Archive for the 'Sacramento Politics' Category

California First To Sell Build America Bonds And Take Advantage of Federal Recovery Act

Gov. Schwarzenegger Said on Wednesday that California is the first state in the nation selling Build America Bonds, and taking advantage of the new Federal Recovery Act . With this help, more than 5,000 projects will be restarted in California. Restarted projects cover everything from transportation, school construction, environmental and park projects, infrastructure projects and more. Many of these projects have been on hold since December 2008.

One of the most awaited projects to get restarted for Sacramento is the  The Railyards in the downtown district.

The Railyards, a joint venture with Thomas Enterprises will redevelop the 240-acre downtown Sacramento railyard, that has been on the books for several years.

Governor Schwarzenegger released a statement after the California Transportation Commission voted to give additional American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funding designated by the federal government for highway transportation infrastructure projects.

He said “We must maximize the use of precious tax dollars – not only in California’s General Fund spending but also with the Recovery Act funds coming into the state for federally defined purposes.  President Obama designated Recovery Act funding for transportation infrastructure to create and save jobs while also investing in our nation’s infrastructure – and in California we are working around the clock to take full advantage of each and every dollar.”

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Sacramento’s Homeless Tent City Residents Adjust to New Life Indoors

Longtime residents of Sacramento‘s dismantled tent city are moving into permanent housing, the fulfillment of a promise by Mayor Kevin Johnson.   Hot showers, a kitchen to cook in and clean clothes are new to them, they are grateful. But for some,  new rules that come with the priveliges are proving to be a challenge.

“At times I know how my dogs felt when they were in a kennel,” said said one man, “Sometimes I feel like I’m in a cage.”

Most of the people who lived in Sacramento’s Tent City had lived there for years, but in  April, police forced about 150 people to leave the sprawling encampment north of downtown. The community had existed for years, but after it was featured on national television it generated a firestorm of controversy.

“For people who have been living outside for 10, 12, 15 years, coming inside can be a rude adjustment,” said Tim Brown director of the area’s Ending Chronic Homelessness Initiative. “You have drug and alcohol issues, and socialization issues. It’s tough. But it’s also wonderful to see some of them change their lives. Camping outside all year long is no paradise. It’s a pretty difficult life.”

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What Will Budget Cuts Mean To Sacramento Area Teachers, Cops and Firemen?

Schwartzenegger wiill make tough decisions

 

SACRAMENTO-The most powerful lawmakers in the state of  California met Wednesday afternoon in order to start a plan in dealing with the state’s $21.3 billion budget deficit. Imagine. That’s a lot of money… Where’s it all going to come from? California  can no longer avoid deep cuts to schools and government services after The state’s voters rejected Tuesday’s special election budget proposals.

“I think the message was clear from the people: Go all out and make those cuts and live within your means,” Schwarzenegger said earlier Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met with Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D – L.A.), Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D – Sacramento) Assembly GOP Caucus leader Mike Villines of Clovis, and immediate past Senate Republican caucus leader Dave Cogdill of Modesto in his office at the State Capitol yesterday.

How will the upcoming payroll cuts affect our local Sacramento housing market? How many buyers will no longer be buyers when they lose their job?  How many more homes will go on the market because people have to relocate?

Could get interesting…

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Special Election a Big Yawn While Sacramento Voters Defeat Budget Messures

As expected, Sacramento area voter turnout Tuesday for the Special election was very slight. Many who did show up told posters the only reason they cast a ballot was to send a message to lawmakers.

The special-election ballot agenda crafted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California legislative leaders that would have propped up the states budget was defeated soundly yesterday.

 The defeat of the budget package will push the California State budget to a $21.3 billion deficit.

According to the Special Election Results From Twitter; so far at 4:29 this morning it shows: State proposition vote count update: 1A 34.1% yes, 1B 37.4% yes, 1C 35.4% yes, 1D 34.3% yes, 1E 33.6% yes, 1F 73.9% yes

Governor Schwarzenegger and other legislative leaders released these statements Tuesday night.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“Tonight we have heard from the voters and I respect the will of the people who are frustrated with the dysfunction in our budget system. Now we must move forward from this point to begin to address our fiscal crisis with constructive solutions. We face a staggering $21.3 billion deficit and in order to prevent a fiscal disaster, Democrats and Republicans must collaborate and work together to address this shortfall. The longer we wait the worse the problem becomes and the more limited our choices will be. That is why tomorrow, we will come together to begin to develop a budget solution that gets our state back on track.

“We must also continue to fight for real, comprehensive budget reform that brings stability to California’s budget process and forces the state to save in the good times so that we do not face these kinds of deep deficits, devastating cuts and tax increases when the economy takes a downturn. I have been working to accomplish this kind of reform since I was elected in 2003 and I will keep working toward it because we cannot allow this harmful and out-of-control budget process to continue.”

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento):

“The voters have spoken and they are telling us that government should do the best it can with the money it has. We will immediately and responsibly get to work to balance the budget and head off a cash crisis in July. Delay is not an option. The necessary decisions we must make will only get harder with time.”

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass:

“There are many difficult choices and a lot of hard work ahead of us. We now have to responsibly fill the budget hole that has been caused by the national recession and deepened by the failure of today’s ballot propositions. I hope the bipartisan cooperation between the Legislature and the Governor that went into this effort will continue as we move forward – the people of California clearly expect us to work together to get the job done. And we will. I do want to thank tonight the teachers, firefighters, business leaders and other Californians who worked in support of these propositions in hopes of warding off more devastating cuts to vital services. Their commitment to a better California should be appreciated by everyone on both sides of these initiatives.”

 

Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines (R-Fresno):

“My goal in placing these initiatives on the ballot was to start to get our budget under control and help California begin to live within its means. Even though voters did not support our approach, I believe it is clear from this election that voters want the Governor and the legislature to achieve both those goals. The biggest mistake we could make in the aftermath of this election is not enacting serious reform.

“California has a big problem moving forward. We need a spending cap now more than ever, and only through spending reform and reductions will we be able to get California back on track. I believe California can emerge from this crisis fiscally sound and strong, but there is a long and difficult road ahead.”

Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto):

“California voters may have sent state leaders back to the drawing board, but it’s not a mandate to abandon reform. Until we break this circle of dysfunction, California will be plagued with chronic budget deficits. Ensuring government lives within its means is the only way to prevent the boom-bust cycle that keeps repeating itself.”

 

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Sacramento Expects Few Voters for Tuesday’s Special Election

 

COW PALACE

California voters will vote on a package of budget measures in tomorrows special election. But it seems that most people are not going to even show up to vote. Sacramento State government professor Kim Nalder says voters should schedule a stop at the polls Tuesday.

“It’s incredibly important to the future of California, because we’re determining what budget priorities we have, which pots of money deserve to be switched around and which don’t. Their input is necessary,” Nadler says.

Governor Schwarzenegger has plans to sell the Cow Palace along with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; San Quentin State Prison; Cal Expo; and several other state-owned fairgrounds to raise money.

Schwarzenegger said the state has no business holding onto “prime properties.”

According to reports, sales of the properties are estimated to raise $600 million to more than $1 billion.

The state is facing a $15.4 billion deficit in the next fiscal yearthat will climb to $21.3 billion, Schwarzenegger said, if Propositions 1A and 1B fail on Tuesday.

I read a great editorial the other day:

(Source: The Sacramento Bee)trackingBy The Sacramento Bee, Calif.

May 17–Like many Californians, we are deeply dissatisfied with the Legislature’s mismanagement of this state’s finances. Years of dysfunction, discord and partisan polarization have led to perpetual deficits that have been an embarrassment to the state and an impediment to economic growth for most of this decade.

Members of the Legislature have demonstrated that they cannot restrain themselves when economic times are good, and they cannot manage the fallout when times are bad. That’s why we are supporting Proposition 1A.

Once the state digs itself out of this mess — and someday it will — the long-term spending reform in this measure will help prevent California from descending into such an abyss again.

Proposition 1A was written by Republicans and forced on the Democrats who control the Legislature, the price Republicans demanded in exchange for their support for temporary tax increases. The measure would extend those taxes for a maximum of four years and then put the voters’ stamp on the expiration date. And it would place a new spending limit in the state constitution, where only the voters, not the Legislature or the governor, could tinker with it.

This new provision would limit spending in good times, when California’s economy typically generates huge spikes in tax revenue. Any money beyond the average growth rate would go into a rainy-day reserve. The Legislature could spend that money only when the economy slows and revenue slumps.

We also support Propositions 1C, 1D and 1E to provide short-term relief in the budget while lawmakers and the governor work on solving the longer-term imbalance between the state’s revenues and its projected spending. We oppose 1B because it would require increased spending on the schools at a time when the state needs to set priorities that match the treasury’s ability to pay for them.

Lawmakers in February passed a budget that cut spending from $103 billion last year to $94 billion this year and put the state on a path to spend $92 billion next year. That is less than the state spent 10 years ago, after adjusting for population growth and inflation.

That budget reduced grants to welfare recipients, cut stipends to the disabled and elderly, and slashed education spending by several hundred dollars per student. Lawmakers reduced subsidies for public transit and cut university budgets, forcing families to pay higher fees and tuition.

But these cuts only scratched the surface of what must be done. Even if the ballot measures pass, the state is facing another $15 billion shortfall next year, and more once the tax increases expire.

Given how unpleasant most of the package is, some voters may want to vote “no” to send a message telling lawmakers and the governor to try again. But the more likely result would be a return to the partisan gridlock that led to this problem in the first place.

The nation is in the worst economic downturn since the Depression. The days ahead are going to be tough enough without a renewal of ideological warfare inside the Capitol.

A “yes” vote on 1A, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F will reward pragmatism and encourage lawmakers to work together as they begin the next phase of what can best be described as fiscal triage.

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“A Palpable Mistrust of Sacramento”

California State Governor

 

Sacramento– Gov. Schwarzenegger unveiled a plan showing which California programs will suffer from deep cuts if the special election ballot measures fail next Tuesday. He also proposed selling San Quentin State Prison, the Cow Palace in Daly City, as well as the LA Coliseum, if voters don’t approve his tax increases and saving plan, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Eric Beach of Californians Against New Taxes said there is no need to hike taxes.

At Redwood High School, teacher William Crabtree says he plans on voting for the measures, but thinks most in his community won’t.

“I think there’s kind of a palpable mistrust of Sacramento,” Crabtree said.

Californians will have a say in how the state handles the huge budget shortfall, but most people haven’t even looked at the propositions and studied the choices, or even plan on voting.

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California Declares State of Emergency; Actual Unemployment at 20%

 

 
As California’s economic woes worsen, Governor Schwarzenegger declares a state of emergency.
 
Is this an indication of what the rest of the country will face in the near future? California has led in nearly every indicator in this recession, what happens here first usually follows nationally. California also makes up a huge portion of the national economy…

With job losses mounting and social pressures growing, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency on April 17.

“I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist in California caused by the current and continuing economic downturn and resulting unemployment in California,” Governor Schwarzenegger said in his “Unemployment Proclamation.” He added that the magnitude of the economic downturn and resulting unemployment were out of the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single city and/or county and required the combined forces of an entire region or regions to combat.

The latest unemployment figures show that conditions in California are much worse than in the rest of the country. As of March, the official unemployment rate stood at 11.2 percent—the highest for the state since statistics have been collected—and far above the official national average of 8.5 percent. Tens of thousands of workers lost their jobs in March, which caused the unemployment rate to surge.

But the actual unemployment rate paints an even darker picture. If you include those people who have given up looking for work and those who work only part-time because they cannot find full-time work, the California unemployment rate doubles to about 20 percent.

Economists expect unemployment rates to continue to rise at least through the end of summer, when President Barack Obama’s stimulus packages filter down to the local economies. But economists worry that once this one-time spending is gone, job losses may rise again.

California’s bleak economic condition is an omen for the rest of the country.

California has been plagued by a host of curses over the past few years: a housing bubble, massive budget issues, widespread and uncontrolled illegal immigration, major droughts, and wildfires. In February, Governor Schwarzenegger was forced to issue a state of emergency over drought conditions.

Since the state is responsible for approximately 13 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, as long as California continues to deteriorate, it will exert a disproportionate drag on the rest of the country. And the drag looks like it will only get heavier.

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