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Keyword: smokeandmirrors

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  • Gov. Schwarzenegger exits with some big successes

    12/28/2010 8:13:41 AM PST · by SmithL · 42 replies · 5+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 12/28/10 | Carla Marinucci, Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Political Writers
    As he bounded toward the stage to address Californians for the first time as governor-elect, Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed stunned at being catapulted from superstar to leader of the world's eighth-largest economy during the historic 2003 recall election. "Only in America," he whispered to reporters before hitting the spotlight. Only in California is more like it: Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was still in a loincloth and killing bad guys with a sword as "Conan the Barbarian" in the early 1980s when Jerry Brown was finishing his second term as governor. Only in California could such a political newcomer charge into the governor's...
  • Court blocks sale of state properties, likely scuttling Schwarzenegger plan

    12/28/2010 9:23:59 AM PST · by SmithL · 9 replies · 3+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 12/28/10 | David Siders
    Likely scuttling Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial bid to sell 11 state office properties to private investors, a state appellate court Monday effectively blocked the sale from proceeding until Gov.-elect Jerry Brown takes office next month. Though Brown has declined to say how he will act on the sale, he previously called it "not prudent" and asked Schwarzenegger to delay the transaction until after he takes office. Brown has acknowledged, however, that the state's massive budget deficit would grow by another $1.3 billion if the sale is scotched. The transaction is controversial because it requires the state to lease back the...
  • Dan Walters: Schwarzenegger hands off huge budget deficit to Jerry Brown

    11/12/2010 7:59:57 AM PST · by SmithL · 15 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 11/12/10 | Dan Walters
    Arnold Schwarzenegger came into the governorship seven years ago on a pledge to end "crazy deficit spending." As he exits in January, however, he will leave behind a budget deficit that's just as bad, and perhaps even worse, than the one he inherited from predecessor Gray Davis. And regardless of what else he may have accomplished, that will leave an indelible stain on his gubernatorial record. The Legislature's budget analyst, Mac Taylor, calculates that the sham budget Schwarzenegger and legislators enacted scarcely a month ago – 100 days late, by the way – is already about $6 billion out of...
  • CALIFORNIA: Darrell Steinberg signals midyear budget talks

    11/04/2010 1:11:59 PM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 11/4/10 | Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
    A day after California voters handed state leaders mixed messages on how to manage the budget, the leader of the Senate signaled that lawmakers will reopen negotiations sometime in the next few months to close a new multibillion-dollar deficit. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told reporters, "It is probably likely there will be a midyear budget session," and said next year's deficit could be as large as $12 billion. It marks the first public acknowledgment by a leader at the Capitol that the budget deal struck in October to close a $19 billion hole was not solid enough...
  • Feds touting National Guard mission in Arizona

    10/08/2010 1:03:25 PM PDT · by mdittmar · 11 replies
    Google ^ | 10/8/10 | AMANDA LEE MYERS (AP)
    TUCSON, Ariz. — Government officials are showing off a site where National Guard troops have been deployed near the Mexican border, despite criticism that they will do nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration.The first troops began their mission on Aug. 30, and no member of the media has been allowed to see firsthand what they've been doing. Border Patrol agents are set to take reporters to one of several sites in southern Arizona on Friday where the troops are acting as what the agency calls "extra eyes and ears."The troops have no arrest power, and the guns they...
  • CALIFORNIA: At dawn, state Senate still at work on budget

    10/08/2010 8:07:18 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 10/8/10 | Torey Van Oot
    Lawmakers in the state Senate are still one vote short of approving a $87.5 billion state spending plan as a marathon legislative session on the budget approaches its 19th hour. Lawmakers worked through the night on a package of bills aimed at closing the state's $19 billion budget deficit. The Assembly finished major work on the package of dozens of bills just after 5:30 a.m. on Friday, the 100th day of the Fiscal Year. UPDATE: The Assembly adjourned shortly before 6:20 a.m. . . .
  • Budget plan a temporary fix to California's long-term fiscal woes

    10/07/2010 8:43:13 AM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/7/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    The Legislature can bring California's record-long stalemate to a close today with floor votes on the 99th day of the fiscal year, ending the state's financial woes for the time being. But the pending $87.5 billion spending plan does little to solve the state's permanent fiscal problems and makes several questionable assumptions that could make next year's deficit worse should they fall short. Fiscal experts believe California is already headed for another severe budget mess. "We said they were facing a multibillion-dollar shortfall in 2011-12, and nothing has changed the underlying economics and budgeting of that," said Michael Cohen, deputy...
  • Calif. budget plan relies on accounting maneuvers

    10/06/2010 10:25:18 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 1 replies
    yahoo ^ | , On Wednesday October 6, 2010, 9:41 pm EDT | Don Thompson
    California lawmakers got their first look Wednesday at a proposal that attempts to end the state's record-long budget impasse and close a $19 billion deficit, primarily through targeted spending cuts and a large dose of creative accounting. The deal, reached late last week between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the four Republican and Democratic leaders of the Assembly and Senate, does not contain new taxes or fees. Instead, it relies on a series of assumptions and accounting maneuvers that in all likelihood will punt many of this year's budget problems to the next governor. It also includes a plan to create...
  • Sen. Hatch Proposes Border Security Bill

    10/04/2010 1:59:28 AM PDT · by jdirt · 53 replies
    Center for Immigration Studies ^ | oct. 3, 2010 | Janice Kephart
    If you care about illegal immigration, how bout calling your Senators and ask that they co-sponser this bill? Senator Hatch Drops a Helpful and Thoughtful Border Security Bill By Janice Kephart , October 3, 2010 Amongst all the chit-chat by the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and President Obama about it being time for Congress to "step up and do something on immigration," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has. That being said, I'm pretty sure Sen. Hatch's bill does not reflect this administration's checklist of priorities, but it should. Why? The bill is thoughtful and provides remedies to problems either...
  • Will Republicans live up to Pledge?

    09/26/2010 11:30:47 AM PDT · by Graybeard58 · 48 replies
    Waterbury Republican-American ^ | September 26, 2010 | Editorial
    "Democrats are already tagging the events as campaign gimmicks, which, of course, they are. But in the stunts can be seen evidence that one political party is finally taking seriously public demands for reform and change ... (and ending) irresponsible spending, oppressive taxation and regulation, harmful social policy and self-aggrandizement." Was this a hastily penned conservative response to the Pledge to America unveiled Thursday morning by House Republicans? Not exactly. It's a passage from The Sunday Republican's lead editorial Sept. 25, 1994, after Newt Gingrich's insurgent, resurgent GOP issued its Contract With America. The Contract was a specific set of...
  • GOP Pledge? Or Status Quo?

    09/24/2010 8:27:49 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 17 replies ^ | September 24, 2010 | Rich Galen
    Republican leader John Boehner (R-Oh) and his Republican House colleagues released their "Pledge to America" yesterday. As you might have guessed, Congressional Democrats and their allies in the Popular Press came out swinging: Too broad. Not enough specifics. No promise to cut out earmarks. Nothing new. Blah, blah … blah. Here's what I said (I have edited this slightly to make me sound smarter than I actually was, but this is the thrust) to one of my favorite sparring partners, pollster Cornell Belcher, on CNN last night. Cornell, in your next poll ask this question: Thinking about the Republican's "Pledge...
  • Schwarzenegger spokesman: Leaders have 'framework of an agreement' on budget

    09/23/2010 4:58:33 PM PDT · by SmithL · 9 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 9/23/10 | Torey Van Oot
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders have reached the "framework of an agreement" to solve the $19 billion budget deficit, Schwarzenegger's spokesman said this afternoon. . . .
  • "Pledge to America" Gets Mixed Reviews from Conservatives

    09/23/2010 7:55:47 AM PDT · by jessduntno · 76 replies · 1+ views
    See BS ^ | Just Now
    House Republicans on Wednesday night released their long-anticipated "Pledge to America" to mixed reviews from conservative commentators. Some pundits reacted favorably, calling the 21-page document an impressive step beyond the 1994 GOP "Contract with America." But others blasted the document as light on substance and short on promises to key conservative voting blocs, such as the Tea Party and social conservatives. "Is the pledge as bold as the Contract?" write the editors of the National Review. "The answer is: The pledge is bolder. The Contract with America merely promised to hold votes on popular bills that had been bottled up...
  • How about this pledge: “I will not swallow any more crap sandwiches”

    09/23/2010 9:15:25 AM PDT · by Notary Sojac · 70 replies ^ | 23 Sept 2010 | Michelle Malkin
    Making pledges is easy. Keeping them? Not so much. Just ask Mr. Hope and Change. The new GOP pledge is fine as far as it goes — especially the upfront acknowledgment that government’s powers derive from the consent of the governed, not from the penumbras emanating from the fingertips of all President Obama’s czars. But actions speak louder than words. And no action bespoke of the gap between conservative rhetoric and reality louder than the hysterical votes of 91 Republicans who voted with Chicken Little Democrats under the Republican Bush administration to pass the TARP all-purpose banking/auto suppliers/life insurance/AIG bailout.For...
  • A picture is worth a thousand words

    09/14/2010 8:33:14 AM PDT · by AuntB · 38 replies
    Examiner ^ | Sept. 12, 2010 | Dave Gibson
    <p>The attached photo is of a female National Guard soldier working near El Paso, Texas, along the U.S./Mexican border.</p> <p>Take a close look at the soldier’s M-16…There is no magazine in the rifle!</p> <p>If anyone still needed proof that President Obama has no intention of defending this country, this should do it.</p>
  • The Audacity of Smoke

    09/11/2010 6:16:30 AM PDT · by libstripper · 27 replies ^ | September 11, 2010 | Mike Adams
    The President of the United States of America is a dishonest man. He is also a poor excuse for a constitutional law scholar. Both of these accusations can be supported by looking at his handling of the recent controversies involving the Ground Zero mosque and an unhinged pastor’s planned burning of the Koran.
  • Border mission 'not unique' for Guardsmen

    09/04/2010 1:44:57 PM PDT · by AuntB · 7 replies · 1+ views
    National Guard Bureau/by way of NAFBPO ^ | Sept. 3, 2010 | By Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
    Arlington, Va., (9/3/10) -- Almost 1,100 National Guard members are on duty on the Southwest border performing a mission that is very familiar to many of them, a Guard official said today. "This (mission) is not really unique," said Jack Harrison, the director of communications for the National Guard Bureau. "The National Guard has been involved at the Southwest border for two decades." During that time, National Guard members have worked in the counterdrug program in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. "Above and beyond the 1,200 authorized for this mission, there are over 350 counterdrug personnel (in these states)...
  • National Guard troops to deploy to Arizona border on Monday; they'll be armed for self-defense

    08/27/2010 3:14:55 PM PDT · by markomalley · 25 replies
    Fox News ^ | 8/27/2010
    The first of 532 National Guard troops are set to begin their mission in the southern Arizona desert on Monday under President Barack Obama's plan to beef up U.S.-Mexico border security, although they won't have any law enforcement authority. Authorities would not say how many troops would start Monday, but said waves of them will be deploying every Monday until all 532 are on the Arizona border, likely by the end of September. In May, Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to boost security along the border. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said the first of 224 National Guard troops...
  • CalPERS loan just latest budget-balancing gimmick

    08/22/2010 8:45:11 AM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/22/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    In the ongoing budget stalemate, Democrats refuse to accept devastating cuts while Republicans reject new taxes. Nobody is budging. The longer this drags out, the more likely it is that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers will resort to a well-worn playbook of accounting shifts, borrowing and asset sales to close out the rest of the budget. In the past, this has included paying state workers one day later and trying to sell the quasi-public state workers' compensation insurance fund. Such one-time budget tricks delay political backlash but contribute to California's long-term financial instability. They avoid taxes, so Republicans are happy....
  • McCain says he doesn't back 14th Amendment change

    08/13/2010 11:00:01 AM PDT · by Free ThinkerNY · 43 replies · 1+ views
    Associated Press ^ | August 13, 2010 | BOB CHRISTIE
    PHOENIX (AP) -- Sen. John McCain says he does not support changing the Constitution to end automatic citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants. The Republican Arizona senator told The Associated Press that despite the current flurry of news stories on the topic and a statement he made last week that was widely interpreted as saying he supported hearings on the matter, he remains unconvinced that such a change is needed.
  • National Guard Troops Deployed to Border Will Not Be Used to Stop Illegal Aliens

    08/09/2010 2:25:57 PM PDT · by La Lydia · 58 replies
    CNS News ^ | August 8, 2010 | EDWIN MORA
    The 1,200 National Guard troops that are being deployed incrementally to the southwest border “will not be doing direct law enforcement,” said U.S. National Guard Bureau Director of Communications Jack Harrison when asked if the forces would be interdicting drugs and undocumented immigrants. “The two mission sets are criminal analysts and enter-identification team,” Harrison told “I can tell you that guardsmen will not be doing direct law enforcement on the southwest border.” In other words, the National Guardsmen will not be used to actually stop and detain illegal aliens trying to sneak across the border into the United States.Harrison...
  • How to make $1.4 billion of the state's budget deficit disappear (California)

    07/19/2010 9:54:19 PM PDT · by Spktyr · 15 replies
    Los Angeles Times ^ | July 16, 2010 | Shane Goldmacher
    There are supposed to be two ways to close a deficit: raise taxes or cut spending. But a move is afoot in the Legislature to trim California’s budget shortfall through Sacramento's time-honored third way: making rosier revenue assumptions. The Legislative Analyst's Office gave lawmakers just such an opening. Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) said Thursday that Republicans and Democrats alike had agreed to cut $1.4 billion from the deficit by penciling in the rosier revenue forecast by the LAO, which anticipates more tax revenue than is projected by the state Department of Finance.
  • CALIFORNIA: Democratic leaders say they have two-house budget plan

    07/01/2010 12:50:01 PM PDT · by SmithL · 15 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 7/1/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    On the eve of the new fiscal year, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez said Wednesday that they have a unified Democratic budget framework. Lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger still remain far from enacting a bipartisan budget to bridge an estimated $19.1 billion deficit, however. As a consequence, the state will stop paying vendors, local governments and community colleges on Thursday. The state also will withhold pay for lawmakers and their aides. Steinberg and Pérez met last night with the Republican governor and committed to regular negotiations that also include GOP lawmakers. That in...
  • {GOLDEN STATE} Despite budget deadlock, lawmakers eye monthlong recess

    06/28/2010 6:45:06 PM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 6/28/10 | Jim Sanders
    With no budget agreement in sight, California is set to begin a new fiscal year Thursday with a looming $19.1 billion deficit -- and with lawmakers set to leave Sacramento the following day for a monthlong summer recess.
  • Lockyer says he can't sell Assembly plan to Wall Street

    06/22/2010 8:19:07 AM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 6/22/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    Assembly Democrats want to borrow nearly $9 billion against future oil production taxes to help solve the state's $19.1 billion deficit, but Treasurer Bill Lockyer said today he can't sell such bonds to Wall Street. "We have to have a clean opinion from the Attorney General's Office to sell bonds," said Lockyer, a Democrat who oversees state borrowing. "So far, we don't." After analyzing the Assembly plan, Attorney General Jerry Brown's office last week concluded that "a court could reasonably determine that the proposed transaction violates Proposition 58," a 2004 ballot measure that prohibited borrowing to resolve budget deficits. Assembly...
  • Dan Walters: A three-way stalemate over California's budget

    06/22/2010 8:04:53 AM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 6/22/10 | Dan Walters
    Budget, budget, who's got a budget? The governor has a state budget that his fellow Republicans more or less support. Assembly Democrats have a budget whose centerpiece is a complex scheme to borrow billions of dollars. And Democratic senators have a budget that's based on raising taxes and shifting some programs from the state to counties. Democrats control the 10-member, two-house conference committee that's supposed to be reconciling all three budgets into one version that would be placed before the entire Legislature. They have the votes to do it. However, the committee has been going through the budget page by...
  • US troops won't be used to stop illegal immigration: US

    US National Guard troops being sent to the Mexican border will be used to stem the flow of guns and drugs across the frontier and not to enforce US immigration laws, the State Department said Wednesday. The clarification came after the Mexican government urged Washington not to use the additional troops to go after illegal immigrants. President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized the deployment of up to 1,200 additional troops to border areas but State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, "It's not about immigration." He said the move was "fully consistent with our efforts to do our part to...
  • Dan Walters: California's quandary Greek-like?

    05/12/2010 12:37:55 PM PDT · by SmithL · 14 replies · 425+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/12/10 | Dan Walters
    The term "failed state" often pops up in discussions about California's evident governmental dysfunction, a malady most obvious in its chronically unbalanced state budget. More than one commentator has likened California to Greece, whose chronic deficits and soaring public debt have driven it to virtual insolvency, requiring massive bailouts. Is it a fair comparison? Yes – and no. There certainly are similarities, at least in the broadest sense. Like Greece, California has chronically overspent its revenues. Voters and politicians have made spending commitments that are unsustainable even when the economy is healthy. They have even slashed taxes for special interest...
  • CALIFORNIA: State budget woes grow deeper as rosy projections come up short

    05/12/2010 7:54:53 AM PDT · by SmithL · 33 replies · 866+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/12/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    Washington hasn't come to the rescue. Hopes for a tax windfall were dashed last month. As the reality of a $20 billion deficit sets in, California leaders are bracing for another summer of difficult state budget talks. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will kick off serious budget discussions Friday with his May budget revision. The governor is likely to propose reductions in everything from social services to schools to state worker compensation. "What you can expect generally is no taxes and terrible cuts, absolutely terrible cuts," said Schwarzenegger press secretary Aaron McLear. "We're not going to get through the deficit we have...
  • California can use $2 billion in local money to balance budget, judge says

    05/04/2010 11:35:04 AM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies · 469+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/4/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that California can take $2 billion from local redevelopment agencies for state budget relief, avoiding for now a pitfall that had threatened to exacerbate the state deficit. California redevelopment agencies are likely to appeal the decision. But state leaders breathed a sigh of relief after Judge Lloyd G. Connelly, a former assemblyman, upheld their 2009 budget plan to reduce the state's burden by using redevelopment funds to pay for local education obligations.
  • Dan Walters: State fiscal plan mostly just wishes

    05/02/2010 9:41:50 AM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies · 408+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/2/10 | Dan Walters
    Cross the fingers of both hands, hold them out in front of you, close your eyes and think beautiful thoughts. Congratulations, you are now fully qualified to help fashion a new state budget. Say what? Yes indeed, Capitol politicians' strategy for dealing with this year's version of the chronic deficit appears, so far, to be crossing their fingers, closing their eyes and wishing really, really hard that there will be a miraculous surge in revenue or a sudden infusion of money from Uncle Sugar. In fact, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's current budget is based on a wishful assumption that the feds...
  • CALIFORNIA: Lingering budget woes make mockery of JFK award

    03/16/2010 8:28:42 PM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies · 219+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 3/16/10 | Wyatt Buchanan
    Four leaders in California's Legislature won a prestigious political award Tuesday for working across party lines last year to solve the state's budget deficit - but the camaraderie at the Capitol was short lived. Soon after the award was announced, legislative leaders clashed with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after he announced he would veto Democratic legislation passed to chip away at the state's newest budget deficit of $20 billion. The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award recognizes people who make difficult decisions despite personal and political consequences and was awarded to Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, Assemblyman Mike Villines, R-Clovis (Fresno...
  • Dan Walters: Rosy scenario peddled as California budget savior

    02/23/2010 7:57:08 AM PST · by SmithL · 5 replies · 304+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 2/23/10 | Dan Walters
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators don't appear to be in any hurry to address this year's version of the state budget crisis. By this time last year, they had not only dealt with a deficit in the current year's budget but enacted – four months early – a 2009-10 budget that included hefty tax hikes. The early budget ploy didn't pan out, however, because voters rejected many of its provisions in a special election and the deficit widened further. Officially, the state has another gap of about $20 billion, and Schwarzenegger has proposed a budget that relies, incredibly, on...
  • California lawmakers consider $5 billion in budget cuts(Dems talk it to death)

    02/21/2010 8:05:19 AM PST · by TigerLikesRooster · 21 replies · 590+ views
    SacBee ^ | 02/21/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    California lawmakers consider $5 billion in budget cuts Published Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010 In the midst of an economic free fall one year ago, state lawmakers scrambled to pass a $40 billion deficit solution in an emergency session. Democratic leaders locked down the Capitol for days at a time. A handful of Republicans believed the situation was so desperate that they voted for tax hikes. The pace is markedly slower this time. California faces a $19.9 billion deficit, but lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have decided against trying to solve the problem in one February fell swoop. State leaders...
  • CALIFORNIA: Democrats' budget plan advances in Senate { Tax and Spend }

    02/17/2010 8:03:44 AM PST · by SmithL · 7 replies · 406+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 2/17/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    The Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday approved rollbacks of two corporate tax breaks as part of a complex gas-tax swap to help close the state's $19.9 billion deficit. The committee also approved a 4.8 percent surcharge on residential and commercial property insurance to generate roughly $200 million for the 2010-11 general fund. All told, the Democratic budget plan would reduce the deficit by $5.3 billion, but most savings would come in the next fiscal year starting in July. The Democratic plan allows companies to apply only 68 percent of past operating losses against income in 2010, shrinking that tax benefit...
  • Dan Walters: L.A. budget troubles hold a lesson for the Capitol

    02/16/2010 7:54:23 AM PST · by SmithL · 5 replies · 387+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 2/16/10 | Dan Walters
    California, with its complex mélange of cultural, demographic and economic forces, may be, some observers contend, just a concentrated microcosm of the United States, telling the rest of the nation what it can expect as the 21st century unwinds. If that's true, Los Angeles is a microcosm of California. That makes the city's budget crisis not only a reflection of the state's own chronic fiscal woes, but also a case study of the countervailing political forces. Los Angeles is contending with budget deficits of $600 million-plus over the next 18 months. But it has a liberal mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, and...
  • AM Alert: Senate Dems' stop-gap solution { Smoke & Mirrors in the Golden State }

    02/10/2010 8:01:29 AM PST · by SmithL · 2 replies · 274+ views
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 2/10/10 | Torey Van Oot
    Senate Democrats are expected to release a stop-gap budget solution for tackling part of the state's projected $19.9 billion deficit. Bee colleague Kevin Yamamura reports that the plan includes pushing back major cuts to social services and education and giving local governments the ability to raise gas prices for transit. Members of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee are expected to begin voting on the proposal at today's 10:30 a.m. hearing. Another hot-button hearing: The Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee meets at 9 a.m. to discuss the findings of a review that found state agencies spent nearly $30...
  • California legislators in no rush to start patching $20 billion deficit

    02/01/2010 7:48:29 AM PST · by SmithL · 16 replies · 475+ views
    San Jose Mercury News ^ | 2/1/10 | Denis C. Theriault
    SACRAMENTO — Nearly a month after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called an emergency legislative session to begin tackling some $8.9 billion in budget fixes, the clock for lawmakers would seem to be ticking louder every day. But aside from a few lengthy budget hearings and some closed-door huddles, the Capitol's business has mostly been, well, business as usual. Bills have hatched and died. Cocktails have been downed at campaign soirees. And industry lobbyists have made the rounds — some of them carrying balloons. Concrete alternatives to the governor's deep cuts to schools, transit funding and welfare programs will wait until this...
  • Dan Walters: Schwarzenegger's legacy is written in red ink

    01/26/2010 7:54:42 AM PST · by SmithL · 12 replies · 331+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/26/10 | Dan Walters
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, with 11 months remaining in his star-crossed governorship, says it's "a little bit too early to reflect" on his legacy – but California voters appear to be rendering their verdict already, and it's not a positive one. Schwarzenegger once enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings ever recorded for a California governor – 65 percent during his first months – but the latest Field Research poll, released on Sunday, found that just 27 percent of registered voters approve of his performance, and 59 percent say he'll leave state government in worse condition than he found it. Schwarzenegger professed...
  • Bay Area leaders tout measure to block state take-aways

    01/25/2010 7:37:12 AM PST · by SmithL · 4 replies · 260+ views
    Contra Costa Times ^ | Updated 1/25/10 | Elisabeth Nardi and Paul Thissen
    City and county leaders across California are fed up, their pleas to state legislators to not raid local revenue sources ignored. For the second year in a row, cities are battling the state in court over local redevelopment money. So they are heading to the ballot box, for the second time in a decade. The League of California Cities and other government associations are collecting signatures for an initiative the group says would stop the taking, borrowing or "stealing" of city and county property taxes, gas taxes and other local revenue by the state — as it did last year...
  • EBay Sellers' Rebellion: The Aftermath

    01/24/2010 8:43:24 AM PST · by khnyny · 105 replies · 2,785+ views ^ | January 20, 2010 | Catherine Clifford
    NEW YORK ( -- As one of his first moves upon becoming CEO, eBay chief John Donahoe unveiled a slew of changes to the online marketplace, kicking off an uproar among sellers and sparking boycotts. Two years later, eBay is finally starting to see signs of success on its turnaround plan. The San Jose, Calif., e-commerce giant on Wednesday reported 2009 sales of $8.7 billion, up from $8.5 billion in 2008. That's a 14% increase from the $7.7 billion in revenue eBay had in 2007, the year before Donahoe's overhaul. EBay's profits, though, haven't kept pace with its sales growth....
  • Schwarzenegger plan for gasoline taxes slammed as "bait and switch"

    01/14/2010 8:02:32 AM PST · by SmithL · 8 replies · 438+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/14/10 | Tony Bizjak
    California drivers could save a dollar and change each visit to the gas pump under a tax swap proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In an effort to free up money to balance the state budget, the governor wants to reduce the sales tax motorists pay on gas purchases while increasing the gas excise tax, also paid at the pump. The net result, state finance officials estimate, would be a 5-cent savings for consumers per gallon of gas in the next year. A Bee calculation based on this week's $3-per-gallon average in California puts the savings at 7 cents a gallon....
  • Dan Walters: Schwarzenegger's blue-sky budget rebuked

    01/13/2010 8:03:42 AM PST · by SmithL · 2 replies · 287+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/13/10 | Dan Walters
    One dictionary defines "blue sky" as "idealistic or visionary and without practical application" or, alternatively, as "not worth very much money." There's also a verb form of the phrase, meaning to peddle a worthless concept. It's most often applied to con artists. When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled his last budget proposal last week, one that supposedly dealt with the state's chronic deficits, it was evident that he was blue-skying it with fanciful and politically unrealistic notions that once again sidestepped the chronic imbalance between income and outgo. The budget is riddled with them, the most fantastic being inclusion of $6.9...
  • Dan Walters: Schwarzenegger reverts to fantasy with budget proposal

    01/10/2010 5:25:43 PM PST · by SmithL · 2 replies · 360+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/10/10 | Dan Walters
    Arnold Schwarzenegger achieved fame and fortune by starring in celluloid fantasies, so it may be fitting that his final state budget proposal would be so disconnected from economic and political reality. With the state still facing huge deficits, the governor bases his 2010-11 budget on such fanciful elements as persuading the federal government to cough up an extra $7 billion, asking voters to reverse themselves and shift money from protected pots for mental health and children's programs, overhauling transportation financing, and persuading state employee unions to accept pay cuts and increases in workers' pension and health care costs. Even Schwarzenegger's...
  • Schwarzenegger sets the bar high for his last year in office

    01/04/2010 7:42:35 AM PST · by SmithL · 12 replies · 412+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/4/10 | Kevin Yamamura
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made it sound easy to fix California when he first ran for governor, but his last six years have proved otherwise. He took office in 2003 on a promise to "end the crazy deficit spending" and change state government as we knew it. As Schwarzenegger enters his final year in office, however, California faces massive fiscal problems, while advocates of government reform say a constitutional convention, not an ambitious chief executive, is the best cure for the state's woes. "Schwarzenegger swept in on this wave of 'I'm going to clean office and be the reformer governor' rhetoric...
  • Steinberg sets sights on filling budget hole in new year

    12/21/2009 4:46:58 PM PST · by SmithL · 2 replies · 234+ views
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 12/21/9 | Susan Ferriss and Torey Van Oot
    For state lawmakers, ringing in the New Year also means getting ready for what's shaping up to be another painful budget season. They'll return to the Capitol Jan. 4 to tackle a deficit that is expected to swell to $6.3 billion by the end of the fiscal year. Filling that hole -- and the $21 billion deficit projected for the next 18 months --tops Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's list of priorities for the new year. Steinberg said in an interview with The Bee that while further cuts and new revenues will be needed to close that gap, the...
  • Dan Walters: California budget boss jumps off before train wrecks

    11/08/2009 9:19:57 AM PST · by SmithL · 6 replies · 707+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 11/9/9 | Dan Walters
    Mike Genest, who announced recently that he's resigning as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget director, deserves a respite after four years of dealing with the state's chronic fiscal crisis. Genest is a genuinely nice guy,... His imminent departure, however, is a reminder that as Schwarzenegger settles on what he'll propose on state spending two months hence, California is still speeding toward a train wreck. The Legislature's budget analyst, Mac Taylor, will issue his appraisal soon. He'll probably tell his bosses what they don't want to hear – that things are getting worse, not better. State revenues are running billions of dollars...
  • Dan Walters: Right on schedule, state budget springs a leak {CALIFORNIA}

    10/14/2009 8:00:32 AM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies · 546+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/14/9 | Dan Walters
    Three months ago, as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature enacted a much-revised state budget, this column pointed out that the state was seemingly operating on a five-month budget cycle. With recession rampant, it would take about three months for new holes to appear in a revised budget and two more months for the politicians to make still another adjustment. As if on cue, state Controller John Chiang is providing new evidence that the 2009-10 budget is leaking red ink. During the first quarter of the fiscal year, state revenues came in more than a billion dollars under the budget's...
  • Dan Walters: Tough budget year soon may be seen as 'good old days'

    10/07/2009 8:00:50 AM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies · 346+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/7/9 | Dan Walters
    Golfers call it a "mulligan" or even more colloquially, a "mullie," but the rest of us would say it's a "do-over" when things don't go as well as hoped and we make a new stab at getting it right. Capitol politicians and various interest groups are pursuing mulligans on many of the specific provisions of the state budget that legislators ultimately adopted in July and that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger later signed after slashing nearly a half-billion dollars in spending. "This has been a very tough budget, probably the toughest since I have been in office here in Sacramento," the governor...
  • CALIFORNIA: High court says state can't raid transit funds

    10/02/2009 7:45:47 AM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies · 379+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 10/2/9 | Matthew Yi
    Sacramento - -- The California Supreme Court has left intact a lower court's ruling that the state illegally raided money intended for local public transit projects, a decision that could leave the cash-strapped state on the hook for up to $3.6 billion.The lawsuit is one of several facing the state over its spending plans, which have repeatedly relied on accounting gimmicks such as the transfer of funds from one state account to another.Losing the lawsuits would exacerbate the state's fiscal problems - a $7 billion to $8 billion shortfall is already expected for next year - and lawmakers are expected...