Tag Archives: Governance

Gee, You Think Legislators Make Better Decisions In The Light Of Day?

Over the past year, the Legislature has seemed to go into marathon session after marathon session. There have been several sessions lasting nearly 20 hours this year dealing with the various budget gaps. And then there was the water marathon.  Thus, we get this from the Bee:

Early – very early – one morning last week, state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod wandered to the back of the ornate Senate chambers and expressed a feeling shared by many of the other people in the room.

“I would rather stick my finger in a light socket,” she said, “than spend another hour in here.”

The Chino Democrat’s observation was colored by the fact that it came at around 3 a.m., during an 18-hour legislative session on overhauling the state’s water system. (SacBee)

This just isn’t good governance. Ignoring the question of whether the legislators are tired, there is also the fact that actions taken in the middle of the night are far less transparent. Legislators can’t get input from stakeholders and the general public at 3 AM. While I understand the dramatic nature of the all-nighter for purposes of forcing compromise, there has to be a better way than something you’d see on collegehumor.com.

And, legislators, take the advice from the “Health Guru.” You are probably better off to think ahead and lay off the Ritalin!


Community College Proposition

A proposal to increase funding for community colleges has qualified for the February ballot. Here is the title and summary:

  Establishes in state constitution a system of independent public community college districts and Board of Governors. Generally, requires minimum levels of state funding for school districts and community college districts to be calculated separately, using different criteria and separately appropriated. Allocates 10.46 percent of current Proposition 98 school funding maintenance factor to community colleges. Sets community college fees at $15/unit per semester; limits future fee increases. Provides formula for allocation by Legislature to community college districts that would not otherwise receive general fund revenues through community college apportionment. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Potential increases in state spending on K-14 education of about $135 million in 2007-08, $275 million in 2008-09, and $470 million in 2009-2010, with unknown impact annually thereafter. Annual loss of fee revenues to community colleges of about $71 million in 2007-08, with unknown impacts annually thereafter. (06-0030.)

I’m not sure where I stand on this. I have a big objection to ballot-box budgeting. It is that which has straitjacketed the legislature to the point where little of the budget is discretionary.

This further straitjackets and makes a smaller % of the budget discretionary.

At the same time, due to a decrease in K-12 school enrollment combined with Prop 98, community college funding will automatically take a dive. Community college funding should be based on community college enrollment, not K-12 enrollment. Plus, increasing community college funding would not automatically decrease K-12 funding anymore. I support pay as you go, but the legislature shouldn’t be told where to subsidize an increase in funding. So in a way, it increases straitjacketing but also decreases it

So this one is tough. What do you think?