State Budget

State Budget

Part of Brown Act Suspended; Guv’s Initiative Contains Clause on Removing Reimbursements

In the past few years the state has threatened to suspend provisions of the Brown Act that require local governments to be reimbursed for enforcing the open meetings law. Notably the state already owes local governments millions of dollars for enacting the state mandate, and while in the past it has backed away from completely wiggling its way out of payments, that is no longer the case under the recently passed state budget.

The New Normal: Surge of Bankruptcies a Path Toward More Emergency Financial Managers?

What is the fate of municipal authorioty if a surge of distressed local governments makes bankruptcy the new normal? It’s worth considering whether the current state of affairs will lead more states in the future to take the same route as Michigan and appoint emergency financial managers in order to have expanded control over local governments facing severe budget woes.

Dueling over Changes to Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act

The San Francisco Chronicle is featuring dueling op-eds on Proposition 63, the ballot measure that voters approved in 2004 in order to increase funding, personnel and other resources to support county mental health programs.

Cash Update: State Controller Releases Latest Monthly Report; Revenues Above Projections

State Controller John Chiang is reporting that the state took in $247 million more than projected during the month of June, due in large part to personal income taxes, which rose $496.3 million above (7.7 percent) projections. The latest monthly report covers California's cash balance, receipts and disbursements in June and for the complete 2011-2012 fiscal year. Chiang notes that California ended the 2011-12 fiscal year with $87.8 billion in receipts and $89.2 billion in disbursements, but that shortfall was $1 billion lower than projected.

California State Parks Find a Reprieve; Nearly All Locations Stave Off Closure

Last June, many of the state’s beloved parks were given a grim fate when the state budget outlined the closure of 70 state parks due to a lack of funds. However, over the course of the last year and in a race against the clock, bit by bit the number of parks slated to shutter was reduced thanks to the efforts of lawmakers, non-profits, donors, foundations, the Park Service and localities who stepped up to the plate to prevent July 1, 2012 closures. It’s now being reported that nearly all of those 70 parks will remain open---at least for the time being.

CSAC Applauds State Budget’s Preservation of $250 million in Property Taxes for Counties

The pieces necessary to patch up the $92 billion budget plan were forged together in the days following the June 15th deadline as the Governor and Democratic leaders came to an agreement on the terms of the remaining trailer bills. Key details include eliminating $400 million from the Cal-Works program, fewer Cal Grants, and cuts to childcare assistance. And lest we forget, the spending plan relies on voters approving the governor’s tax initiative under the threat that failure to pass will result in $6 billion in cuts to education.

Moody's Slashes CA Tax-Allocation Bonds to Junk; Cite Santa Clara’s Dispute w/ San Jose

A spokesman for the California Treasurer recently blasted the decision by Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade all California tax allocation bonds. The debt, which is tied to the state’s former redevelopment agencies, has been cut to junk and Moody’s cited the uncertainty of cash flow and ambiguities in the law as the rationale. While the Treasurer’s spokesman called the downgrade “wholly unwarranted” because no bondholder has failed to receive payment as a result of the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, Moody’s report states the following:

Downsizing Begins: LA County Court System Implements Massive Cutbacks; Slash Pay

Several months ago major reductions were deemed “the new normal” for California’s trial courts and that reality was apparent on Friday for the LA County court system, as nearly one in every 10 employees is expected to be impacted by cutbacks. Under the changes just implemented, 157 people are being laid off and 108 employees will lose 40 percent of their salaries. In addition, 86 different workers will lose between 5 percent and 40 percent of their salaries when they are reclassified to lower-level positions.

Not Out of the Woods: Controller Emphasizes Importance of June Revenue in May Cash Update

State Controller John Chiang hyped the importance of June’s state revenues in his latest cash update by commenting that “June revenues are the ones to watch. The last month of the fiscal year is now the biggest, and will signal how well the 2012-13 budget gets out of the gate.” While revenue was $83.5 million above budget estimates in May, "the General Fund is not out of the woods," according to Chiang.

Are Local Govts Losing Authority to Sts? Survey Gathers Perceptions of County/City Officials

How has the balance of state and local power shifted in the past decade? Has the discretionary authority and power of local governments diminished? These are the questions that government scholars Ann Bowman of Texas A&M and Richard Kearney of North Carolina State sought to understand and they are set to publish their results in an upcoming issue of Urban Affairs Review.

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