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THE NOONER for June 27, 2012

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TWEET DU JOUR: @pourmecoffee - "Twas the day before SCOTUS and all through the net, wild guessing was rampant cause no one knows yet."

BEST HASHTAG: #LATENIGHTWITHLENO (budget committee meetings)


Advanced Public Sector Labor Relations: From Collective Bargaining to Arbitration - What Public Sector Employers Need to Know

Kronick Moskovitz's 2012 Labor Relations seminar will be held on July 12 at the Courtyard Hotel Sacramento Cal Expo. Join our Labor & Employment and Education law attorneys for this half-day seminar focusing on topics pertinent to all public employers, including the latest legal developments and court decisions governing public sector labor relations in California.

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BANKRUPT: Stockton becomes the nation's largest city to reorganize under Chapter 9. The Record's Scott Smith writes "The 6-1 council vote caps three months of intense, closed-door meetings where Stockton officials asked its major creditors, labor groups and retired employees to take cuts outside of a bankruptcy court."

LEAN AND MEAN: San Francisco Unified adopts budget with four fewer school days.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Cutmaggedon, as some liberal Democrats call it, or Taxmageddon, as some conservative Republicans call it, resumes today as the spending plan and trailer bills are poised for votes in both houses. The governor has until midnight to sign AB 1464, the main budget bill. 

Here is the list of trailer bills. One of the more interesting add-ons is AB 1496, which would move IHSS collective bargaining from counties to a state joint powers authority. The bill is being pushed by AFSCME and SEIU

Most of the details on the budget are complete, although there is still some suspense as to whether the votes to move kids from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal has the votes following a couple of days of intense lobbying. Republicans have found relevence saying they will not vote for an extension of a tax on managed care plans if Healthy Families is eliminated. It's a bit of a newfound love for Healthy Families, the creation of which most Republicans opposed, and has more to do with the fact that most of the kids would move from a private health plan in HF to a single-payer style plan in MediCal.

Meanwhile, the California Forward initiative qualified yesterday, likely rounding out the ballot at eleven measures, assuming Consumer Watchdog doesn't qualify by Thursday and the water bond is kicked to 2014. For the budget geeks, it's the great irony. The budget has become a 3-month thoroughly exhausting process as the state has to constantly rebalance its books, and now we're going to try 2-year budgeting. 

The qualification brings a behind-the-scenes tension to the front burner. California Forward has been a bipartisan organization, with former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg as the most prominent Democratic face to the organization. However, labor is not happy with the initiative (and, more importantly, the reluctance of the business community who support it to publicly back revenues to close the budget gap). Anyway, there is some question whether the coalition can remain following the qualification, exacerbated by the placement on the ballot between the governor's tax measure and "paycheck protection/deception."

I had a couple of errors on the ballot order in yesterday's message. Referenda are last, under both current law and SB 1309.

  • Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
  • State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
  • Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.
  • Changes Law to Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Set Prices Based on a Driver's History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.
  • Death Penalty Repeal. Initiative Statute.
  • Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute.
  • Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders. Initiative Statute.
  • Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative Statute.
  • Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.
  • Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute.
  • Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

We all know that the governor and Democrats want the tax measure first. However, would it be similarly true that Republicans are quite content that the redistricting referendum will be last?

$$$: The Department of Finance released its monthly cash update yesterday, with the headline number of year-to-date revenues only lagging forecast by $93 million. Of course, that's below the updated year-to-date forecast that was included in the 2012-13 May Revise. If you revisit cash as projected at the time the current year budget was adopted, the $72.5 billion is $7.6 billion below the forecasted of through-May revenues of $80.1 billion. 

CD30: Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad looks at the Berman-Sherman primary and previews the general.

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Measure That Includes Budget Changes Makes California Ballot
Torey Van Oot @
California voters heading to the polls in November will consider a package of proposed fixes for state governance that includes changes to the budget process. The constitutional amendment, backed by the California Forward Issue Action Fund, would switch the state to a two-year, performance-based budgeting process and allow the governor to make cuts on his own in times of fiscal emergency. It would also enact legislative transparency measures and let local governments to change or opt out of certain laws and regulations.

California Budget Cuts Cal Grants At Most Private Schools
Laurel Rosenhall @
California students will no longer be able to use state scholarships to pay tuition at most for-profit colleges under the final budget plan lawmakers are expected to send Gov. Jerry Brown today.

High Anxiety: California's poorest and sickest await the budget vote
Greg Lucas @
The Legislature is scheduled to vote today (Wednesday, June 27) on a budget bill that will sharply change how most of the state’s dual eligibles receive health care.

Shenanigans Abound As Final Budget Vote Nears
Brian Joseph @
More legislative shenanigans appear to be in the works as state lawmakers prepare to vote on the final pieces of the state budget Wednesday.

Calif. Budget Measure Makes November Ballot - Sfgate
A ballot measure that would amend California's Constitution to require two-year budget plans, along with restricting new spending by the Legislature and giving the governor unilateral power to cut spending, has qualified for an already-crowded November ballot, the secretary of state said Tuesday. -- Allows the governor to unilaterally cut state spending in a declared fiscal emergency, though the action could be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. The measure also allows local governments to create strategic action plans that would be funded by the state at a cost of about $200 million per year, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office and the Department of Finance.

Gov. Jerry Brown Nearing Goal Of $400 Million In Savings From Pay Cuts
Steven Harmon @
Gov. Jerry Brown is closer to adding another notch on his belt-tightening budget after Californias largest public employee union agreed to a 4.6 percent pay cut over the next year. The Service Employees International Union, which represents 92,000 state workers, agreed over the weekend to eight furlough hours a month through June 2013, providing the state $113.2 million of the $402 million Brown wants cut from salaries funded by general revenues.

Democrats Prepare To Move Water Bond Question Off November Ballot
Anthony York @
Democrats have gone out of their way to make passage of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative easier, and they are about to give the governor another boost.

Lawmakers Wrapping Up Budget To Send To Governor - Sfgate
Democratic lawmakers are wrapping up work to satisfy the governor's demand for deeper cuts to help fill a projected $15.7 billion deficit. Democratic Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee, says the spending package moves the state to fiscal stability.

Lawmakers poised to pass $91 billion state budget; Gov. Jerry Brown must act today
Steven Harmon @
Legislators prepared to take final action today on a $91 billion budget rife with hard cuts to the poor and major implications for the fall election.

Lawmakers wrapping up budget to send to governor
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
Democratic lawmakers rushed Wednesday to wrap up work on nearly two dozen budget-related bills intended to satisfy the governor's demand for deeper cuts to close a $15.7 billion deficit.

Is California's Budget Now Relatively Lower Than During The Reagan Era?
Dan Walters @
Could it be that California's budget is relatively lower now than during the Reagan era? Yes, if you take the very narrow definition that Brown and Lockyer are peddling. No, if you look at the broader picture.

S.F. School Board Approves $597 Million Budget
Jill Tucker @
For the fifth year in a row, the San Francisco school board passed a budget Tuesday full of spending cuts, which means a shorter school year, larger class sizes and less money for art, libraries and other enrichment programs for the district's 56,000 students.

AM Alert: Jerry Brown faces midnight deadline to sign budget
Micaela Massimino @
Gov. Jerry Brown has until midnight tonight to sign the budget, and both the Senate and the Assembly have scheduled sessions at 9 a.m. to vote on legislation needed to finalize it.

Wildfire Proposal Dropped From Budget
A proposal to limit legal liability for people who start wildfires has been dropped from the budget after generating controversy from Sacramento to Washington, D.C.

Governor faces deadline on California budget plan
JUDY LIN, Associated Press @
Democratic lawmakers are rushing to pass nearly two dozen budget-related bills to meet a Wednesday deadline for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a roughly $92 billion California spending plan.

GOP's Jay Stern Edges His Way Into 46th Assembly Runoff
Dakota Smith @
With less than a dozen ballots left to count in the 46th District Assembly race, Republican chemistry teacher Jay Stern appears to have snagged just enough votes to put him in the runoff against Democrat Adrin Nazarian.

Finish Line In Sight For California Budget
It's going to be a marathon day in the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers plan to vote on the final and most controversial parts of the state budget. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the spending plan into law by the end of the day.

California state employees' union mum on meaning of pay cut vote
Members of California's largest state employee union will vote today on furlough terms negotiated by union leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Wildfire liability proposal not in natural resources budget bill
Kevin Yamamura @
After federal officials and California Democratic lawmakers raised objections, Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to limit wildfire liability and impose a lumber tax has stalled for now.

Some Senators Want Dramatic Shift In Bullet Train Plan
Three months ago, Gov. Jerry Brown hit the reset button on the California bullet train, slashing $30 billion from its $98 billion budget and promising to reorder the controversial project’s priorities.

The Caucus: Poll Roundup: Swing States and Health Care
Several new surveys mine voters' attitudes toward immigration and the health care legislation.

Cash-strapped Stockton Set To Vote For Bankruptcy
The Legislature is scheduled to vote today (Wednesday, June 27) on a budget bill that will sharply change how most of the state’s dual eligibles receive health care.

Calif. budget reform measure qualifies for ballot
The Associated Press @
An initiative intended to change the way state government manages its budget is headed for a vote in November.

The Three Words That Made Pensions Untouchable
A 95-year-old court decision about benefits for a police widow may be the reason that pension benefits in San Diego are iron-clad today.