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THE NOONER for December 6, 2011
FUNNIEST FIVE MINUTES OF YOUR DAY: California's Direct Democracy Troubles [The Daily Show]
SANTA CLAUS: Governor Jerry Brown sent the people of California a letter yesterday telling them that he was going directly to the voters with his tax plan. He intends to go the initiative route for the plan, a constitutional amendment, which will require 807,615 signatures.
The four-year plan would raise approximately $6.8 billion by increasing the sales tax by 0.5% and raise marginal tax rates on individuals making over $250,000, increasing by up to 2%. All of the funds would be dedicated to K-12 schools and community colleges. The measure would also provide a constitutional guarantee of funding for the $4 billion "realigned" to counties in last year's budget act, as well as protections against additional unfunded burdens placed on counties.
The additional funding for schools would count toward the Proposition 98 guarantee for K-14, and is roughly the Legislative Analyst's Office-projected amount required in 2013-14 ($53.78 billion) above the post-trigger funding level this year ($47.2 billion).
The increased revenues and treatment of them as strictly Prop. 98 will "free up" money between 2013-14 and 2016-17, which would otherwise be required to be added to K-12 and community college funding. Instead of dividing new state general fund revenues roughly 50/50 between Prop. 98 and non-98 programs, a much larger share would be available to restore non-98 programs.
Of course, the big question that the plan raises is the "step-down" in 2017-18, after the taxes expire. Because the funds are part of the Prop. 98 guarantee, the state will be obligated to keep the payments coming, even when the tax revenues sunset. While the Legislative Analyst's Office doesn't provide a forecast for 2017-18, the average general fund increase is around $5 billion in each of the next five years. Thus, even if all new money was dedicated to Prop. 98 in 2017-18, there would need to be a $2 billion cut to other programs to "replace" the temporary K-14 revenue, a suspension of the Prop. 98 degree and a $2 billion cut to schools, or there would be a campaign to renew the temporary taxes. We could see a ballot measure every four years in the presidential general to "avoid a $7 billion cut to our schools."
MORE SAINT NICK: Meanwhile, the coalition led by the California Federation of Teachers filed its competing initiative yesterday. The measure, which is statutory and would thus require 504,760 signatures, would raise an estimated $6 billion per year by increasing marginal rates on millionaire's by 2-3%. Here's how the money would be allocated:
Unlike the governor's proposal, the tax is not temporary, and the $2.6 billion for K-12 and community colleges would not count toward the Proposition 98 guarantee.
THE GRINCH: Catching the media wave of the two tax plans are the California Taxpayer Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and Small Business Action Committee. In a piece written by Jon Coupal in today's Flash Report, Coupal outlines a spending cap initiative the groups intend to file today:
"The measure will limit annual state appropriations to the prior year's level (adjusted for cost of living and population growth), require surplus revenue to first be spent on debt service and strengthen the two-thirds vote requirement for legislative passage of laws that authorize or raise new or higher taxes."
No language is available yet, and the big question will be how the initiative treats Proposition 98.
Remember Jerry Brown's prophecy from last spring? "Bellum omnium contra omnes" or "It'll be a war of all against all."
I think we have it. Just in time for the holidays!
LA CITY COUNCIL: Joe Buscaino 59%, Warren Furutani 29% [Feldmen Group for Buscaino; n=402 +/i 4.9%]
Obviously, modeling turnout for a January 17, 2012 is akin to making bets on the NBA before the schedule is released. Expect a poll from Furutani's camp soon where he's leading by a similar margin.
STILL DOWN: Still no Cal-Access database. This would be a good time to report all those contributions you don't want particular attention to...
FOODIE BLUES: Cosmopolitan Cafe is turning into another Cafe Bernardo. [Bob Schallit @ SacBee]
Damn, I just can't stop watching that Daily Show segment. Anyone want to repeal term limits with me so we can get Burton back in the Legislature?
This was my favorite trifecta during a particularly tense time with Pete Wilson:
And, we have the headlines...TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Jerry Brown to take tax hike plan straight to voters
Anthony York @ latimes.com
The governor, announcing a signature-gathering effort to place a measure to raise income and sales taxes on the November 2012 ballot, says he wants to avoid partisan gridlock in the Capitol.
Brown’s Turn: $7 Billion For Schools
Gov. Jerry Brown released his much-anticipated ballot initiative Monday, to temporarily raise sales and income taxes and use the money to repay K-12 schools and community colleges billions of dollars owed to them. The governor is hoping to qualify the initiative, titled The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, for November’s election.
Calif. governor asks voters for tax increases
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @ signonsandiego.com
Gov. Jerry Brown filed a ballot initiative on Monday asking California voters to increase taxes on themselves to generate more money for schools and public safety.
Jerry Brown Filing Initiative To Hike Taxes On Sales, Wealthy
Kevin Yamamura @ blogs.sacbee.com
Warning of deeper cuts to schools and public safety without new money, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday he will file a ballot initiative to hike taxes on sales and wealthy earners.
Partisan Gridlock No, Political Battle Yes
John Myers @ blogs.kqed.org
For a governor who took office with more actual experience than virtually any elected leader in modern times, the long-awaited announcement of a budget-related initiative seems to mark the official end to Act I of Jerry Brown's return to Sacramento.
UC Names Task Force Members To Investigate Pepper Spraying
Laurel Rosenhall @ blogs.sacbee.com
University of California President Mark G. Yudof has appointed the members of a task force to investigate the UC Davis police department's use of pepper spray on Nov. 18.
Brown's Five-year, Billion Package Raises Money For Schools, Cops
John Howard @ capitolweekly.net
Gov. Jerry Brown, making an end-run around legislative Republicans, unveiled his long-awaited tax plan -- a $7 billion-a-year mega-package over five years that includes new levies on Californiaâs wealthiest taxpayers to provide money for schools and public safety.
Is Gov. Jerry Brown Seeking Assistance From Harry Potter?
Wyatt Buchanan @ blog.sfgate.com
This morning, Brown's press shop sent an advisory to reporters that the governor would be at Universal Studios in Southern California tomorrow "to highlight a special announcement that will bring hundreds of millions of dollars into California's economy, help create jobs and support our tourism industry."
Two Initiatives Filed, One By Gov. Brown, To Raise Taxes On The Rich
Timm Herdt @ vcstar.com
Separate ballot measures that would increase state income taxes on the rich, one permanently and one for five years, were filed Monday, setting the stage for either the advocates coming together on a single plan or a tax-laden ballot next fall that analysts say could doom both measures.
Stop Spending, Sacramento! HJTA, Cal-Tax & SBAC To File Spending Limit Measure This Morning!
Jon Coupal @ flashreport.org
Turn on the news lately and youâll hear story after story about Governor Brown and his special interest cronies cooking up plans to impose tens of billions in new taxes on California families and small businesses. (Yes, Virginia, that's billions with a "b.")
Brown Tax Vote May Be Good For State :: Fox&hounds
While the call guarantees 11 more months of fighting over taxes, it also means that California voters will finally have to make a decision. Any decision.
Special fund furlough lawsuit revived in Oakland court
Jon Ortiz @ blogs.sacbee.com
A remnant of the "special funds" furlough litigation pressed by SEIU Local 1000 is set for a court hearing later this month.
Brown initiative seeks higher taxes to avoid deep school cuts
Gov. Jerry Brown asked voters Monday to increase taxes on sales and the rich in California, warning of damaging cuts without new money and blaming Republicans for partisan gridlock.
Critics Of State's High-speed Rail Plan Moving In For The Kill - Voice Of Oc | Orange County's Nonprofit Investigative News Agency: State: High-speed Rail, California, Criticism, Federal Funding, Kings County Board Of Supervisors
Three years ago last month, California voters approved a $42-billion proposal for a high-speed rail system that promised bullet trains going back and forth between Anaheim to San Francisco.
California's High-speed Train Losing Public Support
Dan Walters @ sacbee.com
Has California's bullet train project â or pipe dream â finally run off the track? Voters think so.
California's Direct Democracy System Spoofed By 'the Daily Show'
Torey Van Oot @ blogs.sacbee.com
California's direct democracy system got "The Daily Show" treatment last night, as the satirical news show aired a segment sparked by the now-fizzled ballot battle over the so-called "Amazon Tax."
Spending Limit Initiative Filed To Control Fiscal Chaos :: Fox&hounds
Special interests and the majority in the legislature continue to block attempts to put spending controls in place. They want freewheeling spending to continue.
Pension measure headed to June ballot, for now
The San Diego City Council on Monday moved to place on the ballot a proposal that would fundamentally overhaul the city's public employee pension system, a month after proponents collected the requisite number of signatures to qualify the measure.
Brown: Only way to avoid more cuts to schools, police is raise taxes
Steven Harmon @ mercurynews.com
SACRAMENTO -- In a direct appeal to voters, Gov. Jerry Brown wrote in an open letter Monday that the only way to avoid further debilitating cuts to schools and other popular services is to raise taxes.
Mitt Romney signals support for payroll tax extension
James Oliphant @ latimes.com
Mitt Romney came out in favor Monday of the payroll tax cut extension advocated by President Obama, sparking yet another war of words between his campaign and Democratic critics who claim Romney hasn’t been consistent on his support for the measure.
America's Cup: Winds Of Change On S.F. Waterfront
Stephanie Lee @ sfgate.com
As the America's Cup nears, so does moving day for merchants who have called the waterfront home for years. Massive construction projects for the world-famous sailing race and the port will soon begin on Pier 27. To...
Obama prods Congress on payroll tax as Democrats unveil new plan
Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau @ latimes.com
Senate Democrats are offering a new proposal to extend the payroll tax holiday, a strategy designed to reach out to Republicans who have shown little interest in continuing the $1,000 tax break for working Americans that expires at the end of the year.