Around The Capitol

If you don't see images in this message, click "Display Images" or the equivalent.
Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

Receive this as a forward? Get the Nooner in your e-mail box.

Become a Nooner Premium subscriber to access enhanced legislative profiles, exclusive election analysis, and downloadable back-end data. | Follow @scottlay

Advertise in The Nooner to reach over 8,000 readers

 

AroundTheCapitol Headlines | California Legislative Directory | Classifieds | Sofa Degree
 Nooner Premium | SacTown Talks by The Nooner podcast | Advertise

E-352

AURAL PLEASURE

  • SacTown Talks by The Nooner, it's "What a Week" with Gibran and me. [Simplecast audio | iTunes]
    Stephon Clark shooting anniversary, death penalty, CA Dem & CA GOP cash on hand, pension airtime, and much more 

MONEY MATTERS: Looking at indicators, particularly the cash and economic reports from the Controller Betty Yee and the Department of Finance respectively, CALmatters's Dan Walters writes that the state's financial picture may not be as rosy as thought in January when the 2019-20 budget is put to bed in June. This could lead to tension between legislative Democrats, who want to spend more, and Governor Newsom, who already started in January with a fairly conservative spending plan.

EDUCATION FUNDING, LAYOFFS, AND OAKTOWN: I didn't mention it on Friday, but it the Ides of March wasn't just a bad day for Caesar. It also marks the day by which school districts have to give "March 15 notices" notifying academic and nonacademic employees that they may be released, demoted, or reassigned when the "new school year" begins July 1. The notices are required by Education Code § 44949.

This is usually an exercise in identifying the range of budget scenarios between the January budget, May Revise, and final budget. After all, March 15 notices are prophylactic--they must be given to avoid legal liability but can be withdrawn. Without issuing them, the education employer faces either a budget problem or legal liability. Lawyers would argue to always issue based on the worst case scenario. However, believe it or not, educational administrators and school boards care about the humans on the other end of those notices. This is particularly true knowing that in classrooms and other services, it's usually "last in, first out"--the youngest employees (and families) are the first affected in a reduction in force.

I spent many years counseling community college district leaders on the fiscal and political outlook leading up to the March 15 date, including providing dynamic scenarios for each district. These were particularly variable under several budgets in each of the three last governors, even with the Protections of Proposition 98. It was heart-wrenching for boards and administrators, many of whom served in the types of teaching and non-teaching positions receiving notices early in their careers. Some did not make the tough decisions and fell under state receivership or other dire consequences. 

This year's budget, however, is pretty darn good for schools and community colleges. Like any other part of the government, they will always want more, and the K-12 community including charters have a demand for "Full & Fair Funding," turning away from the Proposition 98 minimum funding guarantee that has relatively protected them vis à vis their UC and CSU counterparts. They point to it as a minimum funding guarantee and call for billions above that guarantee to increase California's rank in relation to the national average funding per student.

To do so requires one of two things. It requires either a significant tax increase or taking funds from health and human services. After all, K-12 and health and human services account for 68.8% of the state General Fund budget in 2018-19. Add community colleges, which are part of the Proposition 98 guarantee, and you are at 73.5% of the general fund.

People like to point to prisons, but that's only 8.7% of the budget. The state is under federal court order to maintain a policy of reducing those incarcerated or build more prisons because of overcrowding. The policy changes were pursued under Governor Jerry Brown and approved by the voters with Proposition 47 (2014) to reclassify some non-violent theft and drug felonies from felony to misdemeanor and allow for those previously convicted under those statutes to have their sentences reclassified as such.

A ballot measure supported by prison guards and law enforcement to largely repeal the reforms of Prop. 47 has already qualified for the November 2020 ballot. We may end up finding ourselves forced to build more prisons under that federal degree.

(A side effect of Governor Newsom's death penalty moratorium could be the decommissioning of San Quentin and sale of the prime Marin County land to allow new, more modern prisons elsewhere. This has been considered many times before but is largely opposed to be death penalty foes who want to keep death row in the area of the state that it is most opposed--in Marin County, just across the Golden Gate from the City of Saint Francis of Assisi.)

So, K-14, health and human services, and corrections account for 82.2% of the budget. We can start closing parks (that was a lot of fun when we did it before and ask the feds how that worked for them in January) or close courthouses, which already have gone to ridiculous filing fees. 

K-12 advocates obviously don't want to directly attack health and human services, as their neediest students rely on these exact programs. UC and CSU fees have pretty much hit market rates, and are testing them for nonresident and professional students. When I graduated UC Davis Law in 2000, tuition and fees totaled $11,000. In the current year, they are $47,723. If adjusted for CPI, it would be $16,241. Non-residents pay a 19% premium at $56,974, but it used to be a resident:nonresident differential of around 1:3.

The higher education orange has largely been squeezed.

The Full & Fair Funding K-12 campaign, largely brought to Sacramento over the last couple of weeks in several lobbying days, can't be something solved in the state budget. Advocates are zeroing in on reducing existing tax breaks and blocking new ones championed by Democrats and Republicans alike. That's smart, but it alone would not move California up many notches in per-student funding in the ranking of the states. 

The big ticket tax increases that are on the table are an oil and gas severance tax and the "split roll" property tax change to treat commercial/industrial property at market rate rather than with the assessed valuation change caps in Proposition 13. The latter has qualified for the ballot and to say it will be a difficult row to hoe is a huge understatement based on polling. Because it amends the California Constitution, that requires a ballot vote (simple majority) that would lead to an enormous battle that would make last year's Proposition 10 (rent control) seem like Spring Training.

This leads to the one that is before the Legislature this year--the oil and gas severance tax. It is currently in SB 246 (Wieckowski), which would be a 10% tax deposited in the General Fund. The bill just passed its 30-day-in-print deadline this week but has not been assigned to a policy committee yet, which is unusual. That said, if leadership wants to move it, they would likely be counting noses right now. Because it is a tax levy, it requires a two-thirds vote in both houses and it is a tough vote for many members. 

Obviously, I've written about the SD33 (Long Beach) special election quite a bit in this space, and the oil and gas industry has spent $1.1 million in support of favorite, Long Beach City Council member Lena Gonzalez (D). "Big oil" is bad, but remember that it accounts for lots of union jobs in communities that house the industry. In SD33, it's truck drivers and longshoremen in particular. Yes, we may find the advertisements on our teevee distasteful about the faces behind industries that we don't care for and point to executive salaries, but make no doubt about, you're talking about union members who fill union halls and Democratic Party committee meetings, driving endorsements and campaign money.

Let's think back to last August when "Big PG&E" was the bogeyman in the Capitol (little has changed). In the legislative hearings to support SB 930, which some people called a "PG&E bailout," the faces of testimony were labor and community organizations. Two weeks before the bill's vote on the last night of session, the California State Electrical Workers Union (IBEW) gave $1 million to the California Democratic Party. It was a highly unusual contribution from the organization, perhaps the biggest ever. Labor wanted to keep PG&E out of bankruptcy. Of course, two months later (two days after the election), the Camp Fire in Butte County broke out and PG&E went to bankruptcy court.

The point is that, like PG&E, "Big oil" is bad. You have your opinion on that and you know that I am forgoing a car these days like many others living downtown. My job in this space, however, is not to preach but rather to talk about the policy-politics intersect. I mentioned truck drivers and longshoreman in SD33 where the Long Beach port is above, but don't forget the electrical workers who are big forces where the refineries are, in particular. So, while a legislative district may not have extraction subject to the proposed new tax, refining facility workers would likely be mobilized by any "threat" to the industry.

Thus, not unlike the district-specific analysis I wrote on Friday about ACA 12 (death penalty), a similar analysis would need to be conducted. Although, it's not as easy as comparing a district vote on a state measure on the death penalty in 2016. Some of them are clear overlaps. For example, for new senator Melissa Hurtado (D-SD14), it is a tough vote for the death penalty measure (Prop. 62 no+21.8), but the oil and gas severance tax might be even harder, given that her district has some of the biggest oil fields in California.

Significant new revenue is going to be flat out difficult. One can look at "sin" taxes, but they are usually packaged to address the societal ills of the "sins" or prevention. And, the goal of sin taxes is to reduce those engaging in the "sin" (smoking, alcohol, sugary beverages), meaning that if they work, they are a declining revenue source. You don't want to build your ongoing school funding on that.

However, the budget isn't the only reason March 15 notices are issued, but rather one has to look at the totality of the circumstances of the district. K-12 and community colleges have funding determined largely on enrollment and fluctuations can significantly change funding over time on the upside or the downside. In K-12, this is particularly true with the proliferation of charter schools, and that's why we have seen high-profile teacher strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland. Next is likely Sacramento.

Thus, Steve Rubenstein reports for the Chron that March 15 notices went out to many non-teaching employees in the Oakland Unified School District. Already financially beleaguered and buoyed by "temporary" parcel tax measures, the district is absorbing a costly new collective bargaining agreement that ended the teachers strike. Rubenstein writes: 

"Hundreds of Oakland school clerks, library workers and other staff will receive layoff notices in coming weeks as the school district grapples with the expense of the contract concessions that settled the seven-day teachers strike this month, the school board has decided.

The layoffs of 257 “full-time equivalent” positions are part of a $22 million cut from next year’s budget.

. . .

Among the positions on the district’s chopping block are two dozen security officers, 22 kindergarten reading tutors, 20 “restorative justice” discipline officers and scores of clerks, receptionists, college application coaches, library technicians and others.

“In order to invest in our talent, we had to make cuts elsewhere,” [district spokesman John] Sasaki said, using the district’s euphemism for teacher pay raises. The new contract calls for an 11 percent pay raise over four years and a one-time bonus of 3 percent.

President Keith Brown of the Oakland Education Association teachers union said that linking the layoff notices to teacher pay raises in the new contract “is a ploy that nobody is going to fall for.”

I have not seen any fiscal analysis from either side as to what the new collective bargaining agreement means and what assumptions are included, let alone independent analysis by the state's Fiscal Crisis Management Assessment Team (FCMAT), which previously warned about the district's finances. The district is operating under a loan from the state, thus triggering the previous FCMAT report (final "management letter," essentially the executive summary). 

I wrote before and have seen nothing to contradict it, but the collective bargaining agreement appears to assume

  • AND
  • That's to stay above water under the new contract that lasts through 2021-22. 

    Of course, decisions to increase, reduce, or maintain expenses also have out-year impacts. Oakland Unified has two parcel taxes that have expiration dates in addition to one that is "permanent."

    • Measure N, passed in 2014, is $120/parcel. It expires in 2024.
    • People on both sides of the bargaining table wanted an end to the strike as the district was losing $1 million per day in lost average daily attendance state funds. Was it too optimistic? Is it the reason for the March 15 notices? Will the notices turn into actual layoffs at midnight July 1? Will the Legislature adopt a moratorium on new charter schools?

      I am not sure anybody knows. I welcome thoughts with facts from anyone.

      #CAKEDAY after the jump . . .

      Probolsky Research

       

      Okay, I'm tired. Have a great Sunday! I just talked to my dad and he says 80 in OC today. 73 here...time to get outside!

      #CAKEDAY: Light the candles for Owen Jones and Tisha Rylander!

       

      Classifieds

      Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing scottlay@gmail.com, with a headline, paragraph of up to 100 words, and what you'd like the end date to be.


      Future of California Elections Conference on April 11, 2019
      Join us on April 11 in Sacramento for the Future of California Elections (FoCE) 2019 Conference “Leading the Way: What Lies Ahead for California's Elections.” FoCE brings together election administrators, reform advocates, civic engagement groups and civil rights organizations each year at its annual conference to discuss and share strategies for modernizing elections and expanding voter participation. Participants at this year’s conference can expect to hear about what happens after election day and updates on California’s voter centric reforms, such as Voter's Choice Act implementation and Same Day Registration. For more information visit www.futureofcaelections.org/foce2019.
      Pruitt Consulting LLC, seeks a part-time Fundraising Associate in Sacramento.
      Pruitt Consulting is a consulting firm that specializes in fundraising for Democratic members of the California State Legislature, Constitutional officers, nonprofits, and political action committees. The Political Fundraising Associate assists the Political Fundraising Director and Chief Executive Officers in identifying donors, planning and attending fundraising events, and other business operations. This position requires analyzing political contributions, improving fundraising database, and assisting in various office duties. Email your resume to Gabriel Castellanos Jr, gabriel@pruitts.us or call at 916-400-4044.
      Press Release / Op Ed Writing Professional
      Santa Ana City Councilman and former State Assemblymember Jose Solorio is looking for a professional writer to assist him in preparing press releases, Op Eds, e-newsletters and fact sheets on local government and public policy issues and activities. Applicants can work remotely, but if based in Orange or Los Angeles County that would be a plus. Applicants should email: 1) resume, 2) 2-3 writing samples, and 3) hourly, per project, or monthly retainer rates to Jose@JoseSolorio.com.
      Receptionist

      Are you an enthusiastic and reliable administrative professional who enjoys a fast-paced environment? The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) is hiring a receptionist to be the face of an innovative government agency that works closely with local elected officials and staff from across the six-county region.

      This position will be part of SACOG's Administrative Support Team, providing entry-level support for a staff of approximately 60. In this position you will provide a range of duties, including greeting visitors, reserving and setting up meeting rooms, scheduling meetings, screening phone calls, sorting mail, and directing inquiries to the appropriate staff.

      Interested? For more information and to apply, please go to: www.governmentjobs.com/careers/sacog

      Digital/Social Media Professional
      Office of Senate President pro Tem Toni G. Atkins is looking for a digital/social media professional to lead all aspects of the Senator’s presence online – including website, social, SEM and channel strategy. Candidate must be digitally fluent with an understanding of the complex and fragmented digital media landscape and have strong communications skills. Candidate should be able to bring together a cohesive digital strategy that delivers results. Salary starts at $5,910 per month.
      Full announcement
      Submit Cover Letter, Resume, Writing Sample and Senate Employment Application to: Lizelda.lopez@sen.ca.gov.
      YOUR NO.1 TRAINING RESOURCE FOR GOVERNMENTAL ADVOCATES.
      Conducted by 45-year Capitol veteran Ray LeBov, Capitol Seminars offers unique and valuable training for California advocates that cannot be found anywhere else. That's why numerous nonprofits and for-profits, state and local government agencies, lobbying and public affairs firms and trade / professional associations from all over the state send us their new lobbyists, support staff, and anyone else who manages or collaborates in the process of advocacy, knowing they'll come back with information and inside insights they can put to immediate use. Our seminars cover the processes, points of influence and best practices for success across these key areas of advocacy: Legislative, Budget, Regulatory, Lobbying the Administration, and Media Strategies. Next dates: April 4-5, June 6-7, August 1-2. Curriculum information and registration: www.capitolseminars.net or 916-442-5009.
      City of Sacramento: Council Representative
      The Office of a Sacramento City Councilmember is seeking a Council Representative. The Council Representative will perform administrative, community relations, communications and constituency services.
      To apply: www.cityofsacramento.org/mayor-council/districts/district4/hiring
      The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) seeks an Executive Director located in Sacramento.
      The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) seeks an Executive Director located in Sacramento. The Executive Director develops programs and services to provide science, engineering, and biomedical advice to the State of California's government and is the chief executive responsible for CCST's administration, fundraising, budgeting, and directing the CCST Science Fellows Program. Review of applications will begin immediately and preference is given to applications received by March 25th. Click here for more information.
      Political Data Inc.
      For 30 Years PDI has been California’s premier data vendor. Now, you can get live online trainings on the newest PDI software every week:
 

Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing scottlay@gmail.com with a headline, paragraph of up to 100 words, and what you'd like the end date to be.

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM