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THE NOONER for June 22, 2011

While it may take a few years to determine if the Controller has a significantly larger role in budget debates, one thing is sure:  with $48,000 per day in lost earnings to members of the Legislature (that's $288,000 so far), expect a budget deal and fast.  But, how the heck do we get there?

There were widespread rumors of a Plan B (or are we on Plan C?) budget being released today, but the governor's office now say there is no such plan.  Legislators have returned to a busy legislative week, and people are really walking around dazed.

The relationship between the governor and Democratic leaders is approaching the eras of Gray Davis's "implement by vision" and Schwarzenegger's "girlie men."  Although, Brown isn't seen as only insulting legislators, but also their pocketbooks.

The biggest problem ($1.3 billion of $1.85 billion) identified under the Controller's analysis of the Democrats' plan is the underfunding of Proposition 98 for K-12 schools and community colleges.  That could be cured with a two-thirds vote to suspend, which school advocacy groups will publicly blast but probably could live with (most schools have already figured out to accommodate the deferral).  

The BIG QUESTION (aside from bank account balances of legislators) is how many of the non-tax, non-cuts solutions the governor will agree to support.  Most people read the leftover shortfall after the increased revenues, Prop. 98 deferrals and approved solutions as around $5 billion.  That's too big of a number to achieve without cuts or revenues, even if redevelopment is axed.  

Assuming taxes are off the table (beyond the relatively small majority vote items), it's near impossible to count the votes for $5 billion in additional cuts.  The same newspapers praising Chiang today will blast that level of cuts, and so there's a high possibility that there will be some sort of one-time solution at best or, ohmygod, smoke and mirrors to live to fight another day.

Following up yesterday's message questioning who might run on the Republican side against Feinstein, Daily Kos is dreaming of Feinstein's retirement.  Here's their wish list for possible successors to the senior senator's throne:

  1. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
  2. Congressment John Garamendi
  3. Congressman Xavier Bacerra
  4. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
  5. Secretary of State Debra Bowen
  6. Attorney General Kamala Harris
  7. Insurance Commisioner David Jones
  8. Senator Keven De Leon
  9. Senator Mark Leno
  10. Assemblymember Isadore Hall
  11. Assemblymember Fiona Ma
  12. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
  13. Mayor Kevin Johnson

Finally before the headlines, even the would-be legislators think we're in the pit.  The address at the bottom of the fundraising email today for Evan Low (candidate for 22nd AD)  gives the capital city a new name:  Scremento.

Assembly Speaker Calls Controller's Decision To Cut Off Lawmakers' Pay 'Wrong' - Shane Goldmacher @ latimesblogs.latimes.com
Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) said Tuesday that the state controller's decision to dock lawmakers' pay was "wrong" and would swing the balance of power in budget talks toward Republicans. "I continue to maintain that the Legislature met our constitutional duties in passing the budget last week," Perez said of the plan approved by lawmakers last week and swiftly vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Legislators Lose Pay. See You In Court? - John Myers @ blogs.kqed.org
Given the hard-to-be-lower approval ratings of the California Legislature, there's likely to be a lot of cheers around the state today from Controller John Chiang's decision to cancel the salary and expense payments for the 120 men and women who serve in the Assembly and Senate.

Chiang: Lawmakers Won't Get Paid - Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
The state budget passed by legislative Democrats but vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week was incomplete and unbalanced, according to state Controller John Chiang's analysis, so lawmakers failed to meet Proposition 25's requirement of a balanced budget by June 15 and will have to forfeit their pay since that date.

Controller Chiang: Budget Not Balance, Violated Proposition 25, Withholds Pay - Dan Oney @ publicceo.com
State Controller John Chiang today announced that his analysis of the State budget vetoed last week shows the spending plan was incomplete and unbalanced. His analysis sought to determine whether the budget met the requirements of Proposition 25 and Proposition 58, which forfeit Legislative pay if a balanced budget is not passed by June 15.

Controller Chiang halts pay for lawmakers - Kevin Yamamura @ blogs.sacbee.com
Controller John Chiang announced today he has blocked pay for lawmakers, rejecting his own party's spending plan as insufficient to satisfy a voter-approved law on timely budgets.

Head To Head: Should Brown Go Around Lawmakers And Put Tax Plan Up For A Ballot Vote? - sacbee.com
THE ISSUE: Gov. Jerry Brown continues to fall short of two Republican votes in the Assembly and two in the Senate to get a two-thirds supermajority vote to place an extension of temporary taxes enacted by legislators in 2009 on the ballot. Should he attempt an end run?

Controller halts pay for state legislators - Judy Lin @ mercurynews.com
California state Controller John Chiang is halting pay for state lawmakers, saying their budget plan was not balanced.

Recall Elections Surge In Local And State Governments - Nicholas Riccardi @ latimes.com
Recall elections, once a rarity, are surging in local and state governments, spurred in part by turmoil in Wisconsin over a Republican law limiting unions. Arizona state Senate President Russell Pearce is another prominent target.

Sen. Evans: Pay Ban Creates Constitutional Crisis - Kevin McCallum @ pressdemocrat.com
Some California legislators Tuesday denounced State Controller John Chiang's decision to dock their paychecks, saying he had upset the balance of power in Sacramento.

Reaction To Withholding Legislative Pay Rips Through Capitol - blogs.sacbee.com
Word of Controller John Chiang's decision to withhold legislative pay until passage of a balanced budget spread through the Capitol and state offices like wildfire Tuesday, sparking mixed reaction:

John Chiang's Pay Blockage Upends Budget Talks - Kevin Yamamura @ sacbee.com
Controller John Chiang has blocked pay for lawmakers, putting state budget negotiations into uncharted territory and upping the pressure on legislative leaders to strike a deal.

California Legislature To Forfeit Pay, Chiang Says - Shane Goldmacher @ latimes.com
The state controller's decision drives angry fellow Democrats back into budget talks with the governor.

Redevelopment Agencies In Limbo As California Budget Battle Continues - Sean Maher @ contracostatimes.com
Redevelopment agencies across the state remain in suspense this week, their future in jeopardy as lawmakers in Sacramento move toward using money aimed at local revitalization as a partial solution to the state debt and to fund schools.

Will East Bay Lawmakers Feel The Money Pinch? - Josh Richman @ ibabuzz.com
With state Controller John Chiang telling lawmakers they won't get paid because they haven't passed a balanced budget, it seemed like a good time to see which of our East Bay electeds are most likely to feel the pinch. The Form 700 Statement of Economic Interests filed by public officials each year sheds some light on who has a financial cushion and who doesn't.

Herdt: Brown Can't Get 4 Votes; How Can He Get 81? - Timm Herdt @ vcstar.com
If Brown thinks it's been difficult to round up four votes to put tax measures on the ballot, wait until he tries to find 81 votes to suspend the minimum school-funding guarantee.

Controller says he won't pay legislators - Shane Goldmacher @ latimes.com
California lawmakers must forfeit their pay as of mid-June because the budget they passed last week -- which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed less than 24 hours later -– was not balanced, the state controller said Tuesday.

Politicians Writing History - Joel Fox @ foxandhoundsdaily.com
Legislators are making themselves into history professors again and that is probably not a good thing. Days before the Assembly Education Committee meets on SB 48, which would require school textbooks to include the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender Americans, and persons with disabilities, the Department of Education released the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which reported that only 12% of high school seniors have a firm grasp of the nation's history.

No Pay, No Peace: Chiang Rising, Boosts Gov - calbuzz.com
Controller John Chiang's decision to block paychecks for members of the Legislature is a ballsy move that hands Gov. Jerry Brown a last-ditch, Indiana Jones-type opportunity to head off a summer-long budget deadlock.

Attorney General Cites 'Serious' Concerns About San Jose Pension Proposal - John Woolfolk @ mercurynews.com
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's proposal to declare a fiscal state of emergency and seek a ballot measure to trim employee pensions raises "serious" legal concerns, the office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris says.

Brown Plots New Budget As California Lawmakers Forfeit Pay For Being Late - Michael B. Marois and James Nash @ bloomberg.com
California Governor Jerry Brown has drafted a plan to pass a budget through the Legislature that sidesteps Republicans who blocked a previous effort, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Jon Huntsman Jr. Launches GOP Presidential Campaign - Paul West, Washington Bureau @ latimes.com
Republican Jon Huntsman Jr.'s long-shot candidacy depends largely on a gamble, as he positions himself to the left of his fellow GOP candidates. The former Utah governor and ambassador to China under President Obama promises a different sort of campaign.