Gov. Brown's plan to raise nearly $7 billion annually through a new tax on the wealthy and an increase in sales taxes has a big problem -- it's about $2 billion short. That's the assessment of the nonpartisan legislative analyst.
From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "The state's top fiscal analyst says Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hike would raise $2.1 billion less than he is banking on to balance his new budget, requiring deeper cuts than the governor proposed or more revenues if lawmakers use that estimate."
"The Democratic governor is counting on a voter-approved tax increase on sales and the wealthy to generate $6.9 billion for the 2012-13 budget. But the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office says Brown's plan would raise only $4.8 billion in the first budget cycle. The Analyst's Office and Department of Finance included their separate projections in a joint letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris that is required for ballot preparation."
And if the governor thinks his efforts are going well to clear rival tax initiatives off the ballot, he may be suprised to learn that the author of one of those measures, Molly Munger, just dumped $500,000 into her campaign. Kevin Yamamura reports.
"Civil rights attorney Molly Munger has contributed $500,000 toward her tax initiative to raise $10 billion annually for education, the first significant cash backing a measure that competes with Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal, according to a campaign statement posted today."
"Munger wants to raise income taxes on all but the poorest residents, with progressively higher rates up the income scale. She has filed two versions of her initiative; one would give the money entirely to education, another would provide $3 billion in state budget relief on top of money for schools. The money flowed in two contributions for $100,000 and $400,000 to the new "Our Children, Our Future," campaign committee."
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, who was arrested recently for shoplifting at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, has pleaded no contest to the charges and apologized for the incident. The Times' Michael Mishak tells the tale.
"Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) offered a public apology Monday after pleading no contest last week to charges that she tried to shoplift $2,500 in clothes from the Neiman Marcus in San Francisco."
"The lawmaker has stated that she simply forgot to pay for the items — which included a white blouse, black skirt and leather pants — because she was talking on her cellphone and got distracted. In a statement released by her office Monday, Hayashi said that although a benign brain tumor "may have complicated the situation," she takes full responsibility for the incident."
The question of whether a brain tumor could have affected Hayashi's udgment -- as she and her lawyer both suggested -- raises questions about whether any of her other actions have been clouded, including her activities in the Legislature.
From the Bee's Jim Sanders and Torey Van Oot: "The Castro Valley Democrat declined Monday to discuss the brain tumor, when it was diagnosed, or what role it played when she walked away from a Neiman Marcus without paying for nearly $2,500 in clothing – a pair of leather pants, a black skirt and a white blouse."
"Hayashi's attorney, Douglas Rappaport, said Friday that a brain tumor impaired her decision-making but that it is being treated with medication and no longer affects her. Medical experts said Monday that it is very rare, however, for a brain tumor that does not require surgery to influence behavior so significantly."
Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg is sending signals again that he is interested in running for the state Senate against fellow Democrat Fran Pavley. The LA Daily News' Rick Orlov has the story.
"Strickland is expected to announce that he is giving up the Senate seat to run for the newly drawn 26th Congressional District, now that Rep. Elton Gallegly has announced his retirement."
"If Hertzberg gets in the race, he will be running against fellow Democrat and state Sen. Fran Pavley, whose district was redrawn and she now lives within the boundaries of the new 27th state Senate District."
The GOP faces a tough year in California and could lose congressional seats, says the House's No. 3 Republican, Kevin McCarthy.
From the OC Register's Brian Joseph: "In town to speak at the Public Policy Institute of California’s 2012 Speaker Series on California’s Future, McCarthy said this could be a tough year for California Republicans in Congress. He said it would “difficult” for the California GOP to pick up seats this year and acknowledged we “could lose some Republicans seats.”
"But McCarthy said he’s optimistic the things could change in three years, predicting a “renaissance” for the Republican Party as California voters grow more and more dissatisfied with the Democrats who dominate the state. In fact, McCarthy suggested that the Democrats’ dominance would be their downfall, as voters would have no choice but to blame them for the state’s continuing problems."
The state will no longer allow counties to seek refunds of welfare payments that were made when the recipients were minors, reports Marisa Lagos in the SF Chronicle.
"The announcement was welcome news for one of the plaintiffs in that suit, a 19-year-old Riverside County woman whose was being asked to repay $766 mistakenly given to her mother four years ago. But the other family named in the lawsuit, headed by Fresno County resident Clarence Ayers - who receives $334 a month to help raise his 14-year-old great-granddaughter, Irene - will still be on the hook, said attorney Patti Prunhuber."
"That's because the state decided only to halt collections from former recipients, she said. In cases where the recipient is a minor who is still receiving welfare, county welfare agencies will be allowed to continue pursuing the debt, said Prunhuber. The Public Interest Law Project in Oakland, where she works, filed the suit in November."
And now for those of you who want the gift that keeps on giving, how about a tattoo? Our Art and Alcohol file notes that a rum company is giving away 101 free ones. It's that connection between booze and tattoos that makes this so attractive.
"Chicago landlubbers can get the permanent look of the salty high seas thanks to a free tattoo extravaganza Saturday sponsored by a spiced rum company."
"Sailor Jerry, purveyor of 92 proof spiced rum, is offering 101 complimentary Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins-designed tattoos between noon and midnight Saturday at the Chicago Tattooing and Piercing Company, 1017 W. Belmont. Tattoos are first come, first served and the limited designs include anchors, hearts dedicated to mom and dad, a shark and a growling wild cat’s head. Get there early — the tattoo shop is expecting a crowd."
We like the growling cat's head and the line, "I'm no pussy."