Budget votes, originally scheduled in the Legislature for 2:00, have now been pushed back multiple times. The lastest word we have is 7:00 or 8:00, according to Karen Bass.
One major hurdle seems to be the securitization of redevelopment agency funds, which would net about $7.4 billion dollars over the life of the borrowing. Yesterday, Mark DeSaulnier described that provision to me as both “insane” and “illegal.” Insane I expect, but illegal would mean that it could not be enacted tonight. And we are now hearing from several sources that the redevelopment legality is throwing a wrench into the budget package.
Remember, this is something that City of Industry lobbyists have been seeking for years, primarily so they can fund an outdoor stadium and attract an NFL franchise. The way that it’s been structured, according to reports, is that this borrowing maneuver, which would tie up about 10% of total property tax revenue for up to 30 years, would replace the seizure of local government funds through Prop. 1A and HUTA (the gas tax). If the redevelopment securitization gets shot down, the borrowing would come from the above.
This was described to me last night by DeSaulnier as a shadow play, so Dennis Hollingsworth and his buddies can say they tried not to take from local governments. But it’s completely unclear whether anyone would vote to take those funds through Prop. 1A and HUTA, which would blow enough of a hole to scuttle the deal.
…The State Senate is in session right now. You can watch at CalChannel.
They’re voting to suspend the rules to allow votes to happen tonight. It went through unanimously except for Wyland (R).
…The first bill of the series is the prison bill, which just allocates the reduction in funding. Denham has a poison pill amendment to actually set out the policy, which the Yacht Party kicked and screamed that the Democrats were trying to do. The amendments got tabled. What nonsense.
I’ll start a new thread.
Well, it’s going to be a late night. The Legislature is set to convene at 2pm to consider the budget deal. Here’s the Assembly floor report. I could write another “25 Things” just off of this document, some of the bits buried in there are amazing. Here’s just one example:
Eliminates automatic cost of living adjustments (COLA) for CalWORKs and SSI/SSP grants. Also eliminates COLA’s for the budgets of UC, CSU, and other state departments.
Also, IHSS workers, who make $12 bucks an hour, may have to pay for their OWN criminal background checks and fingerprinting. Just for bureaucratic-speak, I also like the absurdity of this: “Consolidates the Bureau of Electronic Appliance Repair and the Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation into the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation.” Done!
This will not be an easy vote. Democratic lawmakers in the rank and file are unlikely to rubber stamp this. In addition to Sen. DeSaulnier, I’m hearing that many other lawmakers are uncomfortable on a variety of measures, to the extent that the Assembly Speaker is not whipping votes on the offshore drilling proposal or the dissolution of the Integrated Waste Management Board (which costs $0.00 for the state). The City of Industry lobbyist-backed deal to securitize redevelopment project money and tangle 10% of property tax revenue for up to 30 years isn’t a done deal, either.
A provision of the budget agreement, which faces a vote in the Legislature as early as today, would extend the life of the state’s redevelopment areas, a proposal that Industry officials have pushed for more than two years. Critics say the move would be a gift of public funds to benefit the proposed stadium and other private development at the expense of cities and counties that need the money for healthcare, welfare and police services.
A similar measure backed by Industry died in the Legislature last year after complaints from local government officials. But late in the budget negotiations, the city and its allies helped revive the proposal.
“They were able to find a mechanism to provide the infrastructure for an NFL stadium, but they aren’t able to find the mechanism to fund nutrition for a hungry child,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said Wednesday. “It’s galling. It’s really galling.”
AFSCME is running ads against the whole budget deal, and most advocacy groups have been quite critical. I would guess that most people in the Assembly have the perspective of indie Juan Arambula, that he’ll vote for most of the budget “with a heavy heart and a clothespin on my nose.” But I think some provisions could easily get struck down today, so it’s worth letting lawmakers know what you think.