Craig DeLuz

Writer, Actor, Public Speaker, Media Personality
Posts Tagged ‘Fiscal Crisis’

(Government) Jobs Bill overcomes filibuster and now has smooth road ahead

Once again Democrats with the help of a few soft minded Republicans have passed a massive spending bill to help keep state and local governments from having to make the tough decisions it will take to balance their budgets.
According to the Associated Press:
The $26 billion measure would help states ease their severe budget problems and – advocates said – stop the layoffs of nearly 300,000 teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees.
Where have we seen this before? Oh yeah… the Stimulus Bill. Remember that massive spending program that was supposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs? But what it mostly did was plug holes in state and local government budgets.
For example, in California stimulus spending was reported to have saved around 100,000 jobs. But a closer analysis found that 90% of those were government jobs; this at a time when the Golden State has actually increased the number of government jobs.
The sad part is that because the funding was for only one year, many of those jobs are on the chopping block this year. Not so fast! Here come the liberals to the rescue.
And what is their solution? Give states more money! This is like giving an alcoholic the keys to the freshly stocked liquor cabinet. They may be content for a while. But as soon as the well runs dry, they’ll be asking for your credit card to go shopping for more.
Any clear thinking individual has got to see that these same jobs are going to be on the line again next year as budget dollars will continue to be in scarce supply. Why keep putting off the cuts you know you are eventually going to have to make? A political payoff is the only explanation.

The current measure is heavily backed by unions for teachers and public employees, key allies of the Democratic Party. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ran ads Wednesday in four Maine newspapers urging Collins and Snowe to help break the filibuster.

Bailing out those who refuse to make responsible choices is a surefire way to ensure that they never have to. That is until we are no longer able to borrow or simply print the money to do so.

California government grows as private sector shrinks

With private sector jobs disappearing at an alarming rate, Assembly Republican Leader Martin Garrick, of Carlsbad, says in his weekly address that California must reduce the size of government to balance the budget. Here is the Assembly Republicans’ compilation of job statistics titled Real Facts: California Private Sector Job Loss vs. State Employee Job Cost.

California Unemployment Rate – 12.3%
Source: California Employment Development Department

Californians Currently Listed as Unemployed- 2.24 Million
Source: California Employment Development Department

Private Sector Jobs Lost in California Since 2005- 1,298,700
Source: California Employment Development Department

State Government Jobs Added Since 2005-  38,100
Source: California Employment Development Department

Average California Private Sector Job Salary- $55,000
Source: California Employment Development Department

Average State Taxes Paid by Each Private Sector Employee- $3,600
Source: Franchise Tax Board / Board of Equalization

Average Cost to Taxpayers to Pay Salary and Benefits for Each California Government Job- $90,000
Source: California Department of Finance

Number of Private Sector Jobs it Takes to Support One Government Job- 25
Source: Franchise Tax Board / Board of Equalization

So what is the Democrat’s answer to these alarming numbers? RAISE TAXES AND CONTINUE TO GROW GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS…

Schwarzenegger target of recall rally led by former supporters, John & Ken

Heads on a stick!

That is the newest promotion by Southern California radio talk show hosts John and Ken, as they go after GOP electeds who they say supported tax inreases.

One of the primary targets of their tax revolt was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ironically was supported by John and Ken over the clearly more fisacally conservative, Tom McClintock.

SEIU cuts deal a that Triples personal holidays!

Today SEIU Chief VP Romer Cristobal announced that in the they cut with the administration they would not be losing two holidays as previously announced by the administration.

According to Cristobal:

We have converted Lincoln and Columbus Holidays to Personal Holidays. Members will now accrue three personal holidays instead of just one per year.

Members will accrue 8 hours of Personal Leave (PL) per month in addition to their regular vacation and sick hours. You can use your personal leave for sick leave and you can use it as soon as you earn it.

When you add this to the fact that the number of furlough days was cut in half, one has to wonder what exactly the unions gave up in exchange for the massive tax increases they are trying to force upon the taxpayers of California?

Schools are going to take a hit. The poor are going to take a hit. Local governments are going to take a hit. Taxpayers are being asked to take a HUGE hit. But it looks like SEIU is get away relatively unscathed. How is this fair?

As far as I know, there are no projected layoffs for state workers in this budget. And the number of furlough days was cut in half. But as Cristobal points out SEIU will be getting some additional perks:

State will increase their contribution to our health care premiums retroactively January 2009 and throughout the life of the SEIU contract. The increase will mirror what they were paying in 2008. This will help alleviate financial burden for SEIU members.

Per diem rate will be increase from $40 per day to $55 per day.

The State has agreed with the Union to allocate one million dollars for upward mobility.

This agreement is inconsistent with the proposal being sold to the people of California. How can we be asked to support such a deal, when we don’t even know what the REAL DEAL is?

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

And My brother David wonders why Republicans are scoffing at this pork barrel spending bill, that is only meant to stimulate the money out of the pockets of hard working Americans and into the pockets of liberal special interest groups like Planned Parenthood and Acorn.

David, please read what Michael Obrien with The Hill wrote about the bill’s author who, when asked about wasteful spending in the bill said “So what?”:

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

How money is spent should be far from the biggest concern about the stimulus package, its chief author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) said Friday.

“So what?” Obey asked in response to a question on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent. “This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Obey said that Congress is not responsible if money is misspent, but rather, whoever spends the money poorly.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” Obey told NPR. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important
question facing us on putting together this package.”

As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Obey had chief oversight in crafting the $825 billion package as passed by the House. The provisions in the bill have been
criticized by Republicans and some centrist Democrats for not being as directly related to stimulating the economy as it should be.

“We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice,” the chairman said. “And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

And My brother David wonders why Republicans are scoffing at this pork barrel spending bill, that is only meant to stimulate the money out of the pockets of hard working Americans and into the pockets of liberal special interest groups like Planned Parenthood and Acorn.

David, please read what Michael Obrien with The Hill wrote about the bill’s author who, when asked about wasteful spending in the bill said “So what?”:

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

How money is spent should be far from the biggest concern about the stimulus package, its chief author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) said Friday.

“So what?” Obey asked in response to a question on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent. “This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Obey said that Congress is not responsible if money is misspent, but rather, whoever spends the money poorly.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” Obey told NPR. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important
question facing us on putting together this package.”

As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Obey had chief oversight in crafting the $825 billion package as passed by the House. The provisions in the bill have been
criticized by Republicans and some centrist Democrats for not being as directly related to stimulating the economy as it should be.

“We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice,” the chairman said. “And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?

And My brother David wonders why Republicans are scoffing at this pork barrel spending bill, that is only meant to stimulate the money out of the pockets of hard working Americans and into the pockets of liberal special interest groups like Planned Parenthood and Acorn.

David, please read what Michael Obrien with The Hill wrote about the bill’s author who, when asked about wasteful spending in the bill said “So what?”:

Waste In the Stimulus Bill? Democrat Author Says ‘So What?’

How money is spent should be far from the biggest concern about the stimulus package, its chief author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) said Friday.

“So what?” Obey asked in response to a question on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent. “This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Obey said that Congress is not responsible if money is misspent, but rather, whoever spends the money poorly.

“We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds, not to have earmarks in the bill,” Obey told NPR. “And with all due respect, that’s the least important
question facing us on putting together this package.”

As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Obey had chief oversight in crafting the $825 billion package as passed by the House. The provisions in the bill have been
criticized by Republicans and some centrist Democrats for not being as directly related to stimulating the economy as it should be.

“We have more oversight built into this package than any package in the history of man. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice,” the chairman said. “And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made.”

No Budget! No Pay! Sound like a good idea? NOT!

You would think we would have learned by now that passing a law simply because it “Sounds like a good idea” is no way to govern. Take for example AB 32, the high priced “Green Initiative” which requires business to cut carbon emissions utilizing technology that won’t exist until 2014. The there’s Jessica’s Law, which I like to call the “Sex Offender Omnibus Bill” which law enforcement officials up and down the state have admitted is near impossible to comply with. These are both well meaning policy initiatives that sounded good on paper, but when put into actual practice… not so much.

The bright idea of the day surrounds the California Legislatures lack of ability to come to a compromise on how to handle the fast growing budget deficit. Democrats want massive tax increases and Republicans are holding pat for substantive budget reforms and deeper cuts. And while both sides dig in their heals, doing what they believe to be the right thing, along comes a well meaning who have proposed to withhold legislator’s pay and per diem if they fail to pass the state budget on time. Sounds like a great idea right? I mean, managing the state’s finances is a big part of their jobs. And if they can’t get the job done on time, why should they get paid? (I’ve got you going huh?)

Well before you jump on the bandwagon, read this piece my good friend (and boss) Jeff Greene shared with me. It was written by Former Assemblyman Ray Haynes back during the 2004 budget impasse:

Conflict-of-Interest Budgeting

SCENARIO #1 “Assemblyman Smith, vote for this budget, and our union will write you a check for $15,000. Not to your campaign – to you personally. Buy a new car, get your wife a Louis Vuitton purse, get braces for your kids—we don’t care. Just vote for this budget and the money is yours. I know you don’t like the new taxes and spending, but I can make it worth your while.”

SCENARIO #2 “I don’t care if there are taxes in this budget, we cannot afford to forfeit another month’s paycheck! We’ve exhausted our savings and we’re not going to be able to make our mortgage payment. We’ve got a stack of credit card bills and utility payments due and no money left to pay them. I know you don’t like the new taxes and spending, but it’s not worth going bankrupt for!”

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In one scenario, the personal financial pressure to pass a bad budget comes from a lobbyist. In the second, the financial pressure comes from the legislator’s spouse. In the first, the financial incentive is illegal and the lobbyist could go to prison. Meanwhile, the second scenario could be on the verge of being encouraged in homes all over Sacramento.

Both scenarios include money being used as an incentive to get a legislator to support a budget. Both scenarios result in a legislator having to consider his own personal financial interests over the interests of his district or even the whole State of California. Both are wrong.


Think about it. If you are a conservative, do you really want Republicans to go up on massive tax increases simply, so that they can pay their own bills? If you are a liberal, do you want Democrats to approve deep cuts to education or social welfare programs in order to make sure they don’t miss a check?

While I think most of us can agree with the sentiment, the facts cannot be ignored. Any way you slice it up, this is a “Pay-to-Play” scheme that is a bad idea for California.

Pelosi & Margaret Sanger agree. Birth control = Economic Stimulus

Maybe it us just me. But I find it outrageous that Birthcontrol would be considered as a part of the economic stimulus package. Regardless of how you feel about birth control, to utilize funds from any economic stimulus proposal to pay for birth control is beyond obsurd.

It harkens back to the time when Planned Parenthood’s Founder, Margaret Sanger sought to use birth control as a method of population control. It was her desire to keep certain “undesirable groups” from multiplying. And her primary arguement was that they would be a burden on taxpayers.

Here is a quote from Margaret Sanger:

Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism … [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

This quote comes from Margaret Sanger’s- The Pivot of Civilization, 1922. Chapter on “The Cruelty of Charity,” pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition. And as you can see Pelosi, like Sanger believes that the goverment should be in the business of making sure that “poor folk” don’t go having babies.

While I do agree that everyone should be responsible in their reproductive choices. I cannot belive that anyone would go as far as to promote birth control as economic stimulas.

Pelosi & Margaret Sanger agree. Birth control = Economic Stimulus

Maybe it us just me. But I find it outrageous that Birthcontrol would be considered as a part of the economic stimulus package. Regardless of how you feel about birth control, to utilize funds from any economic stimulus proposal to pay for birth control is beyond obsurd.

It harkens back to the time when Planned Parenthood’s Founder, Margaret Sanger sought to use birth control as a method of population control. It was her desire to keep certain “undesirable groups” from multiplying. And her primary arguement was that they would be a burden on taxpayers.

Here is a quote from Margaret Sanger:

Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism … [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

This quote comes from Margaret Sanger’s- The Pivot of Civilization, 1922. Chapter on “The Cruelty of Charity,” pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition. And as you can see Pelosi, like Sanger believes that the goverment should be in the business of making sure that “poor folk” don’t go having babies.

While I do agree that everyone should be responsible in their reproductive choices. I cannot belive that anyone would go as far as to promote birth control as economic stimulas.

Huber and Buchanan duck for cover during budget battle

Less than a month into the new session, Sacramento’s two newest Democrat electeds have refused to take a stand in the most important issue facing the legislature in years.

I don’t often agree with the Sacramento Bee. But they hit it on the nose when they exposed these two.

On Tuesday, five Assembly Democrats abstained from votes on tax hikes: Alyson Huber of El Dorado Hills, Joan Buchanan of Alamo, Manuel Perez of Coachella, Marty Block of San Diego and Charles Calderon of Whittier. Huber and Calderon also abstained from votes on spending cuts. On Thursday, Huber and Buchanan abstained again on tax hikes.

Huber’s abstentions are especially disappointing. This page endorsed her to tepresent District 10, which includes Lodi, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Stockton and Jackson. She campaigned as a “problem solver” who would “hit the ground running.” A news release on her swearing-in said: “Deeply concerned with the state’s financial crisis, Assemblymember Huber is prepared to immediately start working toward a solution.” Instead, Huber seems to have hit the ground looking for cover.

Voters don’t elect legislators to be neutral on the most important issues facing the state. And if legislators don’t like the process by which the bills were produced, they should vote “no.”

Ladies, it is a little too early in your political tenure to be ducking for cover. You chose to run in battleground districts. So it is time to stand up and fight for what you believe in. Or are you scared that you will be exposed for who you really are?

Governor finally agrees with GOP Legislators

Here is a quote from Gov. Schwarzenegger you won’t see in the main stream media:

“And now I understand when Republicans say they say that they are serious about negotiating, but when it comes down to the language itself, that’s where it will fall apart. And that’s exactly what happened this time.”

He made this statement after pledging to veto the controversial budget fixed passed on a simple majority vote, in violation of the State Constitution (Click Here to Watch the Video).

What he was commenting on was the fact that when Legislative Democrats negotiate they say they will do one thing. But the devil is in the details-otherwise known as “Bill Language”. Meaning- the bill language that is offered by the Democrats often does not do what they said it would do. This is why it is a general policy amongst assembly Republicans to not agree to any idea- even in concept until you see it in writing. Furthermore, it explains why the GOP has insisted on their issues being address before even considering new revenues.

The truth is that Legislative Democrats don’t believe that they have to actually negotiate with Republicans. They ignore them whenever they don’t need their votes to pass legislation. No matter how salient a point they make may be, it often gets lost in the fervor of getting their bills through the legislative process. They simply state that they are willing to take a look into it as the bill moves along. The bill passes and nothing ever happens.

And when they do need GOP votes, Democrats don’t bother trying to negotiate in good faith. Rather, they try to pick off one or two votes with incentives that may help that member, but don’t necessarily address their overall policy concerns. Of course, the governor cannot necessarily complain about this tactic, since he often employees it himself.

If a deal is going to get done, it will only be when all sides are allowed to sit at the table and negotiate in good faith. All sacred cows need to be on the table- meaning that everyone is going to have to give up something in order to get something.

$9 billion tax plan to be approved by majority vote?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And a tax by any other name still stinks to high heaven.

However, by calling $9.3 billion in taxes, fees, Democrats hope the get around the State Constituion and pass them with a simple majority vote.

Here is the press release from Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg:

Senate Democrats to Vote Tonight on Majority Vote Budget Plan

(SACRAMENTO) The State Senate will take up an $18 billion majority vote budget deficit reduction plan coupled with economic stimulus proposals Wednesday evening.

Specifically, the proposal increases general fund revenues by $9.3 billion, enacts $7.3 billion in cuts and finds $1.5 billion in other solutions.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass announced the new Democratic proposal today.

“Desperate times don’t call for desperate measures; desperate times call for creative thinking,” Steinberg said. “As the majority party, Democrats are responsible for governing the state – by solving $18 billion of the budget deficit we are showing Californians that we take that responsibility seriously.”

Senate session is scheduled for 5 p.m.

The plan is as follows:

Revenues

The Democrats’ plan eliminates gasoline sales and excise taxes used for transportation purposes and replacing those taxes with a mix of taxes (sales, oil severance and personal income surcharge) that will be used to bolster the general fund. This action will bring $5.7 billion into the general fund.

To replace the transportation dollars, the Democratic plan institutes a “user fee” of 39 cents for gasoline consumption in California. The new fee would increase the amount of funds for the state highway account by $500 million annually and for local streets and roads by $643 million annually. In addition, the fee will be indexed o adjust with inflation. Because it is a user fee, the revenues have to be used or transportation purposes.

In addition, the Democratic plan reworks the “triple flip” enacted in 2004. The “triple flip” increased the state sales tax by a quarter cent, reduced local sales tax by a quarter cent and shifted property taxes from schools to local governments to make up for loss in local sales tax money. The state general fund backfilled schools for the loss of property tax money.

The Democratic proposal ends the local quarter cent local sales tax reduction, eliminating the need to shift property tax from schools to local governments, thereby ending the general fund obligation to backfill school funding. The result is an additional $1.5 billion to the general fund.

Additionally, the Democratic plan establishes new 3 percent income tax withholding requirements for independent contractors. Specifically, the plan requires businesses to withhold 3 percent of payments they make to independent contractors exceeding $600 each year, relieving businesses from having to file 1099 forms. This action generates $2 billion for 2009-10.

Cuts

Education Solutions:

Current Year Reductions. Reduces Proposition 98 spending by the $2.5 billion level proposed y the Governor. However, this package of reductions does not follow the Governor’s proposal to cut school district revenue limits, and instead targets pecific programs that mitigate direct impacts on classroom instruction.

Settle-Up Solutions. Adopts a variation of the LAO’s proposal to count a portion of current year spending as “settle-up” dollars rather than Proposition 98 dollars. This does not reduce current year education spending, but does provide additional Proposition 98 flexibility in the budget year.

CSU and UC Reductions. Adopts the Governor’s proposal to cut $132 million from the UC and the CSU.

Health and Human Services Solutions:

SSI/SSP. Reduces SSI/SSP grants in 2009 back to the 2008 level and suspends the budget year state COLA. Together these actions will save about $177 million in the current year and about $500 million in the budget
year. However, this ultimately means that the state’s neediest elderly and disabled individuals will lose more than $700 per year (and couples more than $1,300).

CalWORKS. Suspends the budget year CalWORKS COLA to save about $100 million.

Regional Centers. Reduces, by three percent, certain payments for services delivered to individuals with developmental disabilities for the period from December 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010, as proposed by the Governor. This results in a reduction of $26 million General Fund for 2008-09 and $60 million in 2009-10.

Also reduces the Regional Center Operations’ budget by $3 million General Fund in 2008-09 and $12.2 million in 2009-10 by suspending certain case management ratios and administrative requirements.

Local Government Solutions:

Local Public Safety Programs. Approves the Governor’s proposal to eliminate General Fund support for various local law enforcement programs which saves approximately $189 million in the current year and $500 million in the budget year. These cuts are mitigated by reallocating Vehicle License Fee revenues ($92 million in the current year and $359 million in the budget year) to support these local programs.

Williamson Act Local Backfill. Approves the Governor’s proposal to eliminate the $34.7 million backfill to counties. This does not, however, make any changes to the underlying program to preserve agricultural land.

Transportation Solutions:

State Transit Assistance. Reduces annual funding for the State Transit Assistance (STA) from $306 million to $150 million. The Governor had proposed to eliminate the program entirely.

Fund Shifts. Achieves $185 million in General Fund solutions by shifting eligible Motor Vehicle Account funds and Tribal Compact revenues to the General Fund.

Various Other Solutions:

Judicial Branch Solutions. Achieves $91 million in solutions from the Judicial Branch with a reduction to the 2008-09 COLA for the trial courts and a one-time transfer from the Trial Court Improvement Fund to the eneral Fund.

Office of Emergency Services. Eliminates $30 million in funding for the gang initiative and various other programs.

Employee Compensation. Reduces funding for employee compensation by $240 million in the current year and $417 million in the budget year, however, the savings is required to be negotiated through the collective bargaining process.

Economic Stimulus

As part of a real Economic Stimulus plan, Democrats are proposing to accelerate the availability of bond funds for “ready-to-go” infrastructure projects.

For every $1 billion of investment in public works infrastructure projects, the state creates 15,000 high-wage private sector jobs.

The total Democratic investment of bond funds is nearly $3 billion ($2.9 billion) to improve streets and roads, public transit, housing sites, parks, levees, water quality projects, and to bolster the “green” economy.

CA Assembly to vote on $5 billion in new taxes that they are calling “Fees”

Today, Democrats will be offering $5 billion in new taxes, calling them fees. It is believed that by calling them fees, they can be passed by majority vote, rather than the 2/3 vote requirement that is necessary to raise taxes: meaning, they could conceivably pass this without any Republican votes.

Admittedly, I am not sure that this is the case. But cut me some slack, Republicans just got the bill language an hour or so ago. So much for “Open and Transparent Government”.

We have also heard that there will be votes on some education issues and transportation issues, and possibly health and human services. Of course, Democrats may change the whole thing up. Heck, we may not see what is actually being proposed until the members walk into the chamber this afternoon. They have already changed the meeting time. Who knows what else will change.

The California Channel will be broadcasting this session live at 3 p.m. on many local cable channels, or on their live webfeed at http://www.calchannel.com/ . You can also listen to the session live by going to the Assembly’s webpage and clicking on “Floor Session” at the top of this page here: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/Committee_hearings/ . If you are unable to watch live, you will be able to retrieve the broadcast at http://www.calchannel.com/ later in the archives.

Assembly Budget Committee meets tomorrow- Noreen Evans is the only member!

Tomorrow the California Assembly Budget Committee is scheduled to hold on of the most important meetings in recent history. But so far, none of the committee members have been named, other than the committee chair, Assembly member Noreen Evans.

It is difficult to say why no one has been assigned to the committee. But there is not doubt that this is a bad sign as to how serious anyone is taking this hearing. Most insiders understand that the real discussions will be taking place amongst the Big 5. This hearing will like be nothing more than an opportunity for Democrats to shoot down Republican proposals and have the myriad public employee unions and other interest groups to voice their objections to cuts that everyone knows are necessary. Each one will give compelling testimony as to why they should not be cut. And the truth is that in many cases they will be right.

But at the end of the day, everyone is going to have to feel the pain on this one. Nobody’s sacred cow should be off limits. Education, public safety, health and welfare will all take hits.

The questions that must be answered are: What will our priorities be? What hits will have the least impact on our state? What sort of relief from burdensome regulations and controls are we going to give schools, local governments, employers and state agencies so that they can make the best of the resources they have left?

I don’t know that anyone is ready to have these sorts of conversations.

Despite the Governer’s asserstions, Republicans have offered their ideas in this matter. But since he and Democrats don’t like them, they continue to claim that GOP members haven’t offered solutions. The turthe is, they haven’t offered solutions that they like.

Watch the “Why the GOP should cave!” dog and pony show LIVE!

Today at 3 pm the California Legislature will be holding a joint session to hear from the State’s fiscal leaders on why they need to address the State’s massive budget deficit ASAP. Featured speakers include State Controller John Chiang, Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Mike Genest, the Governor’s Director of the Department of Finance, and Mac Taylor, the state’s non-partisan legislative analyst. Each will speak for 15 minutes, and then there will be questions from the legislature afterwards.You can tune in and watch it live at CalChannel.com .

Sacramento Bee writers, Dan Walters and Jon Ortiz will also be hosting a live blog during the presentation at www.sacbee.com/live. That is how important this presentation will be.

But you can be assured that the bulk of the dog and pony show will be focused on why legislative Republicans should cave on their commitment not to raise taxes.

Bill Lockyer has already threatened to withhold the sale of any bonds until the budget is fixed. Furthermore, he would cease the flow of funds to current projects. Additionally, Governor Schwarzenegger has hinted at massive layoffs amongst the ranks of state employees, a proposal that will do more to influence Democrats than Republicans.

But what is missing from any discussions are the substantive requests that GOP legislators have put forward. Namely:

• Economic stimulus proposals (not tax cuts) for employers like:
o AB 32 implementation relief
o Repeal of eight hour overtime
o Regulatory relief

• Substantive budget reform like:
o A real spending cap
o A rainy day fund
o Providing flexibility to agencies (especially schools) on how they can spend their budgets.

• Ongoing spending reductions by:
o Consolidating agencies and departments with duplicative functions “Blowing up the boxes”
o Re-visiting collective bargaining agreements and related side deals.
o Reworking of funding formulas that demand so much of the state budget.

Even as Democrats declare “Everything needs to be on the table”. Please notice that these options will be found nowhere on that table. Not because Republicans have not proposed them. Rather, Democrats have killed them at every turn.

Democrats propose gimmicks and tax increases but no budget reform

Today, Legislative Democrats offered their proposal to address the $28 billion deficit facing California over the next 19 months.

In predictable fashion, they offered temporary gimmicks (calling them cuts), permanent tax increases (calling them revenue enhancements) and absolutely no budget reform. In fact, the Democrat proposal offers $8 billion in TEMPORARY spending cuts and gimmicks in exchange for $8 billion in PERMANENT tax increases.

Democrat Assembly member Noreen Evans pleaded for members to not be beholden to ideology and “put everything on the table.” However, Democrats refused to include any substantive budget reform or economic stimulus in the bill package they put forth today.

The California Assembly Republican Caucus has identified the following “Lowlights” in the Democrat’s proposal:

  • Permanent Tax Increases – Imposes $8.6 billion in higher taxes on hard-working Californians, including higher Vehicle License Fees. Over 5 years, our taxes would be raised by $24 billion.
  • Small Ongoing Budget Savings – Uses delays and fund-shifts to make it seem like their approach would lead to $8.1 billion in cuts, while in reality it would lead to little ongoing savings.
  • Prioritizes Welfare over Public Safety – Contains few cuts to the fastest-growing areas of government like health and welfare programs, while targeting public safety for devastating cuts to frontline officers, community policing and juvenile justice programs.
  • Includes Early Release – It also includes dangerous early release and direct discharge parole plans that would allow thousands of inmates to go directly back into our communities, unsupervised by a parole officer.
  • No Incentives for Job Creation – Includes no economic incentives or reforms to lower business costs and encourage companies to invest in California and create jobs here.
  • No Strict Spending Limit – Has no real spending limit that would force the Legislature to only spend what the state takes in each year.

MAD Moment: Higher taxes is not the answer to California’s budget problems