California Legislature Passes State Budget – What’s In It? The Good, The Bad, The Ugly List

Posted 1 CommentPosted in California Budget
Maldonado thumbs up

State Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, gives a thumbs up to cast the deciding vote for passage of the state budget plan at the Capitol in Sacramento on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009. Maldonado provided the final vote needed to pass the spending plan that is aimed at reducing a $42 billion budget deficit

Ok, so what are the changes in the California State Budget. In other words, what did the California Legislature approve today?

The LIST:

REVENUE:

The plan would raise up to $12.8 billion through June 2010 by imposing a variety of temporary taxes. The higher taxes would be in effect for two years. The taxes would remain longer — through the 2013-14 fiscal year — if voters approve a state spending cap during a special election in May.

  • Increases the state sales tax by 1 cent on the dollar, generating $5.8 billion through the next fiscal year.
  • Raises the fee for licensing vehicles to 1.15 percent of market value, up from the current .65 percent. The move is projected to generate $1.5 billion. A portion of the fee will be dedicated to local law enforcement.
  • Raises the state personal income tax rate by 0.25 percent, generating $3.7 billion in the next fiscal year. If the state receives more than expected from the federal government, the increase in the rate would be reduced to 0.125 percent.
  • Reduces the amount taxpayers can claim on a dependent care credit to the federal level of $100 instead of $300, adding $1.4 billion.

CUTS:

Reduces state general fund spending by $15.1 billion through the end of June 2010 by forcing education and social service programs to absorb much of the pain. Among other cuts, the budget proposal

  • Reduces education spending by $8.6 billion over two years, likely forcing schools to lay off teachers, slash salaries and postpone spending on construction and textbook purchases. The proposal also would give districts greater flexibility in spending money that is normally dedicated to specific programs.
  • Imposes a 10 percent across-the-board cut to the University of California and California State University systems, saving $264.4 million.
  • Continues furloughs for 238,000 state workers, trims overtime pay and eliminates Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day as paid state holidays, saving $1.4 billion. The furloughs would be reduced from two days a month to one and workers would receive two personal days off in exchange for giving up the paid holidays under a tentative contract agreement reached recently between the governor and the state’s largest employee union.
  • Eliminates annual cost-of-living increases for recipients of the state’s welfare-to-work program, known as CalWORKS, to save $79 million.
  • Eliminates the state and federal cost-of-living increase for seniors and the disabled who are receiving Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment, saving $594.1 million.
  • Depending on whether the federal government provides additional aid, the budget compromise would make further reductions to Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for the poor; CalWORKS; in-home support for seniors; and other social service programs by $948 million.
  • Eliminates $1 million that was allocated for the state controller’s office to buy furniture as one of the conditions for securing the last GOP vote.

Borrowing:

  • Approves a $5 billion plan to borrow against the value of the lottery’s future revenue. Voters must approve changes to the lottery to make it more marketable in the hope that it will bring in more money, and then the state would have to entice investors to buy the bonds.
  • Authorizes the state to take out $6 billion in bonds to cover bills that will not get paid in the current fiscal year. Lawmakers expect to avoid this loan by using federal aid.
  • $400 million transferred from various special funds.


Ballot Questions – May 19, 2009:

  • Spending cap: Asks voters to impose a limit on the amount the state can spend each year based on revenue growth over the previous 10-year period. Money above that amount would be saved in a rainy day fund. That fund would be capped at 12.5 percent of revenue, and any amount above that could be used to pay debt or for one-time purposes. If voters approve the cap, then temporary taxes that are part of the budget would be extended for an additional two years.
  • Education: Asks voters to modify Proposition 98, the voter-approved minimum school funding guarantee, to protect education funding when state revenue rebounds after lean budget years.
  • Mental health: Asks voters to shift $227 million in voter-approved funding from Proposition 63, the state mental health fund, for two years to pay for a low-income child development program known as the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program.
  • Child development: Asks voters to redirect $608 million in First 5 money for early child development to other children’s programs for five years. Voters approved Proposition 10 in 1998, adding a 50-cent tax to each pack of cigarettes.
  • Lottery: Asks voters for permission to hand out larger lottery jackpots as a way to sell more tickets. Also grants the state permission to stop using lottery proceeds for education programs. Instead, school funding would be paid through the general fund.
  • Legislative pay: Asks voters to amend the Constitution to freeze the pay of lawmakers and state elected officers, meaning they would not be eligible for raises, during years the state is running a deficit.

Ballot Question – June 2010:

  • Ask voters to amend the state Constitution to allow open primaries for legislative, congressional and statewide elections, including the governor’s race. The top two vote-getters would advance to the general election.

Economic Stimulus:

  • Grants up to $400 million in tax credits for companies with 20 or fewer employees that hire new workers over the next two years. Allows businesses to claim a credit of up to $3,000 per full-time job created.
  • Provides up to $100 million a year for five years in tax incentives for movie studios to film in California, known as the runaway production credit.
  • Reformulates taxes for corporations that operate in multiple states. Republicans say the tax break would encourage investment in California while critics called it a giveaway that could cost the state $690 million a year.
  • Allows unlimited public-private partnerships on state transportation projects through 2017 and up to 4,500 beds in community-based prisons for inmates nearing parole.
  • Speeds up construction on 10 state public works projects, 5 local transportation projects and 10 redevelopment agency projects and 5 state office buildings by allowing one company to do both the design and construction.
  • Removes environmental hurdles and accelerates permit approval for 8 state road projects through 2010.
  • A 2007 off-highway diesel regulation requires bulldozers, airport baggage trucks and ski resort snowcats to begin reducing emissions from their fleets in 2010. The rule phases in the regulation through 2020 for fleets of large vehicles. The budget proposal would delay the initial phase-in requirements, requiring fewer vehicles to comply in the early years.
  • Exempts environmental reviews for selling surplus state property.
  • A state grant program offers funding to companies that take steps to reduce harmful emissions from their vehicles before state air pollution requirements go into effect. The budget proposal would allow farmers to access that money even if the requirement has already taken effect.
  • Exempts some rural communities from paying prevailing wage on public work projects.

Well, there you have it in a nutshell.


Senator Tony Strickland’s Statement on the Passage of the California State Budget – Will Turn San Francisco and Los Angeles into the Detroit of the West

Posted 1 CommentPosted in California Budget, Tony Strickland
strickland feb 16 b

State Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, foreground, shrugs his shoulders as he leaves a conversation with state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, left, Jeff Denham, R-Merced, behind Ashburn, Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, and Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula, right, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Feb. 16, 2008

From Flap’s California State Senator Tony Strickland:

Today, the California State Legislature passed a budget that included a $70 billion dollar tax increase on California families and small businesses over the next five years. State Senator Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks) voted against the budget and issued the following statement:

“Today is a sad day for California’s hardworking families. Sacramento politicians have been overspending for years, treating the taxpayers of California as a personal ATM—and the funds are overdrawn.”

“Tax increases do not, have not, and will not solve our budget crisis. After lawmakers raised taxes in 1991, revenues dropped. Higher taxes cost jobs.”

“Tax increases will not bring small businesses back to our state. Tax increases will continue to chase vital jobs out of California at a time when we are critically in need of reversing our state’s high unemployment. With California already fourth in the nation in unemployment, I fear this budget will turn San Francisco and Los Angeles into the Detroit of the West.”

The current budget now places California as the highest taxed state in the nation by increasing personal income tax by 0.25 percent, by doubling the car tax, by increasing sales tax by 1 percent, and by reducing the dependent credit from $299 to $99.

Well, Tony, at least your conscience is clear in voting against this massive tax increase for California taxpayers.


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California State Budget Aftermath – Never Elect Abel Maldonado To ANYTHING, Ever Again

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Abel Maldonado, California Budget
maldonado and frog

GOP California State Senator Abel Maldonado with FROG

The repercussions against Abel Maldonado who provided the swing vote approving massive California tax increases this morning have already started.

Now, there is a Facebook group: Never Elect Abel Maldonado To Anything, Ever Again

Members of this group pledge themselves to eternal opposition to any attempt by Sen. Abel Maldonado to advance his political career.

He sold his budget vote, imposing the largest tax increase in California history in exchange for legislation he thinks will advance his career.]

It’s time to stand up for Republican principles and apply chemotherapy to this cancerous political career.

Wow!

That was quick.

Abel Maldonado’s political career in California IS over.


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California GOP Legislators Who Voted To Destroy California Political Parties and Support Open Primary Elections – The List

Posted Posted in California Budget, California Open Primary

Flap’s friend and fellow blogger Jon Fleishman has the list of California Republican members of the Legislature who voted to destroy the California Republican and Democratic Parties and support an “OPEN PRIMARY” election system.

The LIST:

SENATE

  • Roy Ashburn
  • Dave Cogdill
  • Dave Cox
  • Jeff Denham
  • Abel Maldonado

ASSEMBLY

  • Bill Berryhill
  • Tom Berryhill
  • Sam Blakeslee
  • Mike Duvall
  • Paul Cook
  • Connie Conway
  • Bill Emmerson
  • Nathan Fletcher
  • Jean Fuller
  • Danny Gilmore
  • Brian Nestande
  • Jim Nielson
  • Cameron Smyth
  • Mike Villines

Jon notes that since this support of “OPEN PRIMARY” elections was a condition of Abel Maldonado’s vote for the California State Budget with its Big – 5 / Big Tax Increase provisions, it can easily be said all of the above legislators are enablers of California tax increases.

Remember these names well as the California Republican Party meets this weekend in Sacramento.

And, the funny thing is that the Democrats, particularly the Congressional Democrats will now gear up to defeat this measure in June 2010 – which they will. There will be bipartisan disdain for this open primary system.


California Legislature Approves State Budget With Tax Increases – The Links

Posted Posted in California Budget

The plan, with billions of dollars in tax increases, is sent to Gov. Schwarzenegger for signing.


California Legislature Approves State Budget With Tax Increases – GOP Senator Abel Maldonado Provides Swing Vote

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Abel Maldonado, California Budget
steinberg 1 vote

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steingberg, D-Sacramento, holds up a sign indicating only one more Republican vote is needed to pass the budget during a media gathering deal outside the Senate chambers yesterday evening

Democrat California State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg got his one Republican vote in the name of Republican Senator Abel Maldonado and with it the California Legislature went on to approve the state budget with tax increases.

Voting at dawn to end a three-month impasse, the California Legislature passed a budget package that addresses the state’s massive deficit with billions of dollars in new taxes and program cuts after Democrats and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reached a deal with a GOP holdout.

Sen. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria provided the final Republican vote needed to pass a spending plan, which includes more than $12 billion in tax hikes. In exchange, Democrats agreed to rewrite election rules that Maldonado said had allowed the Capitol to become paralyzed by partisanship, leading the state to the brink of financial ruin.

And, the funny thing is that this budget does not solve California’s long term structural budget deficit problems and relies on a special election on May 19, 2009 to ratify some of the funding changes.

GOP Senator Maldonado in speaking in favor of the state budget acknowledged that his political careeer may be over in voting for these tax increases.

Maldonado is at least RIGHT on this.

More later…..


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