It's now official: We're back in budget season. Denis Theriault looks at the state's grim fiscal picture."For
California's limping finances, there was some good news Tuesday:
Monthly tax revenues exceeded projections for only
the sixth time in
more than two years.
"Of course, there also was a dollop of bad
news: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office announced that this year's
budget, stitched together in July with accounting tricks
fixes, is already about $5 billion to $7 billion in the red.
turns out several of those fixes — among them, prison cuts the
Legislature never approved and a transit funding grab
that a court
slapped down — didn't materialize.
"Also, despite Tuesday's report
from Controller John Chiang that October's tax revenues were $285
million ahead of projections, revenues for the fiscal year to date are
still trailing projections by nearly $1 billion."
"State Sen. Dave Cogdill said Tuesday he will not seek a second term so he can return to the private sector," reports E.J Schultz.
announcement comes a day after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed
that Cogdill, R-Modesto, was on his short list for lieutenant governor.
The governor told the The Fresno Bee editorial board
that he will
announce his pick within two weeks to replace Democrat
who was elected to Congress last week.
Cogdill's announcement also set off speculation about the political future of former Assembly
GOP leader Mike Villines, who is currently running for insurance commissioner.
Villines lives in Cogdill's Senate district, and could wind up running for the
now-vacant Senate seat.
Dan Walters uses the interim as a time to catch up on some Legislature bashing . "It did not, however, include funds for analysis of
the Capitol's own supply of drinking water,
thereby denying us an opportunity to discover whether
it contains a
mysterious germ that compels legislative leaders to
do really dumb
"There must be something in the Capitol's drinking fountains. It just
can't be true that Steinberg, Bass, et al. are really as
their actions imply."
Meanwhile, the state's universities are slashing enrollment . Canan Tasci reports, "Facing $564 million in
budget cuts this fiscal year, Chancellor Charles B.
Tuesday that CSU campuses will need to reduce student
numbers by 40,000
over a two-year period in order to match student enrollment with
"CSU officials estimate the system has cut 4,000 students
for this fall semester. Campuses will see a larger
drop in the spring
in order to curtail enrollment, which includes the
From our Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death Files , Carol Williams reports some inmates aren't too upset with the latter.
supremacist gang hit man Billy Joe Johnson got what
he asked for from
the Orange County jury that convicted him of first-degree murder last
month: a death sentence.
"It wasn't remorse for his crimes or a
desire for atonement that drove him to ask for execution; it was the
expectation that conditions on death row would be more
in other maximum-security prisons and that any date with the
executioner would be decades away if it came at all.
"Capital punishment in California has become so bogged
down by legal
challenges as to be a nearly empty threat, say experts
on both sides of
"This is a dramatic reaffirmation of what we've
already known for some time, that capital punishment
takes way too long," Kent Scheidegger, legal director for the
law-and-order Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Sacramento,
Johnson's bet that he will live a long life on death row. "This guy
certainly feels like it's worth the risk."
And finally, we know some Star Wars fans treat the
movies like a religion, but now it seems a Washington D.C. church is getting into the act . "Darth Vader's sculpted image sits next to a raccoon as a gargoyle
200 feet up
America's national house of prayer. They were put on Washington
after kids entered designs in a competition.