Government & Politics

Government & Politics
5:13 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

State Analyst: CA Budget Deficit Drops to $1.9 Billion

Legislative analyst Mac Taylor released his office’s annual fiscal outlook today. He’s projecting a $1.9 billion deficit over the next year-and-a-half, followed by a growing surplus in each of the next several years.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California’s once-enormous budget deficit has shrunk to just under $2 billion, and the state could soon have a surplus.  But Mac Taylor, California’s non-partisan legislative analyst is urging caution as state finances improve.

Not long ago, California hit rock bottom, with a massive budget deficit. 

Nearly four years ago Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told a crowd, “the $42 billion deficit is a rock upon our chest that we cannot breathe until we get it off.” 

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Government & Politics
5:33 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

CSU Board of Trustees Delays Decision On Student Fee Increase

California State University leaders have delayed a vote on a proposal to increase student fees.

The proposal would charge extra fees on so-called “super seniors,” students who take more courses than required, and course repeaters. Governor Brown asked the CSU Board of Trustees to postpone the vote.

"Let’s measure up to the expectation of the voters, and that means getting out of our comfort zone – whether we’re trustees or faculty or administrators or students or anyone else.  The taxpayers got out of their comfort zone, so we have to follow suit,” said Brown. 

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Government & Politics
4:00 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Strong Success for Tax Measures May Not Be New Trend

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

Before last week, California voters had rejected every statewide tax measure since 2004.  This election, they approved two of them.  They also said yes to more than 70 percent of the local tax and bond measures on last week’s ballot.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, this may not be the start of a new trend.

The passage of Propositions 30 and 39 snapped a seven-measure winning streak for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.  But President Jon Coupal says that doesn’t mean the attitudes of California voters are changing when it comes to taxes.

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Veterans Day
11:38 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Hiring For Fresno Veterans Home to Begin Soon

An artists rendering of the Fresno Veterans Home

Two new California veterans’ homes that currently sit empty in Fresno and Redding could start filling up over the next year.  The state has announced it’s beginning to recruit hundreds of employees for the homes.

Ever since April, veterans’ homes in Fresno and Redding have had lights, air conditioning and water, but no veterans, or staff.  This year’s state budget set aside money to start hiring, and now the California Department of Veterans Affairs says it’s ready to begin the recruitment process.

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Government & Politics
5:54 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Governor Brown Shares Priorities for Working with New Legislature

California Governor Jerry Brown - file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown shared a list of priorities for working with a new state legislature, which appears to be reaching a two-thirds majority in both houses. 

Now that his Prop 30 campaign is over, Governor Brown says he’s turning his attention to other matters.

“We ought to calibrate our regulations to ensure that they encourage jobs as well as protect other aspects of the public interest like the environment, health and good working conditions,” said Brown. 

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Government & Politics
11:57 am
Wed November 7, 2012

S&P: Prop 30 Outcome Good for California's Credit Rating

The ratings agency Standard and Poor’s is calling Proposition 30’s passage “favorable” for California’s struggling credit rating.

“It keeps the state’s prospects for a credit rating upgrade alive going forward. Had the measure gone down, I think it could have added pressure in the other direction,” says S&P analyst Gabe Petek.

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Government & Politics
9:55 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Fresno County Voters Approve Library Tax Renewal, While Measure O Trails

Voters line up outside the Fresno County elections office in downtown Fresno on Tuesday
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A sales tax that for over a decade has helped fund much of the budget for the Fresno County Public Library system appears to be headed to approval. 

While some absentee ballots remain to be counted, Measure B holds a lead of 72-percent to 28-percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. That's well above the two-thirds vote required for passage. 

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Government & Politics
8:50 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Voters Approve Brown's Tax Measure

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s been the cornerstone of Jerry Brown’s agenda since the day he returned to the California governor’s office: win voter approval of a tax measure to bring an end to the state’s years of never-ending budget deficits.  After a campaign full of twists and turns, voters approved the governor’s sales and income tax measure, Proposition 30, by 54 percent to 46 percent – but not without a suspenseful Election Night. 

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Government & Politics
6:00 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Final Field Poll Estimates Voter Turnout Below 2008 Levels

A record number of Californians have registered to vote. But the latest Field Poll estimates there likely will be a million fewer voters today than in the Presidential election of 2008.

The poll predicts 12.75 million Californians or about 70 percent of registered voters will cast ballots.

And for the first time in a statewide election the majority, 51-percent, will vote by mail.

Mark DiCamillo is Director of the Field Poll.  He says many people wait until Election Day to drop their ballots at polling places. 

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Government & Politics
11:14 am
Thu November 1, 2012

High Stakes for Jerry Brown with Prop 30

Governor Jerry Brown speaks at a rally for Proposition 30 in October.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

When the results for Proposition 30 come in on Election Night, California voters won’t just have returned a verdict on whether they support raising taxes to reduce the state’s budget deficit. They will also have handed Governor Jerry Brown a victory or defeat on his signature policy issue. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the outcome, and Brown’s reaction to it, could shape the rest of his time in the governor’s office.

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Government & Politics
6:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

New Field Poll Shows Prop 30 Just Short of 50 Percent

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks at an October rally in favor of his tax measure, Proposition 30.
Credit Andrew Nixon

The final Field Poll before Election Day on California’s two rival tax measures shows Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 leading by 10 points and education advocate Molly Munger’s Proposition 38 trailing by 15 points.

Prop 30 has lost support over the last several weeks and is now just shy of the 50 percent support it needs to pass. But Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo says it still has a “decent shot.”

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Government & Politics
5:59 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Judge Tentatively Rules State Can Examine $11 Million Mystery Donation

A California judge has tentatively ruled that the state can examine the sources behind an Arizona nonprofit that made an $11 million political contribution. 

The Phoenix-based group Americans for Responsible Leadership made the donation to a committee working to defeat Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.

Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ruled that the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission can conduct an audit to determine if the donation was made in compliance with state regulations.

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Sacramento
5:18 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Conway Says GOP Could Back Off Education Cuts if Prop 30 Fails

California’s budget calls for six billion dollars in automatic education cuts if voters reject Proposition 30 next week. But legislative Republicans say they would support reversing those cuts if the governor’s tax measure fails.

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, who represents portions of the Central Valley, says the elimination of up to three weeks of school would be “devastating” – and if Prop 30 doesn’t pass, both parties should work together to find alternatives.

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Government & Politics
7:53 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Presidential Race: What If There Are Two Winners?

Kimberly Fisher cast her ballot Wednesday at a polling place at the Wicomico County Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury, Md.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 1:10 pm

Even before Hurricane Sandy came roaring up the East Coast, political prognosticators were worried about next week's election being thrown into chaos and confusion.

The reason is that with the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney so close, there's a possibility of something other than a clean outcome.

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Government & Politics
7:00 am
Wed October 31, 2012

State Senate Majority For Democrats Might Not Change Much

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

This could be the year California Democrats finally reach the goal they’ve long strived for: a two-thirds supermajority in the State Senate. We took a look at that possibility in a report yesterday.

It turns out people from both parties don’t think Sacramento’s legislative landscape would change that much. And as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the biggest impact on next year’s atmosphere at the State Capitol will likely come from something else entirely.

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Government & Politics
4:35 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

More than $350 Million Raised For and Against Ballot Measures

Political contributions for and against California’s 11 ballot measures have totaled more than $350 million. Much of the money is coming from wealthy individuals and outside organizations.

The campaign finance watchdog Maplight.org found one family responsible for almost a quarter of the contributions to California’s ballot measures.

“What’s surprising is that a few individuals or wealthy organizations can control the political debate.”

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Government & Politics
12:34 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Democrats Hope for Two-Thirds Supermajority in State Senate

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

When California voters go to the polls on Election Day, they could usher in a change that hasn’t happened since 1965. They could give one party a two-thirds supermajority in the state Senate. Democrats are campaigning hard to make that happen. But Republicans are fighting just as hard to prevent it.

When Democratic Assembly member Cathleen Galgiani kicked off her campaign for state Senate last month in Stockton, the Senate’s top Democrat stood right beside her.

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Government & Politics
3:04 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Prison System Set for First Step to End Federal Oversight

Credit Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

California officials will take charge tomorrow of opening the nation’s largest prison medical facility. They have to meet a deadline of July of next year. As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, how well they accomplish the task will determine how soon a federal judge will end his oversight of prison medical care.

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Government & Politics
10:28 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Some California Small Businesses Wary of Brown's Prop 30

California Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure is drawing some of its strongest opposition from small business groups. Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on how some small businesses would be affected by Proposition 30.

James Wright owns part of a small business in Los Angeles County that manufactures manhole covers – with about 10 million dollars in sales. Wright doesn’t take anywhere near that much home to his family. But he does have to pay personal income taxes on company profits … using money from the business itself.

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Government & Politics
2:00 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Proposition 39: Corporate Tax Law

Next in our series on California's November ballot measures, we take a look at Proposition 39. It would change a critical piece of corporate tax law and provide more money to the state – but higher taxes for some businesses.

It was called “the most boring proposition on the 2012 ballot” by a San Diego blogger. The writer has a point. It revolves around a corporate tax formula known as the “single sales factor.” But when you consider that corporate taxes accounted for nearly 10 billion dollars in California last year, Prop 39 doesn’t sound so boring anymore:

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