California Legislature Budget Update

This is posted courtesy of Kathy Lynch of Lynch & Associates.

THE 2011-12 LEGISLATURE CONVENES TO HISTORIC BUDGET DEFICIT IN THE BLUEST OF STATES

The 2011-12 Legislature convened Monday, December 6th to begin a new legislative two-year cycle. The 120-member Legislature includes 38 legislators taking new seats. The Assembly is comprised of 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans, and the Senate has 24 Democrats and 14 Republicans. For a list of current Assembly members with contact information, visit http://www.assembly.ca.gov/clerk/MEMBERINFORMATION/memberdir_1.asp. For a list of current Senate members with contact information, visit http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/sen-addresses.html.

The victory of Attorney General Elect Kamala Harris, after a close contest that was decided long after election day, created a Democratic sweep of all constitutional offices and the Legislature. This bucks a national trend and is the first time since the 1930s that Democrats have total party dominance of state government. — Kathryn Lynch, Lynch and Associates


SPECIAL SESSION CALLED TO DEAL WITH FISCAL EMERGENCY

Governor Schwarzenegger called the Legislature into special session Monday shortly after they were sworn into office and asked them not to delay in closing a current year budget gap of $6.1 billion. There is $25.4 billion deficit projected for the next year and a half. In outlining his budget proposal the governor indicates this cannot wait until a new governor arrives in January as we are losing money every day we wait. For the governor’s special session budget plan and his proclamation calling the special session, see http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/print-version/press-release/16664/. For additional information about the special session, visit http://www.dof.ca.gov/budget/historical/2010-11/documents/2010-11_SS_Budget_WEB.pdf.

Proposition 58, adopted in 2004, authorizes a governor to declare a fiscal emergency and call a special session which runs for 45 days. This will transfer into a new administration when Governor Elect Brown takes office on January 3, 2011. The proposition was not clear on whether a new governor has to continue the session.

Democratic legislators have publicly stated they are not anxious to make the cuts proposed by the current governor and want to wait and see what the new governor offers for budget solutions.

Governor Elect Brown, who has been quiet since the election, held a historic summit yesterday. He met with lawmakers, local government officials and budget experts to better understand our situation and options. He plans to hold similar forums with the public. Information will be available on his web site: http://www.jerrybrown.org/press. For information (including graphs) about the budget process and how the state budget is allocated, please see http://www2.ocregister.com/multimedia/calbudget/.  — Kathryn Lynch, Lynch and Associates



WHILE THE STATE BECAME THE BLUEST IN THIS ELECTION, A REDISTRICTING PANEL IS POISED TO CHANGE THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

Back in 2008 voters approved Proposition 11 which redraws district lines for congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization districts. That 14 member panel is set to begin its task to redraw decade-long district lines for California. The Legislature had that responsibility prior to the passage of the proposition and got the attention of the public when they protected officials in both parties and created a political environment that was less that competitive.

The eight member panel is culling through over 30,000 applicants. The final panel must consist of five Democrats, five Republicans and four Independent voters.

They must have approved maps in place by August 15, 2011. Politicians at all levels of government will be watching closely as this panel does its work and determines the political landscape for California. This effort will be monitored closely as it’s a unique approach to redistricting that does not exist in other states (except Arizona), and it will have impact on the national political scene as well. For more information about this panel and its mission, please visit the following web site: http://www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov/application.html— Kathryn Lynch, Lynch and Associates


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