If it’s July, it must be another California budget crisis, which brings those beloved IOUs and another round of furlough Fridays.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a financial emergency and reinstituted state worker furloughs today, the latest in the ongoing feud between the governor and legislators over yet another unadopted budget.
Read the full news release below:
Gov. Schwarzenegger Declares State of Emergency, Issues Executive Order to Impose Furloughs Due to Cash Crisis Caused By Budget Impasse
Governor Schwarzenegger issued an order today directing state agencies to reinstitute furlough Fridays until a new budget is in place. The order for state workers to take three furlough days per month will take effect starting August 1 and continue until a new budget is enacted and the Department of Finance certifies that the state has enough cash to meet its obligations through the end of the Fiscal Year.
“Without a budget in place that addresses our $19 billion budget deficit, every day of delay brings California closer to a fiscal meltdown,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “The State Controller has indicated he could be forced to issue IOUs starting in August in order to avert a cash crisis. Our cash situation leaves me no choice but to once again furlough state workers until the legislature produces a budget I can sign.”
The Governor’s furlough order continues to exempt CAL FIRE and California Highway Patrol from furloughs. In addition, the Governor’s new order is more narrowly drafted to exempt revenue generating agencies and quasi-public entities with non-general fund resources.
Amid the cacaphony of outrage we’re hearing today over Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s state budget proposals, environmentalists say they’re aghast at his plan to drop General Fund support for California’s state parks and replace it with money from controversial, not-yet-approved new oil and gas leases off the Santa Barbara coast.
They say Schwarzenegger is trying to set up a false dilemma by pitting the interests of one of California’s greatest natural resources – its coastline – against another – its parks.
Coastwalk California board president Fran Gibson said her group strongly opposes any further General Fund cuts for state parks, which already have been whacked in recent years. “It is unconscionable to leverage the PXP project against state parks in this way and use our coast and state parks as pawns in his budget game,” she said. “Both are critical natural public assets for current and future generations of Californians.”
“He would rather reverse forty years of bi-partisan California state policy against offshore oil drilling to push through a pet project over 100 statewide groups have joined to oppose rather than require oil companies extracting oil from our state’s sea beds pay a severance tax – their fair share to taxpayers for doing business in California,” Jordan said. “We are the only oil producing state in America that does not tax extraction of gas and oil on lands owned by the state. This would bring in more than $1.5 billion annually to the state’s General Fund.”
“It’s noteworthy that the Governor has finally come around to the side of park advocates and park users in California by proposing to fund state parks, instead of cutting them as he’s proposed in the last two budget cycles,” she said. “But pegging the fiscal future of the state park system to offshore oil drilling sets up an unacceptable tradeoff between coastal protection and park preservation, and attempts to provide a band-aid for our state park system yet again. Band-aids are not what’s needed; what’s needed for state parks is a reliable, sustainable funding source, and CSPF and our partners are working toward that in the State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010.”
That’s a proposed ballot measure which would create an $18-per-vehicle surcharge to raise the $130 million per year needed to support the state park system; all day-use access would become free of charge. Proponents must gather valid signatures from at least 433,971 registered voters by May 28 in order to put the measure on November’s ballot.
A lot of Contra Costa leaders have already posted their messages — like Orinda Mayor Sue Severson, Orinda Councilman Tom McCormick, Pittsburg Councilwoman Nancy Parent and Walnut Creek Councilwoman Cinda Silva.
If you’re mad as hell and won’t stand for it any longer, tell ‘em!
“We oppose the cuts in transportation, education, social services and other humane services, and we oppose this deal even though we were told that great hardship would result if (this) rotten deal failed to pass,” said Michael Rubin, who analyzed the measures for the Green Party of Alameda County. “Even more we oppose the process which offers us a ‘choice’ of being shot in the leg or shot in the arm, but did not offer us the choice of using our collective wealth to meet human needs.”
Proposition 1A, the spending cap/rainy-day fund measure, would create more problems and require billions more in cuts to needed social services, the Greens say; Proposition 1B, providing money previously promised to school districts, and Proposition 1C, to borrow money against future lottery revenue, are merely there to sweeten the bitter pill of 1A, they say. The Greens rejected 1D and 1E because they say the measures steal money from taxes created to benefit children and the mentally ill, and they said 1F — preventing pay raises for state elected officials when the budget is in deficit — is ineffectual.
State GOP leaders last month voted to oppose all the measures too — but they’re doing it because they oppose any and all tax increases, and believe the state budget should be slashed far beyond the cuts already made.
Just yesterday, I saw San Francisco State University Assistant Professor Ramon Castellblanch angrily denouncing Proposition 1A, the spending-cap/rainy-day-fund measure on the May 19 special-election ballot, claiming it would be “devastating” to the future of public higher education in California.
Apparently state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who helped broker the budget deal that put Proposition 1A before voters, doesn’t hold a grudge. Steinberg’s office today announced Castellblanch, a Democrat from Benicia, has been appointed to the California Board of Pharmacy.
The board adopts rules and regulation for the proper and effective enforcement and administration of the pharmacy profession including licensing and enforcement of state and federal laws. Castellblanch’s term will expire June 1, 2012.
Some of you may recall that this group started the budget challenge a few yeas ago in an effort to help Californians understand the trade-offs required to balance a state budget. Next10 even has a roadshow version complete with instant vote results.
Try it out. You will find it very interesting.
Here are more details from Next 10:
Sacramento, CA – It took California’s legislature three long months of intense negotiations to resolve this year’s budget standoff. Now Californians can try their hand at solving the Golden State’s budget woes in just 15 minutes. The nonpartisan “California Budget Challenge” (next10.org/challenge) is a free online educational tool from Next 10 that lets users try to balance California’s books and see how their choices will affect the state five years into the future.
“The California Budget Challenge allows Californians to set their own priorities and make tough decisions about what is best for the people of the state,” said F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10. “This nonpartisan tool allows everyday Californians to consider the ongoing effects of important policy choices.”Read the rest of this entry »
Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, is voluntarily cutting her pay 10 percent or nearly $12,000 a year.
A press release from her office says the newly elected lawmaker sent a letter to Controller John Chiang requesting the salary adjustment. State legislators earn $116,098 a year plus $170 in per diem for each day they are in session.
“Recognizing that we must lead by example, the Assembly has reduced its budget 10 percent and has directed the savings to the Employment Development Department (EDD) to support California’s families,” Buchanan said in a press release. “Further, I will direct the State Controller to reduce my salary 10 percent. I cannot, in good conscience, ask others to sacrifice if I am not willing to do the same.”