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THE NOONER for May 8, 2014
Happy Thursday! Last night, we had a lively and candid discussion about California politics and policy at the meeting of the Sacramento County Young Democrats. What an amazing group of professionals from in-and-around the Capitol. Thank you to president Samantha Farmer for the invitation, and good luck on the organization's election endeavors this year!
The best question was "Have you read all of the books on The NOONER's Sofa Degree List of 25 must-read books on California politics and policy?"
Of course, I had to answer, "No." I am still a sophomore barely halfway through. I am reading "A Disorderly House: The Brown-Unruh Years in Sacramento" by James Mills right now. I love to read, but I also manage only a few pages each night before zzzzzz....after all, there's a Nooner to right.
[THE] BUDGET MATTERS: I spent yesterday in and around the Capitol (listening to that annoying 7-song playlist played for hours at the Parent Voices rally), tackling pre-May Revision meetings. While there has been no official announcement, the expectation is that May Revision to the budget will be dropped either Tuesday, May 13 or Wednesday, May 14, which is the deadline pursuant to Government Code 13308(e). The governor was still in meetings yesterday making decisions on the changes to the January proposal, which are expected to include significant new revenues.
The increased state revenues will drive up the Proposition 98 school funding guarantee, which leaves the "non-98" crowd wondering whether the increased will be available for its priorities. There is some good news in the Legislative Analyst Office report released Monday that predicts a significant rebound in property tax revenues, which will help both local governments and the state alike.
The Proposition 98 guarantee is driven by a combination of factors, which can either be a fixed share of the General Fund, or either K-12 enrollment growth and per capita personal income growth OR enrollment growth and per capital General Fund growth. However, the state meets the guarantee by first estimating property taxes and then adding sufficient General Fund resources to meet the school spending requirement. So, regardless of the increased Proposition 98 guarantee, to the extent property taxes grow, the state's General Fund obligation drops.
As the LAO explains in detail, the rebound in property taxes is mostly consequence of properties that were reassessed downward to market value during the housing crisis. This was a welcome tax break to those of us who bought in 2005 (I'm better at political advice than housing market timing). However, Proposition 8's revisions to Proposition 13 allows for a property valuation (and therefore property tax) rebound back to the pre-decline level, despite the ordinary 2% annual limitation on valuation increases under continued ownership.
The LAO notes that these reduced assessments lowered property tax revenues by around $7 billion. Since 40% of these tax revenues go to schools (and are counted toward Prop. 98), as these revenues come back, the state will be off the hook for about $2.8 billion in General Fund spending requirements for public schools. This will free up resources for the "non-98" side of the state's budget and make life easier for budget-writers as Proposition 30's tax increases start phasing out in the 2015-16 state budget.
Of course, the LAO is out with a new report listing $340 billion in outstanding state liabilities--of which $140 billion are being addressed--and suggesting a framework for addressing them.
$$$: The Controller's Office is out with its April Cash Update: "State Controller John Chiang today released his monthly report covering California's cash balance, receipts and disbursements in April 2014. Revenues for the month totaled $13.9 billion, surpassing estimates in the 2014-15 Governor's Budget by $303 million, or 2.2 percent. Year-to-date, revenues exceed expectations by $2.17 billion, or 2.8 percent."
Of course, that is cash accounting. Next week, we'll see the Department of Finance's characterization of revenues. Budget numbers will change significantly based on which fiscal year the cash is attributed to.
UMBRELLA, -ELLA, ELLA, EH, EH: Rainy Day Fund Deal Near at Capitol [Ben Adler @ CapPubRad]
ENDORSEMENTS: Now that voting has officially begun, some papers are getting around to considering candidates. Few have done so, as you'll see in the table below, and the ed boards are wrestling with whether they should endorse one candidate or two candidates in the second cycle of California's top two primary:
THE GUBER CIRCUS: Donnelly apologizes for tweet, tangles with Kashkari adviser on air [David Siders @ SacBee] and Campaign for California governor takes some odd turns [Josh Richman @ Daily Breeze]
RIVERSIDE: Laborers International Union comes in big with $50,000 for Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez, who is running for county supervisor in San Bernardino. The union had previously given him $37,000. Other big donors include the Pechanga ($45k) and Pala ($25k) tribes. Perez is challenging former Assemblymember and State Senator John Benoit for district 4.
NOW, ALANIS, THIS IS REALLY IRONIC, DONCHA THINK? Bill Bloomfield, who is personally funding independent expenditures totalling over $1 million for Neel Kashkari (GOV), Marshall Tuck (SPI), Dan Schnur (SOS), Ben Allen (SD26), serves on the board of advisors of California Common Cause. The organization champions getting money out of politics.
STUPIDEST TWEET DU JOUR: @CRNC (College Republican National Committee): "CA, NY, and IL are the worst three states for business. Looking for a job after graduation? Don't move here. chiefexecutive.net/2014-best-worst-states-for-business"
Well, I'm all for a balanced approach to improving our business climate (such as getting rid of many of the corporate filing fees for small businesses and taking instead on taxes on profits). However, if College Republicans want to turn just turn California over to Democrats and let Dems take all the Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, and all the other jobs in between, I would think that would be counterproductive.
There's a reason Barack Obama is visiting the California ATM today. There are millions of Republicans living in California right now who are damn happy that they don't live elsewhere. Fine, college kiddoes, give up. Don't go to Wall Street, Chicago law firms, San Francisco firms, Silicon Valley, or Silicon Beach. You'll regret it.
DROPPED: With the agreement between SEIU-UHW and California's large private hospital chains, the signature gathering for two ballot measures on hospital spending and CEO compensation has ended.
THANK YOU! Thanks to all who responded to my Big Day of Giving plea for Open California and other Sacramento-based charities. The event raised over $3 million--triple the goal, and Open California raised $4,075 from 45 donors.
DEPT OF CORRECTIONS: I once again typed the wrong district for Hayashi v. Wieckowski. Of course it is SD10, which I remember by brain telling my fingers but something got mistranslated. Also, AD16 is Joan Buchanan's Assembly district. Buchanan will have to sit in the term limits penalty box before the either a 2015 special or 2016 State Senate race against Susan Bonilla for Mark DeSaulnier's State Senate seat.
#CAKEDAY: Happy Birthday to Kendra Harris, Sean Henschel, and Bill Lockyer!
The June 2014 NOONER Contest is now open!
Once again, The NOONER is providing an opportunity for you to prove your chops as a forecaster of California elections or, like I do with March Madness, show how little most of us really know.
Your personalized NOONER contest link is:
Once again, it is designed so you can either be anonymous or have your name in lights. Last year, we had about 500 participants and I will once again only show the top 25 scores, but you'll be able to see your score and rank. You will be able to make your picks and change your answers (via same link) through Sunday, June 1 at 5pm PDT.
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Tim Donnelly Gubernatorial Campaign Announces Billboard -- In Georgia
A day after Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari unveiled his first television ad, his GOP rival Tim Donnelly unveiled a campaign billboard – in Georgia.
Donnelly Apologizes For Tweet, Tangles With Kashkari Adviser On Air
Republican Tim Donnelly, defending his campaign's social media posts linking rival Neel Kashkari to Islamic law, was on a conservative talk radio show Wednesday when a Kashkari adviser called into the station to protest, resulting in more than 10 minutes of unusual, head-to-head bickering and an apology by Donnelly for a tweet he acknowledged was inaccurate.
President Obama Raises Money For Senate Democrats In Bel-air
President Obama made a somber plea before an intimate crowd of some of Hollywood’s biggest donors Wednesday night, asking for help energizing disillusioned voters to give Democrats a chance of keeping their Senate majority in the midterm election.
Lobbyist Home Fundraiser Ban Passes Assembly
Responding to a campaign finance transgression that produced an unprecedented fine, the California Assembly voted on Thursday to ban fundraisers at the homes of lobbyists.
Poll: Californians Want Oil-extraction Tax, County Control Over Fracking
Josh Richman @ contracostatimes.com
The poll -- commissioned by NextGen Climate Action, the group formed by billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer of San Francisco -- found most likely voters in the state want oil companies to pay such a tax. According to the poll, most likely voters also want counties to be able to vote on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," for oil and gas within their borders.
A California ballot initiative allowing the state insurance commissioner to reject health insurance rate increases would disrupt the new health care overhaul, destabilizing negotiations between the exchange and insurance companies and inviting costly legal challenges by outside organizations, according to an analysis released Thursday.
Scandal Shines Light On Calif. Secretary Of State Race
LAURA OLSON @ ocregister.com
At a recent debate featuring four of the candidates vying to be Californiaâs next secretary of state, it took only a few seconds for the men on stage to bring up a competitor who unceremoniously left the race.
5 Questions About Secret Deal Between California Hospital Association And Seiu
At least five big questions remain about the secret deal announced with fanfare Tuesday between California hospitals and the largest health care union in the state.
Realignment Puts Heavy Pressure On Jails, Ppic Report Says
Dan Walters @ blogs.sacbee.com
The "realignment" that Gov. Jerry Brown championed to reduce overcrowding in state prisons has, in turn, created overcrowding in county jails that were already in some distress, according to a new study by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Senator Feinstein Fishing For Democratic Support On Drought Bill | Represent! | 89.3 Kpcc
Kitty Felde @ scpr.org
Join Alex Cohen and A Martínez for a conversational and witty look at the issues people are buzzing about.
Jerry Brown, Lawmakers Near Deal On Reserve Fund
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders are poised to announce a deal on his rainy day fund proposal, including additional general fund contributions to satisfy Republicans, sources said.
Neel Kashkari's Stint Running Tarp Inspired Admiration, Criticism
California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari had crucial role in setting up and administering TARP
Oakland car dealer's ad a step forward for same-sex equality
The fight for acceptance of same-sex marriage has been debated in the U.S. Supreme Court and featured in scholarly books like the recently released Forcing the Spring: Last week, One Toyota, an Oakland car dealership, quietly began running a sweet but groundbreaking spot on Bay Area television stations. The "reveal" is so subtle that some viewers, like the ones in our house, may have to play the ad back and watch it again. Uh, yeah, says dealership owner Brian McCafferty, and some of them may well be the children of local same-sex couples. Rich Ferraro of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), says his group tracks national advertisements. [...] that spot was a series of short vignettes representing all types of American families, including a gay couple, not an ad that featured only a same-sex relationship. There have been others, scattered around the country, but it is important to remember the reaction in 1994 when the national furniture chain Ikea featured a TV ad showing two gay men shopping for a dining room table. Local AIDS activist Cleve Jones, who started the AIDS Memorial Quilt in the mid-1980s, says the ad is just the latest example of the shift in public perception. Not just the political change, but I am continually startled at how the hearts and minds of the American people have come around to a more compassionate and thoughtful view of this issue. Brad Barnett, general manager at the One Toyota dealership, returned from a business seminar with statistics showing 55 percent of Toyotas are bought by women and 85 percent of purchases are influenced by women. There are multiple same-sex customers of ours, he says, and they sit there and watch ads and say, 'Why in the world does every customer look the same? I'm in a relationship and no advertiser is speaking to me.
Poll Shows Strong Support For Oil Extraction Tax, Tom Steyer Says
Support for a state oil extraction tax is strong and includes large percentages of Democrats, independents and even Republicans, says Tom Steyer, a billionaire former hedge fund investor turned environmentalist and political activist.
Mileage tax for California drivers proposed in state Senate
Steve Scauzillo, Los Angeles News Group @ mercurynews.com
INDIAN WELLS -- The governor's secretary of transportation discussed with Southern California city leaders Thursday night an unprecedented state bill that would authorize a first-ever pilot program to tax motorists by vehicle miles traveled, according to the chief executive officer of the Southern
Confirmation Hearings Loom for Health Services Nominee
Sylvia Mathews Burwell will have her first Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, with lawmakers hoping she can improve relations between the administration and Congress on health care.
Dan Walters Daily: Debt-dodging continues for California government
Jeremy B. White @ blogs.sacbee.com
Nine thousand dollars per Californian: That's the scale of the sprawling financial shortfall the Legislature and the governor continue to ignore, Dan says.
Facing Scrutiny, Bill On Local Agency Real Estate Deals Advances
The matter of real estate transactions conducted in secret has particular resonance following the scandal over the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, in which a judge ruled that while negotiating a lease with USC, the Coliseum Commission violated open-government laws.
Obama says 'disquiet' breeds political cynicism
JIM KUHNHENN Associated Press @ utsandiego.com
President Barack Obama says disquiet and a sense of frustration in the country are fueling cynicism about government that could hurt Democratic turnout in the November elections.
Tsarnaev lawyers argue death penalty is unconstitutional
Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev contend the constitutionality of the federal death penalty should be reexamined following a botched execution in Oklahoma last week. In a court filing Wednesday, the lawyers asked the court to declare the death penalty...
L.A. Drivers Take To Twitter To Complain Of #obamajam Traffic
Los Angeles police said Wednesday evening that rush-hour traffic was delayed on the Westside as President Obama's motorcade maneuvered along several major thoroughfares that had been shut down.
Confusion, Anger Over Nonprofit’s Alleged Role In Fighting Leno Bill - Politics Blog
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, says his bill -