Frog carpet

May 26, 2010

So, for those of you following along at home, the Speaker's budget proposal goes something like this: You undo two parts of the triple flip, leaving just a single flip, raid a bankrupt special fund, replace those funds with a new Wall St. loan. Pay the loan back with a new oil tax.


Got all that?


If not, Shane Goldmacher has some more details.


"The Assembly plan centers on raiding the state's recycling fund for the next 20 years and going to Wall Street for an $8.7-billion loan. The state would then levy a nearly 10% oil severance tax to help pay off the loan.

The scheme would not require Republican support, according to Pérez's staff, because it engages a complicated raising of one tax and lowering of another that would skirt the state's requirement of a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes.

Pérez called the approach "unique and creative." McLear described it as "legal gymnastics."


Kevin Yamaura reports the Perez plan "would block all social service cuts in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to resolve a $19.1 billion budget deficit, sparing the state's welfare-to-work and subsidized child care programs from any reductions. The plan also relies on suspending about $2 billion in corporate tax breaks and a $500 million loan from the state disability insurance fund."


Greg Lucas parses the words of Denise Ducheny.


"While Republican senators denounced the Democrats’ recommendation that $4.9 billion in revenue be used to help close the budget gap as another illustration of their “tax-and-spend” mantra, Ducheny politely explained to anyone within earshot of Hearing Room 113 what was actually going on.


“There needs to be a concerted conversation,” Ducheny said of how the budget must be resolved.  Her “experience in the building,” she said, is that the only way to do that is to “make everybody really mad.”


"For all the ink and air time devoted to “Senate Democrats Propose $4.9 billion in Taxes,” it was clear from Ducheny’s remarks – and past budget history – that the final budget may or may not include higher taxes and, if taxes are increased, it might not be the ones Ducheny’s subcommittee recommended.


Radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou hosted a debate for the three GOP U.S. Senate candidates Tuesday; Tom Campbell's record on taxes and Carly Fiorina's voting record took center stage.


"Tom Campbell attacked Carly Fiorina for her sparse voting record and questioned her party loyalty. Chuck DeVore pounded Fiorina for supporting a proposition that would have made it easier to pass school bonds. Fiorina chided Campbell for backing tax increases to help balance the state's budget.

"That was how it went Tuesday during a freewheeling debate among the three Republican candidates vying to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer. With sunbathers catching rays at a pool a few steps away, the trio sparred in a Costa Mesa hotel meeting room over taxes, immigration and who would be Boxer's toughest opponent this fall."


Ken McLaughlin reports polls show Whitman reopening a lead in the race.


"A survey of 600 likely Republican primary voters on Sunday and Monday showed Whitman with a 26-point lead — 53 percent to 27 percent. The survey was done by Whitman's polling firm, McLaughlin & Associates of Virginia.


"A poll released Monday by SurveyUSA had Whitman with 54 percent and Poizner with 27 percent. The results were similar to another public poll, done by Public Policy Polling; it surveyed 417 likely voters, with Whitman leading 51 percent to 26 percent.


"The SurveyUSA and Public Policy Polling surveys are "robo polls," which depend on automated telephone responses rather than interviews. Many political experts see them as less reliable than traditional polls, said Larry Gerston, a San Jose State political science professor. "And I don't trust internal polls, either," he said."


Grain of salt taken.


With less than two weeks before election day, Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman are staying on message on the campaign trail. 


The LAT's Seema Mehta and Cathleen Decker report, "Two weeks before their primary election showdown, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner took parallel tracks toward the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday, with Poizner hammering on the issue of illegal immigration and Whitman emphasizing her business background and the state's budget dysfunction."


Steve Lopez turns an eye toward Sacramento and has some harsh words for labor unions.


"Pasadena resident George Fatheree's 8-year-old son, Clayton, has had epilepsy since he was an infant. For the most part, medication controls the condition, but Fatheree and his wife live with the nagging worry that their son will one day have a damaging seizure when no one is around who is trained to help. That's why Fatheree is all for Senate Bill 1051, which acknowledges the statewide shortage of school nurses and would allow non-medical campus personnel to administer a life-saving drug to children who suffer seizures.

"The bill was introduced in February by Bob Huff, a Diamond Bar Republican. But despite some slow progress its fate is uncertain, which is frustrating to Fatheree and other parents of an estimated 63,000 epileptic children who attend California public schools.

"One day, a Democratic senatorial aide explained the holdup to Fatheree.

"The exact words were, 'This bill would be a lot easier for the senator to support if it had a Democratic author.' "


"It doesn't matter how much sense the bill makes. It's opposed by several powerful labor unions that grease the palms of Democrats, including the California Teachers Assn. and California Nurses Assn. To mask their true agenda, which is to protect nursing jobs and avoid additional duties for teachers, the unions argue that a seizure is too serious a matter to be handled by non-medical staff."


And finally, as if Greece's economic woes were not enough. Now, apparently, the biblical plagues begin.


AP reports, "Greek officials say a horde of frogs has forced the closure of a key northern highway for two hours. Thessaloniki traffic police chief Giorgos Thanoglou says "millions" of the amphibians covered the tarmac Wednesday near the town of Langadas, some 12 miles east of Thessaloniki.


"There was a carpet of frogs," he said.


"Authorities closed the highway after three car drivers skidded off the road trying to dodge the frogs. No human injuries were reported."






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