0

A state budget fix? Not yet.

Yesterday Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he will veto the budget proposal that the Dems passed yesterday. From the Sac. Bee:

California’s budget mess got messier Thursday as Democratic legislators approved a package of tax increases and spending cuts, Republican legislators threatened to sue over the package’s questionable constitutionality and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made the issue moot by promising to veto it.

The Contra Costa Times has this:

Just when it looked like Democrats had devised a way out of their suffocating impasse with Republicans over the state budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped in Thursday afternoon with this message: Not so fast.

In a dramatic day at the Capitol that alternately had on display exultant Democrats, angry Republicans and a frustrated Schwarzenegger, the governor announced he would veto a Democratic gambit to raise billions in new revenue.

By exploiting a legal loophole over the definition of taxes vs. fees, Democrats had hoped to sidestep the state’s two-thirds majority hurdle for raising taxes. But the part of the package that offended the governor most did not involve the end-run on taxes; instead, Schwarzenegger said the proposal did not go far enough to trim spending and stimulate the economy.

More up to the minute state budget info at Calitics.

1

State budget leaves Alameda schools in the lurch

The new California state budget lowballs the cost of living increase for schools (anyone notice the rising cost of almost everything these days?). Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued this statement about the budget’s funding for education:

[It] includes a reduction of the cost-of-living adjustment that will further tighten the vise on local school budgets as districts across the state face increased costs for supplies, food, transportation and employee health care costs. These reductions are a disservice to California’s 6 million school children and the thousands of educators across the state.

Read all of Contra Costa Times reporter Kimberly Wetzel’s story on the budget and education here. As for blame? George Skelton has this piece in the Los Angeles Times: Blame all the players for a gimmicky budget.

3

California state budget? We shall see.

California legislators—yours and mine—passed a state budget this morning that will close the budget gap without, get this, raising taxes or cutting services much. How do they do this? Through a series of accounting tricks. Such as this one: counting revenue expected in the next fiscal year as coming this year. Another? They’ll be boosting tax withholdings for workers—even though the money will be refunded later in the year. In sum, it’s no long-term solution, just a game of smoke and mirrors. “They basically punted the ball down the field,” Mike Herald of the Western Center on Law and Poverty told the Contra Costa Times, “and delayed all the pain and anxiety until next year rather than deal with it now.” And, in any case, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has threatened to veto the plan…so I wouldn’t say we’re quite there yet. As the details emerge over the next couple of days and weeks we’ll be able to get a clearer sense of how it will impact Alameda.

0

Paying the price to have good schools in Alameda

Today’s print column, “Paying the price to have good schools,” is up online. If you’ve somehow missed that today is election day, and Measure H, the parcel tax to support our town’s schools in on the ballot, go read it now. You can find all Alameda Journal articles online here.

———
Past “Life on the Island” columns
May 27, 2008: A civil rights issue in our time
May 20, 2008: What’s cooking in the hot weather?
May 12, 2008: When a man needs a cave
May 5, 2008: Enjoying that small-town feel
April 28, 2008: Support of tax teaches lesson
April 21, 2008: New garage can be a good habit
April 14, 2008: When the earth shakes, duck
April 7, 2008: Snails, ants, lice and light brown apple moths