups opposed to more spending, which could potentially
billions of dollars.
"Our position is very clear: When times get
better, we want to guarantee that education gets paid
back the money,
that kids receive the money that they are owed," Senate President Pro
Tem Darrell Steinberg said late Wednesday after negotiations stalled.
complicating matters is the tense relationship between
association and Schwarzenegger. In 2005, the teachers led a successful
drive to defeat a slate of ballot measures the governor
reform state government — a stinging defeat that effectively ended his
early honeymoon with voters.
The governor and teachers
association have gotten along well enough since then.
But angered by
Schwarzenegger's recent proposal to suspend Proposition 98 — an idea
he's since dropped — the teachers association this month launched a $1
million-plus TV ad campaign blasting Schwarzenegger over his
public school funding."
Get it? Got it? Good. Moving on...
The LAT's Shane Goldmacher reports, Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday appointed Jerome Horton, a
business-friendly former Democratic lawmaker, to the state tax
"The choice is likely to shift the balance of power
on the Board of
Equalization, which, despite its low public profile,
influence over corporate taxes.
Horton's appointment is a coup for California's business lobby, which has regular dealings with the
STOP THE PRESSES! Turns out there's brown grass in Golden Gate Park! Somebody do something
Also from Planet San Francisco, a local fundraiser
is trying to raise money for police dogs to have bullet-proof vests.
"There are 200 police dogs in the Bay Area, but only half of them
have bulletproof vests," Merideth May reports.
"The custom-fit vests are $1,700 apiece and are too expensive for most beleaguered
police department budgets.
"Michael Levy, former police dog trainer and founder of the San
Francisco-based Pet Food Express, will donate all the proceeds
in-store self-service dog washes this Saturday to the Western States
Police Canine Association to buy vests for police dogs.
The fundraiser will be held at all 34 Pet Food Express stores, from Petaluma to Carmel.