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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    CA. lawmakers pass long-overdue budget

    State lawmakers pass long-overdue budget

    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 8:14 a.m.

    In the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento , left, and Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, look over a the vote tally after the budget measure failed to get enough votes for passage, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif . Despite working overnight the Senate failed to approve the spending plan worked out between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders, to close a $19 billion deficit and end the longest budget impasse in the state's history. The Senate is expected to cast another vote on the budget later in the day. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

    How some of the state's top spending categories fared in the budget proposal, according to the state Department of Finance and a Democratic budget analysis (the cuts are calculated from projected spending levels before elimination of the $19 billion deficit):

    K-12 funding remains steady at about $47 billion, lower than it would have been had lawmakers not suspended the Proposition 98, minimum-guarantee funding level.

    Higher education funding increases slightly to about $11.5 billion.
    Health and human services are cut about $900 million, to about $27 billion, although Democrats say they were able to avoid reducing caseloads. The budget rejects Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to eliminate the state's main welfare program.

    Prison spending is cut about $1.1 billion, to about $8.9 billion, mostly by lowering the cost of inmate health care.

    Proposals to close California's $19 billion budget deficit:

    Revenue assumptions:

    $5.3 billion from the federal government, nearly $2 billion more than Schwarzenegger projected in May.
    $1.4 billion in additional tax revenue if the economy improves.
    $1.2 billion from selling 11 state properties and leasing back the buildings. Earlier projections said the state would net about $660 million after bond debt is paid off.

    Accounting maneuvers:

    Delay $1.7 billion owed K-12 schools into the next fiscal year.
    Delay $189 million owed community colleges into the next fiscal year.
    A $324 million budget reserve, down from the $1.2 billion sought by Schwarzenegger.

    Corporate tax breaks:

    $1.4 billion from delaying a corporate tax break for two years, offset by a $132 million loss from changing the way some companies calculate taxes.
    Spending cuts of about $7.5 billion, including:

    $3.1 billion by reducing the Proposition 98 school funding formula below the guaranteed level.
    $1.5 billion by presuming state employee unions have or will soon agree to pay and benefit cuts.
    $1.1 billion from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, including $820 million in reduced spending on inmate medical care.
    $937 million in reductions on health and human services programs.
    $212 million from higher education, made up by increased federal funding.
    $541 million in assorted reductions across state agencies.
    The Associated Press

    California lawmakers finally sent a financially shaky budget to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger early Friday, putting the state on track to start paying long-overdue bills but likely punting the state's deficit problems to the next governor.

    Senators voted 27-9 in favor of the main bill in a legislative package aimed at ending a 100-day budget impasse and bridging a $19 billion budget deficit. They followed a 54-1 Assembly vote on Thursday. The bill, SB870, cleared both chambers with the bare two-thirds majority needed for passage.

    "This is not a celebration, because of the difficulties of the times and the decisions that we've had to make. But it is a relief," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said when the budget passed, about 19 hours after the Legislature convened on Thursday.

    Schwarzenegger helped negotiate the budget deal, which includes no new taxes or fees but includes pension and budget reforms he has long sought. The governor said he hoped staff could get him the budget to sign by late Friday so the state can begin the short-term borrowing it needs to resume paying thousands of contractors and continue with infrastructure financing.

    Schwarzenegger said he planned to use his veto authority to cut an additional $965 million from the budget.

    "These are sobering times. ... I'm proud that we used this crisis as an opportunity to pass major reforms that would help ensure we will never have to suffer through a crisis like this again," he said.

    While lawmakers hailed the budget's passage, they acknowledged they may soon have to deal with the fallout from relying on optimistic economic forecasts and accounting maneuvers.

    "This budget will have a $10 billion deficit next year," predicted Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, during the budget debate.

    Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, who chairs the budget committee, countered that the spending plan will "allow us to continue to inch our way out of this recession."

    "It is time for the state to get everybody paid, to pay the vendors, to reopen the child care centers, and to allow the state to move forward," Ducheny said.

    California has been without a budget since the July 1 start of the current fiscal year, a delay that has left the state on the brink of issuing IOUs and cutting off funding for road projects.

    The budget package contains no new taxes or fees, and just 40 percent of the gaping deficit would be closed by additional spending cuts. The rest would be addressed through rosy revenue assumptions and creative accounting.

    The plan also counts on the state receiving $5.3 billion from the federal government, far more than it has received so far. Schwarzenegger said his administration will continue to work with the federal government to secure funding owed to California.

    The budget also assumes a statewide economic recovery that will generate an additional $1.4 billion in tax revenue.

    If those assumptions fall short, the difference will be added to the budget deficit that will greet Schwarzenegger's successor in January.

    Steinberg acknowledged the state's spending will likely have to be revisited in coming months. "We know we'll be back at it, but we also get a fresh start - a new legislative session and a new governor," he told reporters.

    Under the deal, nearly $2 billion in payments to K-12 schools and California's community colleges would be delayed until the next fiscal year.

    The budget lets Schwarzenegger claim victory in two of the three areas of reform he demanded as a condition of signing a spending plan.

    Lawmakers agreed to ask voters in 2012 to approve a larger rainy day fund to build a cash reserve for future economic downturns. They increased the maximum size of the fund from 5 percent to 10 percent of general fund revenue.

    The legislative leaders and most of the state's public employee unions also agreed to pension reforms that included higher retirement ages for state employees hired after Nov. 10 and higher contribution rates for all state workers.

    "For six years I've been fighting for those reforms and let me tell you, it's tough when you try to reform things. It has been hard and often, downright ugly," Schwarzenegger said. "But these reforms are necessary."

    The budget plan does not include the tax changes the governor had sought, including recommendations released last year by a commission created by the governor and Democratic leaders. Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the governor will keep pushing for tax changes he believes are needed to solve California's long-term budget imbalances.

    The national recession has forced lawmakers and the governor to make tens of billions of dollars in spending cuts in the past two years as state tax revenue plummeted. This year's $19 billion deficit amounts to more than 20 percent of the state's $87.5 billion general fund, which was as high as $103 billion as recently as the 2007-08 fiscal year.

    As lawmakers worked toward a final deal, the state's ability to meet its financial obligations was a mounting concern.

    The state needs a signed budget to start borrowing money to bridge the cash shortage that is typical each fall before the springtime influx of tax revenue, said Joe DeAnda, a spokesman for the state treasurer's office.

    The late budget also is making it more difficult for the state to issue long-term bonds to support $7 billion worth of public works projects this fall, he said.

    The state controller's office plans to announce Friday if California will need to issue IOUs for lack of cash.

    The budget's final passage was delayed in large part because the Senate was short five members.

    Senators Jenny Oropeza , D-Carson, and Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa , were absent due to long-term illnesses. Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, had to leave early to attend a court appearance on charges alleging that he lived outside his Southern California district since he was elected two years ago. Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, was absent for undisclosed reasons, and the late Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, has yet to be replaced.
    Associated Press Writer Judy Lin contributed to this report. ... ue-budget/

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  2. #2
    Senior Member uniteasone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    north carolina
    Lawmakers agreed to ask voters in 2012 to approve a larger rainy day fund to build a cash reserve for future economic downturns. They increased the maximum size of the fund from 5 percent to 10 percent of general fund revenue.
    Rainy day fund for who? That's a good one.......
    "When you have knowledge,you have a responsibility to do better"_ Paula Johnson

    "I did then what I knew to do. When I knew better,I did better"_ Maya Angelou

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