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THE NOONER for November 16, 2011

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DISTRICT UPDATES

  • CD03 - added West Valley-Mission CCD trustee Chad Walsh (N)
  • AD66 - added businessman Craig Huey (R)

I'm letting eureka! send out The Nooner a bit early today to coordinate with the release of the LAO Fiscal Outlook at 11:30.

LAO FISCAL OUTLOOK

For the last two years, the regular Legislative Analyst's Office publication California's Fiscal Outlook: Projections for [5-year period] has been renamed "California's Fiscal Outlook: The [Current Year] Budget." While the five-year outlook is still included in the report, budgeteers have cared more recently about the remaining seven months of the fiscal year. This year likely will be no different. 

Here are five things I'll be looking at when the report comes out:

  • Current-year shortfall: if it is greater than $1 billion, higher education, DDS and IHSS will be cut; higher than $2 billion, add $1.5 billion cut to K-12. I'm guessing the projection will be $4-5 billion below budget.
  • "Eighteen-month" deficit: This has been the main number of focus in recent years. Basically, if we do nothing until the normal budget debate, you add the current-year shortfall to the 2012-13 ("budget year") deficit. This takes into accounts both the revenue and expenditure side of the house. Knowing that we started with a $3.5 billion deficit in 2012-13, adding on the current year shortfall and offsetting the triggers, I'm guessing this will be in the $13-15 billion range.
  • Unemployment rate: California's unemployment rate is currently 11.9%, exactly where the LAO projected we'd be in last November's report. The forecast for 2012 last November was 10.5%. The Congressional Budget Office projects national unemployment roughly where it is now throughout the next year. This will probably be depressing, as I'm guessing we'll see a number above 11% through 2012 as the "more productive" economy with fewer workers grows sluggishly and disaffected workers not currently counted in the rate start looking for jobs again. 
  • Personal income: Because of California's heavy reliance on personal income tax, the most important indicator may be personal income. Last year, it forecasted that personal income would grow 3.5% in 2011 and 4.3% in 2012. Look here for possible signs of good news. 
  • Alternative K-12 cut? Few people I talk to believe that the cut of $1.5 billion from K-12 schools to shorten the school year by seven days will be made, even if revenues fall short enough so that both triggers are pulled. After all, while some believe there needs to be blood on the streets to get voters to support more taxes, it is an election year, and shortening the CURRENT school year would be very unpopular. If the LAO's revenue numbers are at least $2 billion below forecast, do they suggest an alternative cut?

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E. G.'s been calling the city and county to report me missing, but no luck so far—the phone messages just say, "budget cutbacks." Anyway, his iPhone died and he forgot his charger, so now I'm his official conduit and spokesman. (Ahem) "I got Tim Hart here; he's okay—so far. Go to my Facebook page and buy my short story collection, so nothing bad should happen. Please."

reserve this space

If you were hoping to see what Assemblymember Mary Hayashi would wear to court, you're out of luck for now. She was represented by her lawyerDouglas Rappaport yesterday, who got a delay of the preliminary hearing until December 7 and permission for Hayashi to skip the hearing. [Henry K. Lee @ SF Chron]

Meanwhile, Craig Huey, the Torrance businessman who became a Tea Party favorite in his bid against Janice Hahn for the congressional seat left vacant by Jane Harman, has cast his sights on AD66. This is one of the truly toss-up races in the state, and the Republican "primary" will likely see Huey take the conservative helm and engineer Nathan Mintz aim for the moderates. Meanwhile, Torrance school board member Al Maratsuchi is currently the only Democrat in the race and can likely spend nominal money in June and expect to capture one of the top-two spots in this district with 38.5% Dem-35.4% Rep split.

WHAT ABOUT ON THE 405? Court: Cell phones not OK to use at red light [Bob Egelko @ SF Chron]

And, we have the headlines:

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
State, School Officials Call Out Supervisors On Tax Take Back - Voice Of Oc | Orange County's Nonprofit Investigative News Agency: County Government: $48 Million Oops, Orange County Supervisors, State Department Of Finance, H.d. Palmer, David Sundstrom
voiceofoc.org
The State Department of Finance on Tuesday issued a harsh rebuke of Orange County government officials for defying Sacramento's budget allocations on property taxes.

Prime Healthcare sues against Kaiser, SEIU
The Associated Press @
signonsandiego.com
The owner of 14 California hospitals has filed an antitrust lawsuit claiming Kaiser Permanente and the Service Employees International Union are conspiring to monopolize the Southern California health care market.

Felony Theft Case Against Assemblywoman Delayed
sacbee.com
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi must wait a little longer for a preliminary hearing date in her grand theft case.

Assemblywoman Alyson Huber To Relocate In Bid For Third Term
Jim Sanders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Assemblywoman Alyson Huber will move into a neighboring district to seek re-election to a third and final term in the lower house next year.

Small Business Gears Up To Participate In Legislative Races :: Fox&hounds
foxandhoundsdaily.com
Small business associations in California are discussing coming together to influence the coming legislative elections. Marty Keller, former Small Business Advocate for the state of California, has formed the Small Business Revolution, intended to be a PAC supporting candidates who will form a business friendly majority in the state legislature.

More Than 1,000 Take Part In UC Berkeley General Strike
bshuster @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
The general strike at UC Berkeley may have started slowly, with a smattering of classes taking place on chilly Sproul Plaza over the course of the morning. But by noon, the protest was in full swing. More than 1,000 chanting, singing, sign-waving students and faculty members spilled down the steps of Sproul Hall and crowded the balcony of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, where protesters had hung red placards spelling out the word "ACTION" in bold black letters.

Gunman Shot By UC Berkeley Police Dies
Henry K. Lee @
sfgate.com
The gunman shot by UC Berkeley police at the Haas School of Business was a student and has died at a hospital, a university spokesman said today. The name of the 33-year-old student was not immediately released. UC...

Police officers pitch a new way on health care
signonsandiego.com
The soaring costs of health care for current and retired San Diego police officers has led union leaders to offer a new proposal they say would slash expenses for officers and taxpayers” -- if city leaders implement the plan.

Whistle-blower On Lee Donations Says He Was Fired
sfgate.com
A whistle-blower who alleged that a San Francisco property-management company was laundering contributions to Mayor Ed Lee's campaign has been fired and threatened with eviction, an e-mail from another of his employers...

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi's Grand Theft Case Still In Limbo
Jim Sanders @
blogs.sacbee.com
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi must wait a little longer for a preliminary hearing date in her grand theft case.

Legislators Face Deadline In Two Weeks To Turn In State Cars
latimesblogs.latimes.com
State lawmakers are scrambling to find new transportation as the Dec. 1 deadline approaches for them to give up their state-owned cars.

Pension reform group files tweaks to California initiative proposals
Jon Ortiz @
blogs.sacbee.com
California Pension Reform, the group pushing to put a public pension rollback measure on the November 2012 ballot, on Tuesday filed amendments with the attorney general intended to clarify their provisions.

California budget cuts depend on revenue forecasts
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
signonsandiego.com
California's nonpartisan budget analyst on Wednesday will release the first of two key revenue indicators that will determine whether additional state spending cuts will be triggered automatically in the new year, hitting public schools, colleges and health care programs.

Prop. 8 Backers: Trial Videos Would Be Misused
Bob Egelko @
sfgate.com
Sponsors of California's ban on same-sex marriage are urging a federal appeals court to keep videos of last year's trial locked up, saying their release would let gay-rights advocates flood the Internet with one-sided...

Administration officials double as Obama campaign speakers
Peter Nicholas, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
Campaign finance laws allow top aides to raise money for the president's reelection effort, though they have to walk a fine line to avoid violating other federal restrictions.

Oakland parcel tax defeated in mail-in election
Angela Woodall @
mercurynews.com
Voters in Oakland's special mail-in election defeated an $80 parcel tax intended to help ease the city's budget They also turned down Measure J, which would have extended Oakland's deadline to fund the Police and Fire Retirement System.

Cities Seek An Antidote To Medical Marijuana
Jessica Garrison @
latimes.com
Costly lawsuits do not always succeed, many municipalities have discovered.

Prime Healthcare Files Antitrust Suit Against Kaiser Permanente, SEIU
dailybulletin.com
The filing is the latest in a series of allegations and counter-allegations that have lately been related to Prime Healthcare's affiliate's attempt to purchase a troubled Victorville hospital.

Protesters Guard UC Berkeley's New Occupy Camp
Justin Berton @
sfgate.com
About 100 protesters were gathered on the steps of UC Berkeley's Sproul Hall this morning after pitching tents and spending the night on the administration building's stairs. Campus police told the mix of students and...

Head to Head: Should U.S. change law to treat marijuana like alcohol and tobacco?
sacbee.com
When Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, it listed marijuana as a Schedule I dangerous drug. Some states, including California, have decriminalized possession and allow people to cultivate and distribute marijuana for medical purposes. State law, however, doesn't protect doctors, dispensaries and growers from federal prosecution, as the recent federal crackdown shows.

Analyst Puts California's Deficit At Nearly $13 Billion
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
California would impose $2 billion in mid-year "trigger" cuts next month, mostly through K-12 school reductions, under a new revenue forecast issued this morning by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. The LAO also said the deficit for the year beginning July 1, 2012 would be nearly $13 billion.

Poll: 47% say nix Obama health care
Tim Mak @
politico.com
Splitting sharply along partisan lines, more Americans want to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care reform law than want to keep it, a new poll Wednesday shows.