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THE NOONER for January 25, 2012

jump to the headlines

DISTRICT UPDATES

  • CD03 - added martial arts instructor Eugene Ray (R)
  • SD09 - removed Assemblymember Sandre Swanson (D)
  • AD01 - removed Michael Kebsoff (R)
  • AD01 - added educator/physician Michael Babich (R)

TWEET DU JOUR: @aaronmclear - "Even if they win they lose: "Lawmakers Win Lawsuit to Protect Their Own Pay"

DOUBLE-X VICTORY: With Assemblymember Sandre Swanson bowing out yesterday of the challenge to fellow Democrat Loni Hancock and with the party activists sending a strong message of "no thanks" to Bob Hertzberg (who is considering a challenge to Fran Pavley), the three potentially challenged women in the State Senate appear to be safe. Anthony Portantino dropped his challenge to Carol Liu last week. 

In the end, it still looks like there will be a net reduction of women in both houses, but not as stark as it previously appeared. And, the biggest story may be the continued increase in Republican women in the Assembly. And, while Republican women at one time were regularly considered the moderates in their caucuses, we now see them as some of the most conservative members.

POLL POSITION: The Public Policy Institute of California is out with a wide-ranging poll on state government spending, taxing and cutting. The poll has press release fodder for all sides.

Among California residents

Jerry Brown job approval
46% approve
31% disapprove
23% don't know

California Legislature job approval
28% approve
56% disapprove
16% don't know

(following the filing of a lawsuit by Democratic leaders challenging Controller John Chiang's authority to determine whether the budget is balanced and to withhold paychecks, the Legislature's approval is now officially 0.01%--legislators and their moms)

Key points:

  • 59% of residents think the state could spend less and still provide the same level of services
  • 47% of residents think the state spends most of its money on prisons and corrections, 27% on health and human services, and only 16% on K-12 education--the correct answer

Governor Brown's Tax Measure
72% support / 68% likely voters
26% oppose

Unfortunately, the PPIC poll frames it in the absolutely no opposition, most positive light for the governor: "The initiative would raise about $5 to $7 billion annually with the new revenues going to K–12 public schools." Opponents will quickly point out that, in 2012-13, and all but $2.4 billion of the new money would be used to "free up" money for non K-14 programs, through a Proposition 98 accounting maneuver. That's why CFT still has its measure out there, and why Molly Munger hasn't dropped hers. Education is still on the sidelines and trying to get more from the governor before agreeing to back his measure.

Meanwhile, residents say they are willing to pay more taxes for . . .

K-12 education - 72%
Higher education - 57%
Health and human services - 57%
Prisons and corrections - 17% 

John Myers blogs more about what the voters will and won't pay for.

THE HORSESHOE MINDMELD: We can win this, if we continue to frame it for education, point to cost reductions through realignment, and keep big funded opposition (i.e. Chamber) on the shoreline or, better, in our boat.

In other irrelevant news in the poll, Mitt Romney leads in California. 

NORTH STATE: Will Sam Aanestad challenge Doug LaMalfa's cake walk to Congress?

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TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
California Lawmakers To Sue John Chiang Over Their Pay
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
Democratic legislative leaders sued Controller John Chiang today for blocking their pay during last year's budget dispute, a decision that drew scorn from lawmakers last summer.

If Not For Schools, Would Brown's Tax Hike Be A Dud?
John Myers @
blogs.kqed.org
Governor Jerry Brown will no doubt love the headline out of the brand new statewide public poll: 68% of likely voters say they support his November initiative to raise taxes and earmark the money for public schools.

Obama Points To Income Inequality, Calls For Millionaires' Tax In Address
Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey @
latimes.com
President Obama opened his reelection year with a combative State of the Union speech, proposing to require millionaires to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes and to eliminate deductions that save companies money if they move jobs overseas.

Democratic legislative leaders sue Controller John Chiang over pay in budget dispute
sacbee.com
Democratic legislative leaders sued Controller John Chiang on Tuesday to have the courts determine whether the state's cash manager abused his authority by cutting off their paychecks in last year's budget fight.

Jerry Brown's Tax Plan Gets Strong Voter Support
Wyatt Buchanan @
sfgate.com
Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for a ballot initiative that would raise tens of billions of dollars by temporarily increasing the sales tax and the income tax on wealthy Californians has the support of more than two-thirds of...

California Democrats sue controller for halting lawmaker pay
Don Thompson @
mercurynews.com
SACRAMENTO -- The Legislature's Democratic leaders filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state controller for blocking lawmakers' pay last year after deciding they had failed to meet their constitutional deadline for passing a balanced budget.

Editorial: Lawmakers spin their wheels on pension reform
sacbee.com
A joint Senate/Assembly conference committee will hold its third (ho-hum) informational hearing today on the 12-point pension reform plan that Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled with such fanfare last October. Don't expect anything to come of it. So far, a lot of talk has emerged but no pension bill. Efforts to substantially reduce state pension obligations are a sham in this Legislature, and most people who work in the Capitol know that.

Democrats sue controller for halting lawmaker pay
DON THOMPSON, Associated Press @
utsandiego.com
The Legislature's Democratic leaders have filed a lawsuit against the state controller for blocking lawmakers' pay last year after deciding they had failed to meet their constitutional deadline for passing a balanced budget.

State Asks Judge To Toss Illegal School Fees Case
californiawatch.org
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the California State Board of Education, the state Department of Education and the attorney general's office all want a judge to drop a lawsuit that seeks to hold the state accountable for school districts that illegally charge students to participate in classes and extracurricular activities.

Romney's Tax Returns Sit Uneasily With Florida Voters
Mark Z. Barabak and John Hoeffel @
latimes.com
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney releases tax returns showing $21.6 million in income for 2010. 'I don't think he knows how to relate to everyday people,' says one Florida voter.

California lawmakers to sue John Chiang over their pay
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
State lawmakers will sue Controller John Chiang for blocking their pay during last year's budget dispute, a source with knowledge of the action said today.

Focus Group Suggests State Of The Union Speech Was Well-received
David Lauter @
latimes.com
As President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, a group of 50 swing voters armed with dial meters recorded strongly favorable reactions to his proposals on taxes, renewable energy, overcoming partisan divisions and defending the middle class, according to the pollsters who supervised the study.

PPIC Poll Delivers Voters' Mixed Signals On California Budget
Dan Smith @
blogs.sacbee.com
California voters like Gov. Jerry Brown's idea of making high earners pay more taxes, but otherwise are of mixed minds about solving the state's chronic budget woes, according to the Public Policy Institute of California's latest poll on the topic.

Obama points to income inequality, calls for millionaires' tax in address
Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey @
latimes.com
President Obama opened his reelection year with a combative State of the Union speech, proposing to require millionaires pay at least 30% of their income in taxes and to eliminate deductions which save companies money if they move jobs overseas.

Billions Of Dollars At Stake In Proposed Ballot Initiatives
Staff @
capitolweekly.net
Big-dollar combatants lined up Tuesday to get on California’s high-stakes ballot, as initiatives to speed up business tax assessments, boost taxes on the wealthy to pay for university students’ education and put the brakes on the $100 billion high-speed rail program were cleared for circulation.

San Jose Moves To End Redevelopment Agency
Local @
mercurynews.com
Move comes after courts upheld states right to eliminate redevelopment agencies to free funding for schools and local governments.

President Obama Says All Must Pay 'fair Share' Of Taxes
Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Washington Bureau @
latimes.com
President Obama says in his State of the Union address that all must pay their "fair share" of taxes. Romney's low rate highlights the gap between investors and wage-earners.

Democratic lawmakers sue controller over his withholding of their pay
Anthony York and Patrick McGreevy @
latimes.com
John Chiang said the newly passed budget was not balanced last summer and thus did not pay salaries. Suit seeks to curb his power, not to win reimbursement.

Turning From His Taxes, Romney Prebuts Obama's State Of The Union
Paul West @
latimes.com
Using a largely empty building-materials warehouse as a backdrop, Mitt Romney tried to shift attention away from his personal wealth and focus it instead on the man he'd like to face in the fall.

California Assembly hopeful accused of threatening Oakland aide
Torey Van Oot @
blogs.sacbee.com
A Democratic candidate for the 18th Assembly District is facing a potential second brush with the law stemming from allegations of violence.

State asks judge to toss illegal school fees case
utsandiego.com
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the California State Board of Education, the state Department of Education and the attorney general's office all want a judge to drop a lawsuit that seeks to hold the state accountable for school districts that illegally charge students to participate in classes and extracurricular activities.

Focus group suggests State of the Union speech was well-received
David Lauter @
latimes.com
As President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, a group of 50 swing voters armed with dial meters recorded strongly favorable reactions to his proposals on taxes, renewable energy, overcoming partisan divisions and defending the middle class, according to the pollsters who supervised the study.