CalWatchdog Morning Read – January 11

  • Brown budget projects deficit
  • CA Democrats spent $90 million on intra-party campaigns in 2016
  • San Diego settles public comment lawsuit
  • Donations from developers may be banned in L.A.
  • Zuckerberg brings in bipartisan political bigwigs

Good morning. Happy Hump Day! One word this morning: Budget. 

Gov. Jerry Brown preached prudence on Tuesday as he unveiled his 2017-18 state budget, proposing no new major spending programs while taking a wait-and-see approach to the incoming Trump administration, even as other prominent California Democrats brace for the unknown.

The budget showed a $2 billion deficit — modest by historical standards, but worthy of the lawmakers’ attention — caused by an increase in government programs over the last few years and lagging revenues.

Brown said he didn’t want to “repeat mistakes of the past,” recalling the days of the state’s budget crisis. The proposed budget showed approximately $8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund by the end of 2017-18, which is 63 percent of the constitutional target, which Brown said was bigger than it seemed as he called for greater savings now. 

Independent analysts, as well as Brown’s budget experts, have cautioned against the state’s over-dependence on the wealthiest residents to fund the government. Brown lauded the state’s “progressive” tax system, where people with the most pay the most. But he said it also requires prudence.

“It doesn’t make sense to pretend we have money when we really don’t,” Brown said. 

CalWatchdog has more.

In other news:

  • Politics: “A new report tallying the costs of running against members of your own party revealed that Golden State Democrats spent big in 2016 on races without a Republican. This year, ‘Democrats raised or spent a total of $90.8 million on same-party races — a 67 percent increase from 2014 when Democrats spent $54.3 million,’ according to the study.” CalWatchdog has more. 

  • Responsive Government: “San Diego is settling a lawsuit that accused the city of illegally limiting public comment at City Council meetings for at least 13 years.” The San Diego Union-Tribune has more. 

  • Campaign Finance: “Now a handful of Los Angeles lawmakers are calling for a ban on such donations from real estate developers, saying they want to counter the perception that money drives those decisions.” The Los Angeles Times has more. 

  • Tech: “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, are strengthening their political connections, at least when it comes to philanthropy. On Tuesday, the couple announced that two well-known political figures among both Democrats and Republicans will lead policy and advocacy efforts at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which they formed to fund philanthropic causes.” The San Jose Mercury News has more. 


  • Gone till Friday at 9 a.m.

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced. 

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