Task Force Says California's Finances Unsustainable

Sep 20, 2012
Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould /

A non-partisan State Budget Crisis Task Force is recommending that California develop a two-year spending plan. The report released today called the state’s current financial structure unsustainable.

Californians can soon register to vote completely online. Paperless registration will be available to anyone who has a California driver’s license or ID.

Since 2009 Californians have been able to go online and fill out a form as part of the voter registration process. But signatures had to be mailed or delivered to county elections officials. Secretary of State Debra Bowen will soon roll out the next step, which would allow Californians who have a driver’s license or ID to hit “send” at the end of their online form.

The Chair of a California Assembly committee looking into the state’s special funds accounts called the parks department scandal “shameful” today. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, lawmakers asked finance officials for assurances that there are no more hidden assets.

At issue is how $54 million in surplus Parks department funds could remain hidden for 12 years. An audit last week also found discrepancies in other state special funds accounts. Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield chairs the oversight committee.

A bill that would create a retirement plan for California private sector workers who have no pensions or 401-K’s is facing intense opposition from business groups. The bill was heard today by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has decided that now is not the time to change California’s newly-approved process for cities and counties to enter into bankruptcy.

He’s decided to kill the legislation authored by a Democratic Assembly member. The bill would have loosened deadlines on negotiations with creditors and labor groups. But Steinberg says it’s time now for the legislature to focus elsewhere.

A new analysis shows that campaign committees already are spending millions of dollars on propositions for California’s November’s ballot. The analysis, by the Fair Political Practices Commission, shows by the end of June, committees had raised more than $84 million to fight or support the 11 ballot measures.

The Commission’s report looked at donors who gave $10,000 or more. While the state limits what an individual donor can give state candidates, there are no limits on the amount of money committees can contribute to ballot measures.

California’s Senate President Pro Tem is responding to criticisms of legislative pay raises and the hidden assets found at the parks department. The issues are giving ammunition to opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative.

This week on Valley Edition, we learn more about a new report which shows that on average, Valley counties send more inmates to prison and jail than the rest of the state. What does this mean for county budgets as realignment is moving many of those inmates from state prisons to county jails? We also discuss the merits of public defenders in California, as Fresno County is likely to place a measure before voters this fall which could make it easier to outsource the county’s public defender jobs to private attorneys.

California Sentencing Institute / Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

A new report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice shows that Valley Counties on average send more people to jail and state prison than the rest of the state. Kings County topped the list with the state's highest per capita population in state prison, over 1,500 adults for every 100,000 people. Tulare and Kern counties weren't far behind.

California’s Proposition 30 campaign released its fundraising numbers for the first half of the year today. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the campaign for Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative has raised more than six million dollars so far.