Thursday, July 30, 2009

VOILA...:)

http://web.mac.com/videopalitalia/iWeb/Site/Photos.html

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD PEOPLE TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY!

SUPERVISORS THREATEN STATE WITH LAWSUIT

The latest state budget proposal is called a "heist" and “morally bankrupt” by county officials who fear massive cuts.

Supervisors threaten state with lawsuit

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, smiles at Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, second from right and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, after emerging from his office to announce an agreement has been reached to solve California's budget problem.

By WIRE SERVICES

LOS ANGELES — Calling a plan to use local funds to balance the state’s budget a “scheme,” a “heist” and “morally bankrupt,” county supervisors agreed Tuesday to sue the state if that scenario becomes a reality.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky recommended that the county counsel be directed to file legal challenges to any action that extends the state’s redevelopment projects without a finding of blight or any withholding of Highway User Tax Account funds.

“For the state to balance its budget on the backs of the state residents most in need of help, and the counties that serve them, is fiscally reckless and morally bankrupt,” Yaroslavsky said.

County staff acknowledged that the details of the state’s proposals were not clear, but the board’s action was intended to allow counsel to move immediately upon passage of legislation at the state level.

The board’s action anticipates that the current state budget proposal, if passed, would extend redevelopment projects in order to take property tax revenues that would otherwise be returned to local municipalities.

Yaroslavsky said such a move, which he called “unconstitutional,” could cost the county as much as $24 billion over the next 30 years — or an estimated $8.2 billion in value today.

The highway tax fund transfer would cost the county about $109 million this year and $82 million next year, according to staff estimates. Yaroslavsky called the potential taking of highway funds a “heist.”

Supervisor Gloria Molina suggested that political gamesmanship was at play in the state’s current proposal.

“I guess that they are waiting for us to file this lawsuit? Is that part of the game?” Molina asked, calling the state’s plan a “scheme.”

Supervisor Don Knabe said he thought that state officials hoped to trigger a “poison pill” as a result of a lawsuit by the county, which would allow the state to trigger a borrowing under 2004’s Proposition 1A and make the county “look like the bad guy.”

A borrowing under Prop. 1A would apparently allow the state to take local funds without representatives explicitly voting to do so.

The state’s potential moves to raid local funds to balance its budget are estimated to cost the county as much as $852.2 million. County officials stressed that the cuts would affect the county’s ability to deliver health, mental health, public safety and social services.

The proposals being considered in Sacramento would be on top of the $253.1 million the state cut from the county in February.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, conceded that the local cuts are painful, but the state had little choice.

“If you cannot raise revenue, the only way you can close the deficit is to cut or do borrowing,” Bass said. “The borrowing that we did on the local level, and I know it was very painful, but the borrowing that we are doing is short-term borrowing and we’re going to do an accelerated repayment. The fact of the matter is, if we’re not able to raise revenue, those are our only two choices. And the cuts we’ve made so far are very devastating.”

Bass noted that without the cuts, the state likely would have had to eliminate programs such as CalWORKS, and “those hit the counties as well and those would have been permanent reductions, and so we really didn’t have any good choices.”

H.D. Palmer of the state Department of Finance confirmed that all of the cuts are on the table as legislators try to close the state’s budget gap.

“Those proposals are under consideration. We’re forced to consider any number of difficult proposals,” Palmer said.

Antonovich said Monday that the state should eliminate wasteful departments and unneeded positions before raiding local funds.

The Legislature is leaving Los Angeles County in a position similar to what happens “after the parade, when we’re left with a shovel to clean up after the horses,” Antonovich said.

The board’s vote was 4-0. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas did not attend the meeting.

The state Legislature has yet to vote on the budget proposal reportedly hammered out Monday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the state Senate and Assembly.

Reductions from county programs being considered include:

• $109 million in fiscal year 2009-10 and $82 million in fiscal year 2010-11 reductions of the county’s share of gasoline tax revenues.

• $53.3 million reduction of projected CalWORKs Single Allocation funds.

• $22.1 million loss from the elimination of funding for the Substance Abuse Crime Prevention Act (Prop. 36) funds.

• $21 million loss from the elimination of funds for the Mental Health Managed Care Program.

• $12.4 million loss from the deferral of AB 3632 Program payments.

• $7.1 million loss from the reduction of Drug Medi-Cal Program Rates.

• And $5.7 million loss from the reduction of HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention Program funds.

State leaders are also considering the suspension of Prop. 1A, which would allow the state to borrow $1.98 billion from local governments, said Sharon Harper, chief deputy of the county’s chief executive office.

If enacted, she said, at least $301.9 million in county general fund property tax revenues would be at risk.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also lashed out at the proposed raiding of local funds.

“I think all of us are absolutely outraged that this Legislature, that Sacramento, has been unable to balance its budget to address the meltdown,” Villaraigosa told reporters.

He said the state could take nearly $300 million from the city’s already- strained coffers — including $120 million in gas tax revenue, $124 million in property tax revenue and $50 million in redevelopment funds.

Under Proposition 1A, if the state decides to borrow a portion of the city’s property tax revenues, it would have to pay the money back — with interest — over three years. However, the state is not obligated to reimburse the city for gas tax revenues.

“That is the kind of irresponsible legislating and budget decisions that I think all of us are outraged about,” Villaraigosa said.

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WE MUST SUE IN COURT THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOR FRAUD, CORRUPTION AND "MISAPPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS."

Photographs are courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

DISABLED PEOPLE IN WHEELCHAIRS HAVE BEEN "Thrown under the bus" by Arnold the Grubenator in the illegal line item veto of our very own California State budget.

ARNOLD "BABY" SPORTS A NEW SUIT AS WELL AS A 28% APPROVAL RATING AND I CAN ONLY GUESS WHAT KNUCKLEDRAGGERS ARE THAT 28%."
http://web.mac.com/videopalitalia/iWeb/Site/Photos.html

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD PEOPLE TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY!


THE 2009 DISAPPEARING ACT OF CALIFORNIA'S HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN, LIBRARIES, DISABLED PEOPLES, UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, HUMAN BEINGS WHO ARE DYING FROM AIDS, COLLEGE PROFESSORS, SEIU STATE EMPLOYEES, MEDICAL PATIENTS, THE DISENFRANCHISED, THE ELDERLY, MORE MEDICAL PATIENTS WHO HAVE LOST EYE AND DENTAL CARE, AND ANYONE IN THIS STATE WHO PAYS SALES TAX, PROPERTY TAX, EXISE OR SALES/USE TAX.

In the vernacular, we all got royally screwed by a vicious and deliberate illegal act by this lowly so-called Grubenator as well as the yellow-backed, spineless Republican and Democrat punks in Sacratomato.

SHAME ON YOU, Sacratomato!

THEY COULD NOT LEGISLATE THEIR WAY OUT OF A WET PAPER BAG...Wayne Dennis Kutyz.








Information

* Schwarzenegger calls special legislative sesson on taxes
* Interactive: Budget crisis timeline

Popular Comment
"Once a budget is SIGNED BY THE GOV. can the State legally issue IOUs? This is what such a lawsuit would answer by the courts. The fact that the State keeps issuing IOUs after the budget is sign shows that there is a major problem with the State's revenue and hence a cash flow problem. If the State Controller can steal your "unclaimed property" I guess it can also issue illegal IOUs to its state taxpayers also. Welcome to the Golden State."

-- sac41088
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Business owner sues over IOUs
ShareThis
Buzz up!
By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

A California vendor sued state officials Wednesday for paying bills with IOUs, calling the notes an unconstitutional dead weight on small businesses everywhere.

The lawsuit, filed one day after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new budget agreement, highlights California's continued cash problems.

Despite the budget deal, state Controller John Chiang will continue issuing IOUs to pay certain bills until he's convinced the state has sufficient cash, said his spokeswoman Hallye Jordan.

Since July 2, Chiang has disbursed more than 222,000 IOUs worth a combined $1.1 billion to vendors, taxpayers owed refunds and local governments that deliver social services with state dollars.

The lawsuit by Nancy Baird, who owns a small business in the San Luis Obispo area, seeks class-action status on behalf of all IOU recipients.

Baird received an IOU for $27,752.16 to pay for embroidered shirts she produced for a California National Guard youth camp. She is demanding that the state stop issuing IOUs and immediately redeem the notes issued so far.

The state has said it will redeem all IOUs by Oct. 2 at an annualized interest rate of 3.75 percent. Baird's suit, though, referred to her IOU as "a worthless piece of paper."

State officials shrugged off the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against Chiang and state Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Lockyer, said the treasurer "feels bad about the hardship" but said the IOUs "meet all legal and constitutional requirements."

Baird said she tried to cash her IOU with two banks but was turned away. Most major banks refused to honor the notes beyond a self-imposed July 10 deadline, despite attempts by Lockyer's office to persuade them to extend the deadline.

A loose-knit market for IOUs has emerged on the Internet and elsewhere, giving holders a place to cash in their notes at a discount.

The city of Sacramento set aside $10 million to buy IOUs at face value from city residents and businesses. On Wednesday it announced it has purchased $2.5 million in IOUs so far.
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Capitol Journal
Los Angeles Times
"I’m very disappointed. Let’s just put it that way. Now, when the state gets out of the red, we’ll just have to re-enact them somehow," said former state Sen. John Burton on the loss of annual cost-of-living adjustments to benefits.
George Skelton
Capitol Journal

Winners and losers in the budget battle

Keeping score requires specifying between short term and long term.
George Skelton, Capitol Journal
July 30, 2009
» Discuss Article From Sacramento -- Who are the winners of the California budget battle? Yes, there are some, even though there are many more losers.

Set aside individuals for a moment and assess victory and defeat by political ideology. Distinguish between short term and long term.

And include the entire multi-round fight over the newly balanced budget -- balanced for the moment on paper anyway -- starting with its unprecedented early enactment in February, its torpedoing by voters in May and recent painful repair.

Anti-tax conservatives clearly are winners because, in the May election, they scuttled two additional years of tax increases that would have raised $16 billion for the deficit-plagued general fund. But that's only a short-term win. In 2011, the next governor -- especially if that person's a Democrat -- can team up with a Democratic Legislature and perhaps reimpose those taxes.

Meanwhile, by fretting over the temporary tax increases, conservatives blew an opportunity to cement some long-sought spending controls into the state Constitution. The spending cap would have triggered the dreaded tax-hike extension.

Under Proposition 1A, spending growth would have been capped based on the previous 10 years' revenue trend. That could have been a fiscal conservative's dream because state revenue has been plummeting, down 13% in the last two years even with February's tax increases.

The liberal spending lobby -- labor unions, welfare activists -- feared the spending cap and fiercely fought it in an abnormal alliance with anti-tax conservatives. Since it's highly unlikely there'll ever again be as good a chance to enact state spending controls, this wound up a long-term win for the libs.

But liberals and their causes -- public employees, poor people, the disabled, schools -- now are taking a short-term pounding, not only because of the recession, but because the voters' rejection of three other ballot measures left the state $6-billion deeper in the hole.

That forced Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature to cut even more aggressively to resolve what ultimately became a $26-billion deficit.

Using the threat of still further draconian cuts as leverage, Schwarzenegger muscled in some controls on safety-net spending that no Democratic-dominated Legislature would ever have passed previously.

Politically, Schwarzenegger is a budget loser, based on a poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California. It shows only 29% of voters approving of his job performance, with 61% disapproving. A California governor's job rating hasn't been that low since Gray Davis was fighting his recall, says the pollster, Mark Baldassare.

The poll was taken before the governor and Legislature announced their tortured budget agreement.

Based on public policy, however, Schwarzenegger is a budget winner.

In a major blow to "auto-pilot" spending, he managed to permanently eliminate all automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments, except for education. Repealed were yearly 5% funding increases for state universities and inflationary hikes for welfare families and the aged, blind and disabled. That's projected to save $300 million this fiscal year and $4.2 billion through mid-2013.

Moreover, it represents a power shift from the Legislature to the governor because lawmakers in the future will have to pass a bill to grant a cost-of-living increase. Until now, a bill was needed to deny one.

I called former state Senate leader John Burton (D-San Francisco), the father of California's automatic safety-net adjustments. He finessed Gov. Ronald Reagan into enacting them nearly 40 years ago. Burton now is chairman of the state Democratic Party. I asked how he felt about Democratic legislators surrendering to the Republican governor and repealing the yearly benefit boosts.

"I'm very disappointed. Let's just put it that way," Burton said. "Now, when the state gets out of the red, we'll just have to reenact them somehow."

Any of the spending "reforms" Schwarzenegger won for Medi-Cal, CalWorks, In-Home Supportive Services -- programs for the poor and disabled -- could prove to be only short-term victories, depending on the next governor. Same for the boards and commissions he consolidated in an attack on "waste and redundancies." But for this governor, they achieved a long-time goal.

"I mean, this is huge," he told me after signing the budget fix Tuesday. "We used this crisis as a great opportunity."

But there also were the "bad and the ugly" cuts he had to make, especially in children's healthcare.

One loser, at least within the governor's office, was new Assembly Republican leader Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo. Blakeslee and other legislative leaders agreed with Schwarzenegger to seize $1 billion in gas tax money from local governments. But then Blakeslee failed to deliver the Assembly Republican votes.

The gas tax bill was dropped, forcing the governor to make an additional $489 million in "ugly" cuts himself before signing the revised budget. "A terrible situation," Schwarzenegger said. "I had sleepless nights over that."

So is anyone scared yet?

Schwarzenegger and the Legislature were widely accused of scare tactics -- crying wolf -- when they warned about the consequences of voters rejecting the May ballot measures. The wolf just broke down the door.

"It'll be interesting to see how people react to the budget and its pain," says Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). "Are people going to say, 'Enough. We've got to find another way?' "

If they do, some winners could become losers.

george.skelton@latimes.com

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