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After The Transportation Money’s Gone…

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

In its assessment of California’s budget for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, the Legislative Analyst says this about state highway spending: “Proposition 1B, a ballot measure approved by voters in November 2006, authorized the issuance of $20 billion in general obligations bonds for state and local transportation improvements…. The budget appropriates $258 […]

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Brown Saying “No” More Than Twice As Much as He Used To

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

Of the 896 bills lawmakers approved in 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed 96 of them – just under 11 percent – the lowest percentage of his current term, according to How Often Do Governors Say No?, an annual tabulation by the Senate Committee on Governance & Finance. In 2012, the Democratic governor was sent 996 […]

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Tim Donnelly, Possible GOP Contender for Governor

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

The Assemblyman from Hesperia wants Californians to tell him whether he should enter the fray of the 2014 gubernatorial election  for a chance to be thrashed by whomever the Democrats nominate. Despite being posted on Facebook, the following is unlikely to resonate with enough of the California’s 3.7 million regitstered independent voters — even more […]

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That Day in Court May Take a While

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

Resolving a divorce, a custody tussle, a contract dispute, a landlord tenant fight, an unpaid debt or any number of multimillion-dollar or small claims civil issues takes longer and costs more than it used to. And it’ll get costlier and even more time-consuming, experts say, because of the steady diet of state budget cuts force […]

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Seeking Equity in Public School Funding From the Ancients

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

No press conference by Gov. Jerry Brown seems to be complete without some reference to ancient Greek or Roman philosophy and literature – often declaimed in the original Latin. The Democratic governor’s unveiling of his proposed $139 billion spending blueprint for the fiscal year rbeginning July 1 was no execption. Generating the most media attention […]

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California’s Other Deficit: At $10 billion, it’s Big Bucks

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

Crossposted on Capitol Weekly It’s California’s other deficit. The one that doesn’t get talked about much. At just under $10 billion, this deficit is a bigger financial hole than the one in the state’s General Fund. But Gov. Jerry Brown and the federal government have a plan for erasing the deficit, which will take more […]

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Got a Calculator? Rival Tax Plans Complicate Ballot

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

Crossposted on Capitol Weekly Five groups and counting – including Gov. Jerry Brown – aim to help California by convincing voters next November to approve billions in tax increases. It’s difficult to say how many of the nearly 15 million Californians who file state tax returns would be digging into their wallets – and how […]

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Schwarzenegger’s Education Cabinet Secretary to Step Down

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

Veteran educator Glen W. Thomas is resigning as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s education cabinet secretary in order to care for his ailing mother.

Schwarzenegger appointed Thomas, 63, to the post – the primary education advisor to the governor — in January 2009. The date of Thomas’ departure has yet to be set.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be Secretary of Education,” Thomas said. “With the governor’s leadership, we accomplished a lot more than some people thought possible. Things like Race to the Top and digital textbooks.”

A triumvirate of entities shape public school policy in the state: the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the governor’s education cabinet secretary.

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Legislature Struggles For Agreement on Package of ‘Reforms’

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

State lawmakers are struggling to find consensus on a package of changes, such as switching to a two-year budget cycle, which they hope will improve the operation of the Legislature and the state as a whole, burnishing their tarnished image in the process.

The laundry list, presented on an internal PowerPoint obtained by California’s Capitol, includes increasing oversight of state agencies and departments, switching to performance-based budgeting to measure program success and requiring initiatives to include new revenue to cover their costs.

A hearing of the Senate and Assembly Select Committees on Improving State Government to discuss the proposals was canceled January 19, apparently because of a lack of agreement over items on the list. 

The committees were created in 2009 to conduct hearings and propose changes to make government at all levels more efficient.

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California’s Next Governor Faces Four Years of Fiscal Hell

Greg Lucas
Reporter for Capitol Weekly and Publisher of California’s Capitol website

The first term of California’s next governor will be a fiscal nightmare with a cumulative budget shortfall over four years of nearly $83 billion, according to the fiscal forecast released November 18 by the Legislative Analyst. 

During his last year in office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic majority Legislature face a $21 billion gap between revenues and spending commitments, a problem whose solution is made more difficult by the political timidness that usually marks election years.

The GOP governor said on November 9 he expected a budget hole of some $14 billion between now and July 1, 2011, absent any action by himself and lawmakers. 

A spokesman for Schwarzenegger’s Department of Finance said “there isn’t a great deal of difference” between the administration and the analyst’s revenue estimates but added some the unrealized budget savings cited in the report as causes for the increased shortfall will materialize. 

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