Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Budget News Roundup (Also, Take Your Break)

Not getting enough budget news, or you took a break during the long weekend? You're in luck: you can catch up quickly on recent news reports, right here. (One-line version: still no state budget, latest budget ever, big deficits, disagreements, general dissatisfaction.)

Budget standoff delays billions in state payments (Sacramento Bee):

State Controller John Chiang on Tuesday said he will be unable to make $7.6 billion in payments to schools, state vendors and others in September if a state budget is not approved this month.

Dan Walters: All 3 budgets would create future deficits (Sacramento Bee):

There are three versions of the budget on the table, plus countless variations. Schwarzenegger's – his third of the year – would raise sales taxes and other revenues by about $5 billion a year, but only for three years. The Democrats would raise taxes on high-income individuals by $8-plus billion a year. A new Republican version would eschew new taxes, cut spending more and borrow about $2 billion that would be "securitized" by diversions from the state lottery.

Wilson slams Schwarzenegger proposal for temporary sales tax hike (Sacramento Bee):

Wilson said he opposes the tax increase because he believes the state engaged in too much deficit spending under his successor, Gov. Gray Davis, and has not cut programs enough since then. […] Wilson said the current budget deficit is not nearly as large a burden as he had to deal with in 1991, when he said the state was in a worse economic downturn and the budget gap grew to one-third of the state's general fund.

California legislators set record for budget delay (Sacramento Bee)

State lawmakers break record for late budget (San Francisco Chronicle):

The Legislature has broken its dubious record for approving the budget late, a result of failing to break an impasse in negotiations that reached 62 days Sunday.

The Assembly and Senate wrapped up their legislative sessions Sunday after debating and voting on more than 100 bills, but none of them was related to solving the state's $17.2 billion budget gap. The gap includes $2 billion in reserves.

Legislature passes bills, but not a budget (Sacramento Bee):

Wrapping up hundreds of bills in the past week, California lawmakers finished their legislative session Sunday, but for the first time ever they did not pass a budget – and there is no deal in sight.

It may all come down to a whole lot of borrowing – again (Sacramento Bee):

[Legislators] are privately discussing taking as much as $2.5 billion from cities, counties and transportation projects this year, despite voter-approved rules that require repayment within three years, with interest.


"It's a legal approach, but from a financial and political standpoint, it's totally irresponsible," said Paul McIntosh, executive director of the California State Association of Counties.

Cities and counties, he said, may have to pay as much as 19 percent interest on bank loans to cover their losses. All of it would have to be made up by the state.

Remember to Take Your Break

Well, that was a bit discouraging. Maybe on your break you should cheer yourself by planning for Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th will be here before you know it!), or with a visit to LOLcats, Cute Overload, or GraphJam. Or even a stroll outside, where we hear there are sunshine, trees, and singing birds to be found.

From Article 18 of the current contract:

18.22 An employee shall be allowed rest periods each workday of fifteen (15) minutes for each four (4) hours worked. Rest period schedules shall be determined by the appropriate administrator in accordance with the operational needs of the department. Rest periods shall be counted towards hours worked. When an employee is required to perform duties during a scheduled rest period, the appropriate administrator shall endeavor to reschedule the rest period for that workday. Rest period time not taken shall not be cumulative.

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