Budget Town Hall at 6PM: Are we about to get a cuts-only budget?

More to come on this post, but as we are rapidly approaching 6 pm, I wanted to get the word out about the Budget town hall with Senators Leno and Steinberg.  Here’s the link for that:


More details on the budget shortly in an update to this post…

OK, moving it over the fold…

UPDATE 1: As we are about to begin, there are a few things to point out. Today, the budget conference committee approved a “first pass” of their budget, that was focused primarily on cuts. it wasn’t the full $24 Billion, so we will see where the rest comes from.

UPDATE 2: Steinberg addressed shifting some of the funding decisions to the locals and then Sen. Leno discussed the Vehicle License Fee, and the fact that the backfill from the state to the counties that Arnold created when he cut the “car tax” is now the largest area of spending growth.

UPDATE 3: Why is just the Big5 making the decisions? Steinberg says that he is not just using the Big5 in this round of the budget mess, Leno then addresses the current process. The Big5 grew out of some hard bargaining between Willie Brown and the Governor at the time. This time they are doing a more public process. This time they held 3 weeks of hearings in the joint committee.

In the comments, it is noted that there were over 700 questions for this event. I’m not sure if they are going to release the questions.

UPDATE 4: Why not have the Legislature go part-time? paraphrases here, not quotes.

Steinberg: California is a “nation-state.”  Trying to govern the state part-time would be disastrous. Steinberg sticks up for his colleagues, talking about the hard work that the Legislators do. Having legislators have other jobs would harm the public interest, as the legislators would have to have other jobs, and not dedicate their full attention to the job.

Leno: The complexity of this job is amazing. If we are in a committee for two hours, we’ve prepared for at least 2 hours before hand.  The amount of work is amazing. Do we want to abrogate all of our responsibilities to state staff, who are unelected?

UPDATE 5: Is it time to Split the corporate rolls from the personal Prop 13 rolls?

Public education are short billions of dollars because we have not adequately established the difference between corporate and personal property. We need to go to the ballot

Leno: We are subsidizing corporations by not reassessing the properties. We should go to the ballot.

UPDATE 6: We need to end that corporate tax cut?

Leno: I agree, we shouldn’t include that tax cut. It is going to the biggest companies. That 2.5billion should be used for some of the important priorities of the state.

Steinberg: Governing is a matter of choices. Would the people of California rather decimate CalGrants or suspend the corporate tax cuts. This is an important debate. 2/3 or no 2/3, we are going to have that debate.

Mac Taylor is joining the conversation next…

UPDATE 7: 2/3 Vote on Budget Taxes?


UPDATE 8: Why aren’t you bringing in more revenue?

Leno: We need 2/3. Almost all of the Republicans who joined us are facing recalls. They are putting their careers on the line. There were some real profiles in courage in the February deal. We don’t think they will be willing to do that again. We should ask Californians if they want to really go down these paths?

UPDATE 9: Blame the immigrants?

Leno: It would be disastrous for public health and welfare if we simply stop treating all immigrants. We don’t live in a bubble, and ignoring one segment exists doesn’t actually make things better?

UPDATE 10: Are in-home support services cheaper than institutionalizing people?

Mac Taylor: In certain circumstances, it is cheaper to have IHSS right.

UPDATE 11: Why are the budget projections always wrong?

Mac Taylor: We have tried to get this right, but the problems is that we have to predict the economy. That’s hard. Also, the revenue structure is crrraaaazzzy, and unpredictable.

UPDATE 12: Schools?

Leno: It is heartbreaking that we are going to have to cut schools, but it is the largest chunk of the budget. We are going to spend more on corrections than higher education next year. that is disturbing, we need to fix that.

Steinberg: If we want to build an economy of high wage workers, we need to increase education. We will do our best to hold the line, but this crisis is real.

UPDATE 13: This is getting a bit long now, as even I am struggling to keep up with this. I will provide links to the archived video shortly…

UPDATE 14: Marijuana?

Leno says he supports at least changing possession to an infraction. Steinberg is a bit hesitant, open to discussion.

6 thoughts on “Budget Town Hall at 6PM: Are we about to get a cuts-only budget?”

  1. It would have been nice if everyone could have seen all of the questions. It was either incompetence or defensiveness (or both) for that decision to be made.

    Too bad.

  2. You missed Sen. Steinberg promising there would be a budget by July 1. Sad to see him value getting it done fast more than getting it done right.

  3. I like the way he said 2/3 would be on the ballot via signatures in 2010, in either June or November. Except the deadline for June has passed. I never thought he would be so open with the fact he has absolutely no plan.

  4. well, I finally heard that, and that was helpful. I’ve been waiting all year for that statement.

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