(Apologies to Bob Dylan) It is now all but certain that California will not have a budget before the end of September. We are already in the longest period of delay in state history and by all appearances this could drag out for an indefinite period. You may have heard or read over the weekend that the Big Five had reached agreement on a “framework” for the budget. Unfortunately, the devil is always in the details – and it’s in those details that things seem to have broken down.
While specifics regarding the nature of the framework are hard to come by, one likely scenario is that the Republican leadership has given a little on the revenue side and Democratic leadership has given a little on the spending reduction side. Media reports suggest that the Republican leadership has agreed to delay implementation of corporate tax reductions for one year and the Democratic leadership has agreed to slightly lower funding for education. Governor Schwarzenegger continues to insist upon pension and budget reform as part of the budget, and these points also appear to be significant stumbling blocks.
Other reports also indicate that the Republican leadership has insisted that part of the budget address unintended consequences of the tax reductions passed last February, which ended up costing cable and oil companies additional taxes.
Of course, much of this commentary is based on speculation and third-hand information, but it seems to fit with past patterns and public statements. There are currently no meetings of the Big Five scheduled as staff is apparently still trying to piece through the “framework” so details can be finalized. This step alone could take many days to accomplish. Then the leadership has to convince their respective caucuses to go along with the “solution.”
Of course, CSAC will stay on top of this issue and report to you as soon as something meaningful occurs.
CSAC Annual Meeting
We are approaching just six short weeks until the 116th Annual Meeting in Riverside County. Registration is doing well and we have a strong line-up of speakers and workshops. There will also be a session of the New Supervisors’ Institute for those members elected this year (click here to see the syllabus).
We have recently added new speakers to our lunch program for Thursday, November 18. Mark Paul and Joe Mathews, authors of the recently published California Crackup – How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It, will present their book and discuss their recommendations for addressing the dysfunction in our state government. If you have not heard about this new book, or had a chance to read it, I highly recommend it. It can be purchased here. It is current, thought provoking, and very well-researched. I am excited that the authors have agreed to speak to our Annual Meeting – I am sure it will be a highlight. I am sure the authors will also have copies available at the conference and you may just be able to get them to sign the book as well.
If you have not yet registered for the conference, there is still time. You can access registration materials by clicking here. See you in Riverside County in November!
For more, visit The County Voice, a place where CSAC, county officials and stakeholders can voice their thoughts on governance and issues that impact California’s 58 counties.