Court fight

Jan 25, 2012

Eventually, it seems that every issue in the Capitol winds up in court. Now, we have Democratic legislative leaders suing fellow Democratic Controller John Chiang for blocking the lawmakers' pay last year during a state budget fight.


From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez said the Democratic controller overstepped his bounds when he decided that lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a flawed budget last June and docked their pay. They said they are not suing for back earnings, but to ask the court whether Chiang can intervene this year if lawmakers face another budget dispute with Brown at the June 15 deadline."


Speaking of money, the High Speed Rail Authority -- which has come in for so much criticism lately that you need a progam to track the issues -- has exhibited poor oversight of its multibillion-dollar project and its finances are on risky assumptions, says the state auditor.


From the LAT's Dan Weikel: "In the latest in a series of cautionary reports by outside agencies and groups, the report found that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has made some progress in addressing planning and fiscal concerns but still has important work to do to ensure that the project can be built as promised."


"The program's overall financial situation has become increasingly risky, in part because the authority has not provided viable funding alternatives in the event its planned funding does not materialize," the state auditor concluded."

Gov. Brown wants to fill the state budget's hole partially through new taxes on the wealthy and an increased sales tax -- with voter approval. A new PPIC poll shows voters are sjupportive of the proposal.


From the Chronicle's Wyatt Buchanan: "Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for a ballot initiative that would raise tens of billions of dollars by temporarily increasing the sales tax and the income tax on wealthy Californians has the support of more than two-thirds of likely voters in the state, according to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California."


"The poll found 68 percent of likely voters - including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents - support the proposed initiative, which the administration estimates would generate about $35 billion over five years. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has projected the measure would raise about $7 billion less."


Former state Sen. Sam Aanestad, a Sierra foothills Republican, is considering a run for Congress to replace the retiring Wally Herger, reports the Bee's Torey Van Oot.

"The Penn Valley Republican said he learned of Herger's decision after returning home from Mexico,where he had been vacationing without access to his cell phone or lap top, several days ago. Since then, he has been "making phone calls to see if there is any support" for a run for the newly drawn 1st Congressional District.


The head of CSU's trustees says he intends to recommend limiting executives' pay, a move that stems from the fallout over the high salaries that have been approved as students struggle with huge tuition increases.


From Carla Rivera in the LAT: "The chairman of California State University’s governing board said Tuesday that he will propose capping raises for new executives at 10% in the wake of stinging criticism over recent salary decisions."


"Herb Carter, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said that the limit would address concerns raised by several state lawmakers who have introduced legislation that would establish stricter policies for setting compensation."



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