May 22, 2011
Lawmakers in Sacramento traditionally put off the toughest budget decisions until the governor's office updates its spending plan in mid-May with fresh estimates of revenue and costs. Those estimates are now in, and one thing should be even clearer than it was when Gov. Jerry Brown released his original budget in January: Legislators can't cut their way to a balanced budget. Granted, a projected $6.6-billion surge in tax revenue has narrowed the budget gap. So have the steps already taken by lawmakers, including more than $10 billion in spending cuts (mainly to safety-net programs and higher education)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 15, 2011 |
Gov. Jerry Brown, facing mounting pressure to walk away from his stalled budget plan, is refusing to yield and will seek to reinvigorate his campaign for a public vote on taxes with the revised spending package he releases Monday. But there will be a new twist. Having failed to win enough Republican votes to put the taxes on the ballot in June, the governor is expected to ask lawmakers to impose at least some of the levies first and seek Californians' blessing after the fact, said officials with knowledge of Brown's plan.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 14, 2011 |
Hundreds of teachers, parents and students rallied in Pershing Square on Friday to protest budget cuts and urge legislators for ballot measures to help fund education. The protest was part of a weeklong series of events around the state intended to draw attention to education funding. Over the past three years, state lawmakers have approved nearly $20 billion in cuts to K-12 schools and public colleges. On Thursday night, 26 people, including California Teachers Assn. President David Sanchez, were arrested in Sacramento after they refused to leave lawmakers' offices.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 13, 2011 |
Reporting from Sacramento -- Republican lawmakers on Thursday produced their first detailed plan to balance California's budget, relying on deep spending cuts for state workers, the mentally ill and the disabled. The proposal also contains optimistic revenue assumptions and, unlike Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's current budget plan, no extended taxes. The plan, unveiled by Assembly Republicans four days before Brown will update his financial blueprint, would fund public schools at roughly the same level as the governor has proposed and avert further reductions to state universities.
April 27, 2011
Taking aim at wolves Re "Anti-wolf pack is ready to hunt," April 25 The political pandering by Congress in removing wolves from the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana is yet another act of hubris in the ongoing man versus nature battle. Elk hunter and head of the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition Ron Gillett's characterization of the wolves as "Canadian" is laughable in its attempt to make this debate about some kind of invasion of wolves across geographic boundaries.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 3, 2011 |
A. Alan Post, the longtime legislative analyst who watched over the budgets of California governors from Earl Warren to Jerry Brown, has died. He was 96. Post, who also was a well-regarded artist, died March 26 of natural causes at his home in Sacramento, said his son, David. During Post's years in Sacramento he saw the state go from "a veritable outpost of the continental United States to one of the largest and most important political entities in the world," he told The Times in 1977 as he approached retirement.
March 31, 2011
On the campaign trail last year, Jerry Brown portrayed himself as the gubernatorial candidate best able to forge a bipartisan compromise to solve the state's fiscal problems. On Tuesday, however, Brown announced that he'd failed to reach a budget deal with Republicans despite weeks of negotiations. That's almost certainly a death knell for a key part of Brown's plan, which was to ask voters in June to raise about $12 billion by renewing a temporary increase in sales, income and vehicle taxes.
March 23, 2011
A coalition of one Re "Strikes on Libya intensify," March 21 Here we go again, attacking another country as part of a coalition. It starts out as a coalition, then, when the conflict continues, the other members quit, leaving the U.S. to foot much of the bill. Time and time again we end up fighting the battle alone for years and paying for something we cannot afford. Why don't we ever get out when the others leave? Meanwhile, we are laying off teachers and police, unemployment remains at unacceptable levels, healthcare is unattainable for many and the overall economic struggle continues.
March 22, 2011
A war and its general Re "U.S. on course for Afghan handoff, Congress is told," March 16 How come we are asking Army Gen. David H. Petraeus how it's going in Afghanistan when his forces have little to show for 10 years of battle? Did we not learn anything from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan? We helped the insurgents who are now trying to kill our troops for being in their country. I guess we will never learn that lesson as long as the Army is judging its own rate of progress.
March 20, 2011
The environment and the state budget Re "GOP sees leverage in budget vote," March 16 So California can't get a budget because not a single Republican will vote for it unless the Democrats agree to cut environmental protections, even though California voted for more Democrats than Republicans in the Legislature. So why is the budget process stalemated? Silly me, I thought I learned in elementary school that a majority was 51%. But no, the Jarvisites convinced Californians that a majority was really 67% and gave it a new name, "supermajority.