"An emergency session called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
to address the state's budget crisis ended Tuesday night in bickering and party division. Legislators adjourned without taking any action that
improves the state's finances," report Evan Halper and Jordan Rau in the Times.
"The state's estimated budget shortfall has swelled to $28 billion through the middle of 2010.
"Democrats in the Senate and Assembly had proposed a
package that would have wiped out most of the deficit
by tripling car license fees and by cutting billions
of dollars from schools, healthcare, welfare and other
"The plan failed to gain the two-thirds majority needed for passage, however.
"The proposal would also have temporarily increased
income taxes on Californians earning more than $40,000 by $79 to $200 per year.
"In the end, GOP lawmakers balked at raising taxes.
"Democrats had presented the bill after efforts by legislative
leaders and the governor to reach a bipartisan compromise
collapsed Monday night.
"'It's like a kindergarten up there,' said Schwarzenegger, speaking to a group of reporters
outside his Capitol office, a floor below the Assembly
and Senate chambers."
"The governor, who signed a $103 billion general-fund budget in September that is projected to be more
than $11 billion out of balance, had harsh words for lawmakers who took international
trips in the last month," writed Jim Sanders and Kevin Yamamura in the Bee.
"'So I'm disappointed that they never took it seriously from
the beginning,' he said. 'We could see that they never came home from their vacations
to get in there and study.'"
"While Schwarzenegger tried to pin blame on the Legislature,
Senate President Pro Tem-elect Darrell Steinberg
, D-Sacramento, suggested the governor also bore responsibility
for the lack of a deal.
"'Look, I don't want to take big shots at the governor because I
do think the governor is at least willing to try to
solve the problem, but the fact of the matter is his
relationship with the Republican Legislature is pretty
well known,' Steinberg said. 'He can't get any votes out of them. That's just a fact of life.
The Chron's John Wildermuth writes: "...Republicans, repeating the stand they took during
the summer's long-running budget negotiations, said they were unwilling
to accept the new taxes without the guarantees they
sought for a state spending cap and economic stimulus,
which includes eliminating or revising a variety of
labor and environment regulations.
"'This won't solve the problem,' Villines said. 'We know we're going to have to come back and solve the problem.'"
Dan Walters assesses the situtation.
"So what happens now? The Democrats' new plan, if they're serious about it, does represent a marked change
in their position on the spending side. Republicans
hint – as does Schwarzenegger – that they might buy something like that if it is expanded
to include a so-called "economic stimulus" component that includes relaxation of some workplace
and environmental rules. But Democrats – and their allies in unions and environmental groups
– don't want to go there.
"It's still a game of chicken, with each side waiting to
see if the other will blink as the state edges closer
to a fiscal meltdown."
"Democrat Alyson Huber pulled ahead of Republican Jack Sieglock in the race for the 10th Assembly District late Tuesday, giving Huber a likely
victory in the hotly contested Assembly race," reports Capitol Weekly.
"The final vote is expected to be certified as early
as tomorrow, said sources close to both campaigns,
both of which conceded Huber was likely to win the
"After trailing Sieglock in the count for three weeks,
Huber held a 507 vote lead at the end of counting Tuesday. There are
a handful of provisional ballots left to count in Sacramento,
where Huber outpolled Sieglock, and about 200 ballots left in El Dorado County, a Sieglock stronghold.
But there were not believed to be enough remaining
ballots to change the final result."
Oopsie! to that well meaning Capitol staffer that put
up that "Jack Sieglock" sign on room 5175.
Also, Nicole Parra held court inside an office labeled for her Republican
successor Danny Gilmore, with Parra's name appearing under Gilmore's on Post-It notes.
Meanwhile, John Laird and Sheila Kuehl were able to look on the bright side of the disappointing
session after being named to the California Integrated Waste
Management board, which pays $132,178 per year.
Carole Migden was left off the trash truck.
Kuehl immediately proposed single-payer trash care for all Californians.
The Bee's Dan Weintraub reads the new Beacon Economics report on statewide
property taxes, which are projected to drop significantly over the
next few years.
"According to the Beacon report, property tax revenue
statewide grew from $23 billion in 2000 to an estimated $47 billion in 2008. Since the peak, however, home prices have declined
by more than 30 percent, which means many houses that changed hands
during the upswing are being reassessed at lower values,
not higher values, when they are sold again, often
as a result of foreclosures. In addition, people who
bought houses during the bubble and are holding onto
to them are beginning to take advantage of a provision
that allows them to have their assessments – and their tax bills – lowered.
"Finally, commercial property values, which held up
longer than they did in the housing market, are now
moving down, and the state could see a whole new wave
of foreclosures and property tax declines in that realm
"Beacon projects that all this will lead to an unprecedented
10 percent decline in property tax revenues before the
markets find their bottom. The firm sees three straight
years of shrinking property tax revenue before collections
begin to climb again in 2012. While that is still only a fraction of the associated
decline in property values, it would create havoc with
local budgets and services that depend heavily on property
taxes as a source of revenue.
"And even that estimate might be optimistic."
And as we get ready to celebrate the holiday, please remember to not run over yourself. Apparently, the warning comes too late for one Santa
The AP reports, "A 21-year-old man was accused of driving drunk and leading police
a chase that finally ended with him running over himself.
The man was
treated for minor injuries at a Santa Fe hospital and
booked in to the Sandoval County detention center on
charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated,
fleeing a police officer, careless driving and two
other outstanding traffic warrants.
narrowly missing other vehicles, police said the suspect
a ditch and a barbed-wire fence before stopping. He tried to put the
truck into park, but it ended up in reverse.
"Police said the man fell from his open door and both
of his legs were run over by the front driver's side tire."