Jerry Brown twists out ‘pretzel palace’ budget

May 14, 2012

By Katy Grimes

SACRAMENTO–Setting the stage for the Legislature to pass another phony majority vote budget, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown presented a bleak picture of the state’s finances today during his May Budget Revision conference, and then challenged the press to come up with a better plan.

Despite his repeated claims that he was increasing austerity by calling for higher taxes, cuts to health and welfare programs, as well as a 5 percent furlough cut to state employees, Brown’s budget cuts will still not spare taxpayers.

The governor reported that California’s budget deficit has grown to nearly $16 billion, shockingly higher than the apparent guesstimates of $9 billion in January.

“The May Revision is based on the assumed passage of the Governor’s tax initiative,” the plan from the Department of Finance said. “The Governor’s proposal “temporarily increases tax rates on the highest income Californians, and temporarily increases the Sales and Use Tax rate by 0.25 percent,” resulting in the anticipated $8.5 billion in additional tax revenue to the state coffers.

And if you believe that the taxes are temporary, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Tax the millionaires… I mean the ‘affluent’

“Please increase taxes on the most affluent,” Brown asked. “It’s reasonable and fair.”
What is not fair or even reasonable is that the voters have not been participants to the historic spending by the state. The increased spending and budget deficits, according to Brown, has gone on since Earl Warren was governor (1943-1953). The deficit spending is largely spent on welfare programs, including education welfare give-aways, and on growing state employee pensions.

The revised budget includes a $91.4 billion general fund spending plan, a one-time infusion of funds from the multi-state mortgage abuse settlement with large banks, Brown’s November tax initiative and more cuts.

Total spending in the state budget is $4.6 billion more than Brown’s January budget proposal, leaving many to ask if Brown’s call for more taxes is just to be able to continue increasing state spending.

“The budget is a pretzel palace of complexity.” Brown said.

Brown posted a youtube video over the weekend and said that the budget he signed last year was an improvement in ending budget deficits. But it still was dramatically unbalanced by $4.6 billion. “By the time I leave here, California’s budget will be balanced and the state will be back on road to prosperity,” Brown insisted. “I am a buoyant optimist.”

The tail is wagging the dog

Last week, the Sacramento Bee reported that SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker said she had been in talks with Brown about the revised budget, and refused to agree to state worker furloughs.

Walker published a memo about the upcoming budget revise, as well as her demands for state workers. “Under the previous governor, our input was not sought, in fact, it was dismissed. Under Gov. Brown, we have a seat at the table,” Walker’s memo stated. “We have offered our own proposals to deal with this crisis.”

Walker specifically recommended cutting private vendor contracts, eliminating the use of retired annuitants and, only if necessary, implementing a four-day, 40-hour work week.

Walker’s recommendations are coincidentally what Brown proposed in his May Revise budget.
However, Brown said he will ask state employees to work four days a week, 9.5-hour shifts for a weekly total of 38 hours. This recommendation will undoubtedly be challenged by the state’s labor unions.

The dog is wagging the tail

The governor said that, if his tax initiative is not approved in November, K-12 schools and community colleges would be cut by $5.5 billion.

“Schools will suffer,” said Brown.

The University of California and California State University systems would split another $500 million cut–$50 million less than Brown proposed in his January budget.

The one positive cut in Brown’s revised budget is the proposed cuts to Cal Grants, which would result in the imposition of tighter high school graduation requirements and more stringent proof of family income.

Cuts to the Courts

California courts are already burdened with a crumbling infrastructure. Brown’s revised budget will make this worse. He proposed cutting $544 million from the state’s trial courts, $300 million from their reserves and $240 million by further delaying court construction.

This is bad news for the overburdened court system, which has already delayed the construction of several much-needed courthouses, as well as decades of deferred maintenance.

Brown also proposed increasing court employee retirement contributions from 5 percent to 8 percent.

And Brown is asking for another cut to In-Home Supportive Services, and further cuts to Medi-Cal hospitals and nursing homes.

Responses to the May Budget Revision

“Tax revenue is up two years in a row, but not enough to satisfy the spending demands of Sacramento Democrats,” retorted Assembly Republicans. “It will be interesting to see if the liberal majority in the Legislature accept the Governor’s cuts, or reject them as they did earlier this year when they blocked the Governor’s health and welfare reforms and grew spending by $1 billion,” wrote Assembly Minority leader Connie Conway, R-Visalia, and Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Biggs.

However, there was no acknowledgment by the governor of the steady exodus from California over the last 20 years, resulting in the substantial loss of tax revenues. Four million taxpaying residents have left the state in search of less government intrusion, fewer regulations and lower taxes.

“Our government is not structured to quickly and effectively respond to an economic crisis of this magnitude,” said Sen. Pres. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.
”We are so balkanized that the people don’t know who collects the taxes and who provides the services.”

Steinberg also admitted that “the share of corporate income tax paid in California has fallen by nearly half since 1981. Personal consumption in California has fallen by the largest percentage since 1980,” Steinberg said.

“Amazingly, a year and a half into Brown’s governorship and we still hear nothing of the unemployed,” said California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro. “California will continue to face chronic budget deficits because so many people remain out of work; the conversation about revenues should always begin with how to restore jobs. So many people are wondering when Brown will offer plans to make California competitive, so that business will return to this state and bring jobs with them.”

Before the ink was even dry on the Governor’s speech, California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski called for a review of corporate tax breaks. Calling for voters to approve Gov. Brown’s tax initiative in November, Pulaski said, “The state has to eliminate the maze of loopholes, carve-outs and tax-dodges that corporate lobbyists have written into law over the years…”

“It’s high time that our system reflects the interests of middle-class Californians, not the special interests of corporate CEOs and their lobbyists,” Pulaski said. But he said nothing about the special interests of union lobbyists, union attorneys and union politicians.

It is hard not to ask if Brown’s tax increases will force more to exit the state and further deplete California of tax revenues, especially whe California tax increases take hold, and federal tax cuts expire.

One Twitter follower asked, “Is this the perfect storm for financial ruin?”

The elephant in the room looms large: Is California hoping for a bailout? Are we too big to fail? Some say that $5 trillion in new debt under Brown’s turn as governor makes a bailout impossible, leaving only tax and fee increases.

The exodus of 4 million California residents in the last 20 years will continue to rise commensurately with higher taxes, until only state workers and welfare recipients are left.

Brown said the state and the nation has been living beyond its means. “There has to be a balance and a day of reckoning,” Brown said. “This is the day of reckoning…We have to take our medicine.”

“What government does is good,” Brown said. “I did my best.”


Write a comment
    NTHEOC 14 May, 2012, 17:23

    then challenged the press to come up with a better plan.
    Well do you have a better plan katy? Please enlighten us with your solution.

    Reply this comment
  2. Bob
    Bob 14 May, 2012, 19:14

    I suggest Brownie get in touch with George Clooney.

    I understand George is very good at raising money for political hacks and flim flam artists.

    Perhaps he can have even bigger success raising money for the state gummit.

    Reply this comment
  3. Bob
    Bob 14 May, 2012, 19:19

    Dang, tonight on the evening propaganda…er…sorry…I mean nightly news…little Lyin Williams made it sound like Colliefornia (as Ahnode sez) will be worse than 3rd world status if Brownie doesn’t get his way.

    But whatever happens have no fear because there will be pleny of money for highspeed trains to nowhere and tuition for illegal aliens, comprehende gringos?

    Reply this comment
  4. ECK
    ECK 14 May, 2012, 19:23

    OK, we’ve got a large, increasing deficit. And, OK, tax revenue is up. What I’d like to know is what the outgo (spending) has been doing. Isuspect it’s been soaring. Anybody point me to where I can get that info?

    Reply this comment
  5. Bob
    Bob 14 May, 2012, 19:23

    I must apologize. I’ve been too hard on our state leaders and far too gloomy.

    After all, with Jerry, Darrell and John Perez in charge and with the voters who put them in office headed to the polls what could possibly go wrong?

    Reply this comment
  6. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 14 May, 2012, 19:36

    ECK – Your proof that spending is up is Brown’s revised budget, and the General Fund increased from $84 billion to more than $91 billion – and that’s only what they admit.


    Reply this comment
  7. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 14 May, 2012, 20:34

    and then challenged the press to come up with a better plan.

    #1 cut cash pay by 10% for all employees at $50K-$100K, 25% for those at $100K or over

    #2 set retirement at age 67 like SS

    #3 freeze hiring and salary at current levels for 5 years

    Reply this comment
  8. Ted Steele
    Ted Steele 14 May, 2012, 21:02

    I like The Gov’s plan and as polled so do most of us! It spreads the pain and puts a realistic view on revenue out there. I think the Gov is painting some real light at the end of the tunnel and I will be working to see the temp revenue plan pases. Why on earth give the 250k plus crowd a table pass?????? Go Jerry!!!

    Reply this comment
  9. Ted Steele
    Ted Steele 14 May, 2012, 21:16

    …and thank the Lord that Calif. voters were wise enough to reelect such a wise experienced Governor. If we had elected some rookie God knows where we would be with this inherited fiscal mess!

    Reply this comment
  10. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 14 May, 2012, 21:27

    Don’t you remember when these clods applauded Prop 25 – the balanced budget amendment!! HAH!!! Gov Clown and his cronies told us the system couldn’t be gamed any longer. They told us that the legislature were mandated to submit a balanced budget on time or face big pay cuts!!! HAH! And look at the balance budget they handed us!!! A $16B deficit likely to grow even larger!!! HAH! 😀 Miserable incompetent buffoons!!! Gov Clown couldn’t estimate how many eggs there are in a dozen!!! HAH! 😀 And now we are slipsliding right back into the financial sink hole – something that Gov Clown pledged he wouldn’t let happen!!! HAH! I despise these liars and frauds. You can trust NOTHING they say!!! NOTHING!!! VOTE DOWN ALL HIGHER TAXES!!! MAKE THESE FRAUDS AND LIARS EAT SOME OF THEIR OWN COOKING!!! HAH! EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH TURNS TO MANURE!!! 🙁

    Reply this comment
  11. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 14 May, 2012, 23:09

    Dear, dear, dear Ted, what are we to do with someone so cravenly sycophantic and terminally credulous. If only we could whisk you away to some charming barb wire wrapped re-education camp. There we could take your eyeglasses away and burn all your books (you do read don’t you Ted?). Then we could make you wear a Chairman Mao suit and toil in the rice fields all day long under the blistering sun with no water and just a tiny little bowl of fetid rice. Each night we could harangue you with readings from The Chairmans little red book. Each night you could cry yourself to sleep wondering what misery tomorrow might bring. Oh wait, wrong fantasy, thats what your side does.

    Reply this comment
  12. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 14 May, 2012, 23:32

    Dys, don’t get Teddy excited with your proletariat fantasies. He won’t be able to go to sleep tonight. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  13. cacheguy
    cacheguy 15 May, 2012, 06:43

    “The state has to eliminate the maze of loopholes, carve-outs and tax-dodges that corporate lobbyists have written into law over the years…”

    Typical Democrat response….blame someone else, the lobbyists, for the laws our legislature passed. Sure the lobbyists promoted tax breaks but the California legislature put them into effect by voting for them and then they deny responsibility.

    We will never solve California’s problems if we pass a tax increase of any kind. We have to force the issue by not “feeding the beast”.

    Reply this comment
  14. Ted Steele
    Ted Steele 15 May, 2012, 06:48

    I sleep soooooo well lads.

    I have killed more communists than you will ever meet.

    Terminally credible? Why yes, probably.

    Socialism is bad. Well….ah……er…….except fot the monolithic social security system.

    oh……and oil, gas and farm subsidies.

    oh…and….etc etc etc

    Do you long for Arnold?

    He was great wasn’t he?

    Reply this comment
  15. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 15 May, 2012, 07:10

    Taxes could pass….too many goodies to lose. But how many people making over 250k are out there?

    Reply this comment
  16. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 15 May, 2012, 08:34

    Taxes could pass….too many goodies to lose

    No way, too much $$$ to lose………….

    Reply this comment
  17. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 15 May, 2012, 08:52

    “Typical Democrat response….blame someone else, the lobbyists, for the laws our legislature passed. Sure the lobbyists promoted tax breaks but the California legislature put them into effect by voting for them and then they deny responsibility”

    The lobbyists and the pols are EQUALLY to blame.

    When a bribe is consummated it takes a briber and a bribee. You cannot say that one is worse than the other. Both are despicable. And both are equally accountable for bringing the state to it’s knees.

    Reply this comment
  18. Tom in SoCal
    Tom in SoCal 15 May, 2012, 09:57

    There will be less of them if these tax increases keep happening. How many will say enough is enough and move to another state. Quite a few I estimate.

    Reply this comment
  19. Realitycheck
    Realitycheck 15 May, 2012, 10:05

    Republican Assemblymembers Connie Conway and Jim Nielson did not have the leadership guts to vote the end of Redevelopment Agencies! But hey who is keeping them honest?

    Reply this comment
  20. bbmak
    bbmak 15 May, 2012, 10:11

    For the propagandist left, eviscerating education makes total sense. Keep ’em stupid so they have no idea what the issues are, but will vote based on the best produced advertising campaign. Where are the cuts to bloated pensions, prisons, illegal immigrants, LBGT programs, overlapping state agencies & management boards, etc? Do you see them?

    Yes, and tax the rich – the most empowered group to vote with their feet. Great thinking, Moonbeam. Glad to see you’re back.

    Reply this comment
  21. hondo
    hondo 15 May, 2012, 11:44

    The CEO of Facebook is looking to get tens of billions of dollars with the sale of the IPO. Him alone could balance the budget out of his back pocket. As could Bill Gates. And what about Warren Buffet. Those three liberals could, with the small change on their desk tops, could balance Kali’s budget.
    But apparently they want OTHER rich guys to pay the bill.

    Reply this comment
  22. Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer
    Ted Steele-- Poodle slayer 15 May, 2012, 11:47

    Yeah— Hondo is right— This is all Buffett’s fault !!!

    Reply this comment
  23. Dave Francis
    Dave Francis 15 May, 2012, 14:42


    California has been hit a hard financial blow, because of its Liberal state capitol is genuflecting to the illegal alien invasion, carrying a cost of $16 billion dollars with no end in sight. California insists more money from taxes, as they are in serious trouble with their welfare issues, with Billions of dollars going towards illegal alien schooling, health care and the population of prison inmates. Immigration is the primary reason California has become the least-educated state considered in terms of the share of workers with less than a high school education. The state ranked 35th in terms of the share of its 19-year-olds who have graduated high school. The large share of California adults who have very little education are likely to necessitate welfare services and making it challenging for the state to create sufficient tax revenue, to encompass the demands for services made by its large unskilled population. THE NATIONAL PRESS REMAINS SILENT ABOUT THE ILLEGAL ALIEN WELFARE PROBLEM THAT IS DRAINING PART OF CALIFORNIA’S 16 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT.

    If no other law is passed by the Government, mandatory (E-verify H.R. 2885) needs to be the policy of this country? If E-Verify is enacted the mass exodus of millions of foreign nationals will begin, as they will be unable to find a job and it will discourage the annual influx of more foreigners into the country. Both political parties have done nothing about this unlawful epidemic, as the Democrats expect blocs of minority voters-Whether a citizen or not makes no difference to them. Republicans just want to exploit the cheap labor for their big corporate campaign contributors. POLITICS IS ABOUT MONEY, INFLUENCE AND POWER—NOTHING MORE? ITS JUST PLAIN UNADULTERATED GREED? Our country is so divided; brain washed by the left and illegal immigration has caused this massive spreading abyss. The agendas are so irreparable that the government has turned on its own people, as we have seen with Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, South Carolina and others waiting for court outcomes. Our nation has turned into a welfare state for foreign countries own populace.

    Each year, according to the Edwin Rubenstein report, illegal aliens cost American taxpayers $346 billion across 15 federal agencies. (Online: TheSocialContract) That includes breakfasts and lunches for their children; it includes English as a Second Language. It includes free education from K-12. It means free and unconstrained medical care paid for by your billfold or purse. It means you pay for the insurance rates by unlicensed drivers. Illegal migrants and immigrants are worked at a third the wages and frequently, under the table. Not only do our kids not have jobs; you’re paying taxes for illegal aliens who are not paying taxes.

    Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich With the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year, this doesn’t cover the billions in education costs; and doesn’t include the billions more in education. California, the epitome of a Sanctuary state will be the leader as millions of illegal aliens fleeing aliens arrive there, from less benevolent states? Unfortunately left wing Governor Jerry (moonbeam) Brown is now preaching more taxes, cuts in benefits—when removing the millions of foreign national could save the state. Not state, not county but a federal law that will stop this theft of American jobs. Unscrupulous employers need to be held accountable and harshly find and sentenced to prison. Rather than go into the details about the taxpayers ripped off, judge for yourself by going to NumbersUSA and American Patrol websites.

    Also the most costly payout from taxpayers is the children that are slipped in by visitors from other countries or across our poorly enforced fence at the border that are eligible to become citizens, which promotes massive chain migration and enables parents to settle here. Over 400 thousand are estimated to take advantage of this misinterpreted law, again costing genuine Americans welfare programs. The birthright citizenship law must be amended, so only children with one citizen parent allows this right. Don’t remain blind to the profiteers in Washington and demand they enforce immigration laws. Because of this fiasco of our Immigration laws business owners are directly responsible for the growing amount of $113 Billion dollars in public welfare programs.

    Another piece of mind boggling piece of information that Americans pay $27 billion providing forms, ballots, interpreters and brochures for 149 languages yearly.

    One out of two adult African-Americans in New York are jobless. African-American children’s impoverishment has grown by 50 % since 1999. Parents of these kids cannot find a job; large numbers taken by foreigners as cheaper labor.

    American females have to put their children in daycare just to make ends meet. Schools are so cramped in states with illegal foreign children; nobody is learning hardly anything anymore as teachers are forced to give more attention to non English speakers. American born and legal resident kids cannot get temporary work anymore, as they have been displaced by cheap illegal labor.

    According to the Heritage Foundation if Democrats get their way, we would be adding a further 2.6 Trillion dollars to the already accelerating 15.6 Trillion dollars if an amnesty is imposed. Both political parties are responsible for this parasitic invasion, which is catering to any of the 20 million plus illegal aliens already here. Even while they are stealing us blind of our own impoverished, our own sick and homeless, they are stealing another $4.2 billion dollars from taxpayers through the incompetence of the IRS, who would audit American for exaggerating on the business car mileage. Even illogical to this is that illegal aliens are allowed to wire out of America annually over $40 billion dollars to foreign banks not being absorbed back into the economy. Our country has been neglected for years, occupied by illegal immigrants and hordes of criminals. Mitt Romney better not turn on the massive TEA PARTY on this issue, or they will realize he cannot be trusted. Americans haven’t learned that you cannot get something for nothing. Half of this country’s population, live off the other half’s income and that is why our social safety nets are failing. The last realistic chance we have of getting out of our financial mess is to remove the old members of Congress and state capitals, with Tea Party leaders. It happened in Indiana when Senator Richard Lugar was retired, replaced by a Tea Party lawmaker.

    Reply this comment
  24. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 15 May, 2012, 16:07

    Hold on there. You best give us a diatribe on Tony Villarahtaxya..your piece incomplete.

    Reply this comment
  25. RealityCheck
    RealityCheck 15 May, 2012, 17:52

    Hey what ‘entreprenuers’ hire illegal workers? Not me can’t even spell it. Republican farmers, wineries, construction, chain resturants, Chipolte for example, reason: consumers expects Mexican ambience.

    Demos anf Republicans havd a deal, one party gets more voters the other gets to send the bill for social welfare costs to us.
    Just like TARP.

    By the way I am here legally and I am not happy with the education my kids got from the incompetent teachers that could not pass the now required CBEST test. Luckily, I am smarter with the grandkids: intradistrict transfer to a performing school.

    Bellyaching, hmm, like Kaiser assuming I was illegal. My husband -not an illegal- paid for insurance so the whiners could mistreat me. My kids designated ESL because I checked the box I can speak Spanish, but guess what? My kids do not and no not spoken at home. I use it during travel and reading historical documents.

    Look to the source of the problem, bashing all Mexican looking people not productive. It is a just a “Tim Donnelly” move to get you chasing a dog that don’t hunt.

    Reply this comment
  26. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 15 May, 2012, 21:00

    Dave Francis, quite a diatribe there. You make me look like a deaf/mute.

    Listen Dave, their plan is to flood the nation with cheap labor and ignorant, poor, uneducated and obedient people who are easily controlled. If Obama is reelected he will through his executive powers grant them all amnesty. Effectively they are destroying the nation that we grew up in. The plan is the design of the oligarchs who want a distribution of income like they have in Mexico where 99% of the wealth is owned by 1% of the population. We are getting closer. Currently if you add in all the corporate wealth – 90% of America’s wealth is owned by 10% of the population. It all has to do with money, power and control, Dave. Can we stop it??? Sure. But it would be a very very messy ordeal. I don’t think the American people are up to it. I guess they prefer to remain in the pot of water on the stove that has been turned up a couple notches in the last few years. But I understand what you are saying. And you are correct. You’re not nuts. Don’t look for the media to help you. The media is totally owned by the oligarchs. That’s been made crystal clear across the board.

    Reply this comment
  27. RealityCheck
    RealityCheck 15 May, 2012, 21:33

    Hey now, moderator get to work. I posted hours ago Beeze a mere 30 minutes ago…

    Reply this comment
    • CalWatchdog
      CalWatchdog Author 15 May, 2012, 23:45


      Here’s the Reality: Please indulge us. Some commentators are approved automatically because they have posted many times. New commentators must first be approved manually. We only have a shoestring staff, so we do things as fast as we can.

      — John Seiler

      Reply this comment
  28. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 15 May, 2012, 21:40

    Listen Dave, their plan is to flood the nation with cheap labor and ignorant, poor, uneducated and obedient people who are easily controlled.

    OMG, an entire NATION of Teddy Steals, what will we do 😉

    Reply this comment
  29. Ted Steele
    Ted Steele 15 May, 2012, 21:41

    Dave F– right on!!

    Reply this comment
  30. Ted Steele
    Ted Steele 15 May, 2012, 21:42

    poooooor poodle boi !!! LOL

    Who read Dave’s post to him??

    Reply this comment
  31. Ian Random
    Ian Random 16 May, 2012, 10:12

    I agree with Paul Krugman that Proposition 13 was bad. Instead of limiting taxes, they should have limited spending with something like TABOR in Colorado.

    Reply this comment
  32. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 16 May, 2012, 11:22

    “I agree with Paul Krugman that Proposition 13 was bad”

    So you agree with booting old retired people from their life-long homes that they raised their families in because in their golden years they can’t pay the property taxes???


    Reply this comment
  33. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 16 May, 2012, 14:36

    I would say prop13 needs to be looked at and revamped,not so much in the housing area but look at how the corporations are finding loopholes and using them to their advantage!!

    Reply this comment
  34. Joseph Somsel
    Joseph Somsel 16 May, 2012, 16:36

    Here’s a way to save the state $400 million a year – abolish the California Energy Commission. They do about $3 million a year in real work, stuff that could be transferred to another agency (specifically facility permitting and data collection.)

    A problem is that that $400 million comes largely from our energy bills and is not in the general budget. So in the legislation to kill the CEC, keep the excise tax on energy but redirect it to the General Fund for 5 years.

    God’s in the details. We citizens can surely find other pointless agencies to “sunset” and save money.

    Reply this comment

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