By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
February 28, 2012
Reporting from Washington -- The governor of the largest state in the nation flew Southwest Airlines last week to get to meetings at the White House and a conference of his counterparts from around the country.
He stayed at the home of a former aide rather than take a $350-a-night room at the Marriott Hotel, where the National Governors Assn. convened. While other leaders were flanked by security staffs with wires on their ears and pins on their lapels, Jerry Brown traveled with his wife, two aides and a lone CHP officer.
Still, one aide to a prominent East Coast governor gushed as the minimalist entourage passed by, Brown remains "kind of a rock star."
Read the entire article here.
By Steven Harmon Bay Area News Group
SACRAMENTO -- Early contributions to Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative show a wide span of interests are beginning to line up behind it.
In the past two weeks, two business groups -- the Occidental Petroleum Corporation and the American Beverage Association -- pitched in $250,000 apiece to his ballot committee, Californians to Protect Schools, Universities and Public Safety.
The governor has raised $1.7 million as his campaign begins to collect signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot, according to campaign finance reports released Tuesday. No committee has yet been formed to oppose the tax measure.
Gaining the support of business alongside Democrats' traditional labor allies appears to be a key to the governor's strategy, analysts say. The measure would raise about $7 billion by increasing the sales tax by a half-cent and income tax on individuals who make $250,000 or more a year.
Read the entire article here.
Steve Harmon - San Jose Mercury News
SACRAMENTO -- The two sides of Gov. Jerry Brown's political persona have come into clear view this month. Two weeks ago, it was the austere and pragmatic Brown, as he released his slash-away state budget.
But on Wednesday, during his State of the State address in the Assembly chamber, he gave a glimpse of his idealistic, visionary side, providing a full-throated defense of California's high-speed rail plan despite the pummeling it's taken in recent months.
Brown took on critics in his most forceful language to date, noting that naysayers have been wrong about some of the great infrastructure projects of the past.Read more
By Larry Gerston - NBC Bay Area
While Jerry Brown's 2012-2013 budget proposal has grabbed the headlines, another series of proposals has the potential for moving the state in a more efficient direction.
The governor has issued a twelve-page document that advocates reducing the number of state agencies to 10 from the present 12 and eliminating 39 departments, commissions or programs. Some would be folded into existing arrangements, while others would be abolished altogether.
These changes could go a long way toward making California less susceptible to bureaucratic overlap and less vulnerable to the various private interests that seek to penetrate these institutions for their own gains.
Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Sacramento -- - A strong majority of Californians support Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to raise the sales tax and income taxes on high earners to help close the state's budget deficit, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California poll.
The poll - an early measurement of a proposal that has far to go until voters can weigh in in November - found that 65 percent of all adults surveyed support his plan, which would increase the sales tax by a half cent and raise taxes on high-income earners, starting with individuals who make more than $250,000 per year.
The poll also found deep concern among state voters about further cuts to K-12 public education and that Californians see their local government services as significantly impacted by multiple years of state budget cuts as lawmakers and the governor have struggled to balance the budget.
These findings come as the Brown administration will announce today what automatic midyear budget cuts will be implemented.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/12/BASB1MBGSM.DTL#ixzz1gXldOpKI
A PDF of the letter can be found here.
When I became Governor again -- 28 years after my last term ended in 1983 -- California was facing a $26.6 billion budget deficit. It was the result of years of failing to match spending with tax revenues as budget gimmicks instead of honest budgeting became the norm.Read more
12-point proposal raises retirement age for public employees, ends system-wide abuses and cuts costs for taxpayers by billions
SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proposed 12 major reforms for state and local pension systems that would end system-wide abuses and reduce taxpayer costs by billions of dollars over the long term.
“It’s time to fix our pension systems so that they are fair and sustainable over a long time horizon,” said Governor Brown. “My plan raises the retirement age and bans abusive practices like ‘spiking’ and ‘air time’ while mandating that public employees pay an equal share of pension costs.”
The Governor’s 12-point plan addresses key issues affecting pensions in state and local governments. He initially outlined a pension reform plan during budget negotiations in March 2011.
When fully implemented, these reforms will cut roughly in half the cost to taxpayers for providing pension benefits for state employees. It will cut the risk to taxpayers for pension debt by more than half. Similar savings are expected across all systems.
“I look forward to working with the legislature to enact these major reforms,” said Governor Brown.
The Governor's Plan can be found here (PDF).
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Governor-Elect Jerry Brown
Today in Los Angeles, Governor-Elect Jerry Brown hosted another in a series of budget updates. Today's forum focused on education.
Here are the slides from today's presentations:
Sacramento Bee AM Alert
UPDATE - the slides from today's forum are linked below:
You can watch the forum on the California Channel here: https://www.calchannel.com/channel/viewvideo/1914
Gov.-elect Jerry Brown hosts a gathering of state lawmakers today to jump-start the discussion on the bad budget situation they will inherit when he takes office early next month.Read more