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THE NOONER for December 9, 2011

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DISTRICT UPDATES

  • AD79 - removed La Mesa councilmember Dave Allan
  • AD79 - added Chula Vista councilmember Rudy Ramirez

HELP OUT BY TAKING THE NOONER FOUR-QUESTION SURVEY

THE AFTERNOONER: Good news: The Nooner is growing by leaps and bounds. Bad news: The mailservers have been taking the route of the Postal Service. I am working on it! As a reminder, at 12pm exactly, each day's Nooner is posted at www.aroundthecapitol.com/nooner/.

TRIGGER RELIEF?

The State Controller's Office reported yesterday that Personal Income Tax collections surged in November, coming in $582.2 million (3.5%) above projections. While partially offset by sluggish sales tax (-$180.2m, -2.2%), the PIT rebound leaves us behind only $1 billion year-to-date, a reduction from the $1.5 billion shortfall tallied through last month.

It should be noted, however, that November is the fourth-slowest month for PIT revenues, and a handful of large taxpayers can spike revenues one month and cause a shortfall in another month simply with timing. (In October, PIT was $451 million below projections.) It certainly wasn't a robust employment or stock market that bouyed revenues.

All eyes now shift to the Department of Finance, which will report on its cash count next week, as well as the full year estimates. These full-year estimates will be used to determine whether $2 billion in trigger cuts will be made in January. If DOF projects general fund revenue at $1 billion below the budget act projection of $92.2 billion, cuts are made to higher education, IHSS, DDS and other programs. If more than $2 billion below, an additional $1.4 billion cut will be made to Proposition 98--mostly to K-12 schools.

This is not just a financial decision, but also a political decision affecting the November tax measure. Do "trigger" cuts in January help voters see the need for more revenues or will the lack of horrific consequences lead them to believe there is still fat to trim?

MORE TRIGGERS: Brown Says More Automatic Cuts to Come If Tax Plan Is Voted Down [Michael B. Marois and Christopher Palmeri @ Bloomberg Businessweek]

Brown said he’ll include projected revenue from the tax increase in the budget he proposes next month, even though voters won't have a say on the higher levies until November. If his plan is rejected, it would blow a hole in what Brown said would be a balanced budget for fiscal 2013. Automatic cuts would be needed to eliminate that shortfall, Brown said.

"We're going to balance the budget," Brown said in an interview in Los Angeles Dec. 6. "We'll propose cuts and the taxes, and if the taxes don’t materialize, I will propose we have trigger cuts that go into effect immediately."

Meanwhile, the governor wants the Department of Finance to use zero-based budgeting and other honest budgeting methods. Good luck with that.

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PUP MY RIDE!
Foster puppy Cleo needs a ride to her forever home. She is a three month old Shepherd mix and a good car traveler who needs to get from Sacramento (or Fresno) to LA area between 12/15 – 12/21. Anybody going that way?
Please contact Jennifer Fearing at 916-992-3667 or jfearing@humanesociety.org.
Good karma points in it for you!

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AURAL PLEASURE: The Capital Notes podcast goes Latin--Bellum omnium contra omnes. John Myers, Marisa Lagos and Anthony York talk the budget and taxes.

TWEET DU JOUR: @tedlieu - "I see Prop 65 warning at coffee shop for chemicals in coffee & baked goods. Do authors of Prop 65 expect us to not drink coffee? #overreach"

I have to ask, though, whether Chevron has hacked Ted Lieu's Twitter account.

REDISTRICTING REFER: 69.6% (+0.86%) with addition of San Francisco, Sierra counties (Needs 67.7% to make it to full count)

THE OTHER CAPITOL: How not to impress your boss and climb the congressional ladder. [Fishbowl DC]

TWO JEWS, ONE DISTRICT: Berman gets help from 22 California Dems [Jennifer Steinhauer @ NY Times]

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS: Berman gets help from 22 California Dems [Kevin Roderick @ LA Observed]

DOWN AGAIN: Cal-Access needs the little blue pill

WARDROBE MALFUNCTION: Did that jacket Rick Perry was wearing in his latest ad look familiar?

ROLLERCOASTER: Lakers' deal for Chris Paul is a no-go, the NBA rules

TAKE THE NOONER FOUR-QUESTION SURVEY

TOP 10 ATC HEADLINES FOR THE WEEK:

  1. Orange County Revolt Rekindles Old Republican Feud
  2. Brown Pension Reform: Local Workers Pay More
  3. Alyson Huber's Home Default Comes Amid Tangled Fiscal, Personal Events
  4. Why Newt's Surge Is For Real
  5. Dan Walters: Jerry Brown's Tax Plan Tries Easy Political Route
  6. Morrell And Dutton Already Battling It Out
  7. UC Names Task Force Members To Investigate Pepper Spraying
  8. Gov. Jerry Brown Can't Flub Taxes Again
  9. Measure To Cut Union Political Influence Qualifies
  10. California's Direct Democracy System Spoofed By 'The Daily Show'

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
State Revenues Still $1 Billion Behind Projections
Brian Joseph @
totalbuzz.ocregister.com
As if we didn't need more evidence that state budget cuts are coming, State Controller John Chiang released today his November Cash Update, which shows General Fund revenues are $1 billion behind projections while state spending is $2 billion ahead of projections.

Brown To Seek More Automatic Budget Cuts If California Tax Increase Fails - Bloomberg
bloomberg.com
California Governor Jerry Brown will propose a second round of automatic spending cuts that would be triggered if voters reject his proposal to temporarily increase income and sales taxes.

Appeals Court Appears Reluctant To Find Proposition 8 Judge Biased
Local @
mercurynews.com
Hearing arguments in gay marriage case, judges consider whether judge who struck down law should have disclosed he was in long-term same-sex relationship

New California Senate Maps Still Up In The Air
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
California law says that three weeks hence, on Dec. 30, candidates can begin taking out papers to run for legislative and congressional seats next year.

California Revenues, Spending Beat Projections In November
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
Some good budget news, for once. California beat its November revenue projections by $497.7 million, or 8.9 percent, state Controller John Chiang reported today.

Podcast: Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes
John Myers @
blogs.kqed.org
John Myers, Marisa Lagos and Anthony York talk the budget and taxes.

Gov. Jerry Brown Wants Proof That State Programs Are Working
Marisa Lagos @
blog.sfgate.com
When Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB14 this fall -- a bill that would have required state agencies to use "performance-based budgeting" -- he promised to revisit the issue, saying the goals of the measure could be better handled by an executive order.

Assemblyman Faces Campaign Fund Abuse Charges
MARTIN WISCKOL @
ocregister.com
Chris Norby defended himself Thursday against allegations he illegally used funds for a motel stay.

California Ethics Agency Relaxes Rules On Gifts To Politicians
Patrick McGreevy @
latimes.com
California lawmakers and members of city councils can accept expensive gifts from lobbyists without disclosure if they are dating, and can receive meals and lodging in lobbyists' homes without telling the public under newly approved ethics rules.

Brown warns of additional cuts if tax plan fails
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
signonsandiego.com
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday warned of additional trigger cuts if voters reject his tax initiative next fall, offering Californians a stark choice between higher taxes and deeper cuts to schools, universities and public safety.

GOP Consultant Beth Miller To Launch New Sacramento Firm
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
GOP consultant Beth Miller is going solo, launching her own public affairs and political strategy firm.

California Trails In Online Tools For Voters, Study Finds
latimesblogs.latimes.com
This post has been corrected. See below. Why would you want to be in Minnesota in November rather than in sunny California? Because Minnesota has far better online tools for voters than the Golden State, according to a new study...

Assembly won't appeal decision on lawmaker budgets
JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press @
signonsandiego.com
The California state Assembly will not appeal a judge's ruling ordering the lower house to release details about individual members' budgets.

Assembly Will Not Appeal Court Order To Release Member Budgets
Jim Sanders @
blogs.sacbee.com
The Assembly has decided not to appeal a Sacramento Superior Court judge's ruling requiring it to release member-by-member budgets and any changes made to them through the year.

Ethics Agency OKs Controversial Rules On Gifts For Office Holders
Patrick McGreevy @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
California lawmakers and members of city councils can accept expensive gifts from lobbyists without disclosure if they are dating, and can receive meals and lodging in lobbyists' homes without telling the public under newly approved ethics rules.

Brown orders changes to Calif. budgeting process
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
signonsandiego.com
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday directed California state government to change its budgeting process to spot savings and efficiencies.

Hoping For Cures, Supporters May Back Another Ballot Measure For Stem Cell Agency
Steve Johnson @
mercurynews.com
Touted seven years ago as a way to develop breakthrough cures for an array of life-threatening ailments, Californias $3 billion taxpayer-financed stem cell agency still has no treatments on the market and is at a critical juncture that could determine how much longer it stays in operation.

Ex-speaker Herb Wesson Wins Presidency Of La's Council
blogs.sacbee.com
The Los Angeles City Council has become a convenient destination for local members of the Legislature who are forcibly retired by term limits.

Some GOP Opponents Of Tax Break Say Voters Will Understand
Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
Republican leaders worry about political fallout if the party blocks a tax cut for workers after saving one for the wealthy — but some hard-line fiscal conservatives say they'll take their chances.

Gay marriage proponent who urged halt to Prop. 8 enforcement dies
Carol J. Williams @
latimes.com
With his partner, Ed Watson had sought the ability to marry before advancing illness claimed his life. His death came on the eve of a court hearing on the same-sex marriage ban.

JPMorgan's CEO Doesn't Know What Tax Rate He Pays
Ezra Klein @
washingtonpost.com
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon making the case against raising taxes on the rich: "Most of us wage earners are paying 39.6 percent in taxes and add in another 12 percent in New York state and city taxes and we’re paying 50 percent of our income in taxes."

California Officials Vow To Crack Down On Underground Economy
Marc Lifsher @
latimes.com
Employers who pay their workers cash under the table to avoid payroll taxes, workers' compensation insurance and other government mandates are costing California about $7 billion annually in lost tax revenue and undercutting companies that play by the rules, state officials say.