The short, hot summer

Jun 19, 2012

The bad old days of interminable budget deadlock amid 100-degree heat and hypertisan rhetoric may have gone the way of the Dodo, thanks to a voter-approved ballot initiative, but the bottom line is we still don't have a budget. Donde esta nuestro presupuesto?


From the Mercury News Steve Harmon: "But one thing is certain about Proposition 25, which also gave Democrats a majority vote on budgets: It has ended those long, bickering summers in which Republicans could hold the budget hostage to side issues that often had nothing to do with the state's financial plan."


"The era of interminably late budgets is over in California -- no more," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said Monday. "The single biggest symbol of the people's frustration with the state Legislature are these interminably late budgets. It became a ritual -- and not a fun ritual."


"Now with Proposition 25 ... the budget gets done on time." 


Well, actually, maybe not, since hard negotiating remains to be done on key pieces of the spending plan.


From the OC Register's Brian Joseph: "Only in Sacramento could lawmakers meet the deadline for passing a budget and still not have a spending plan."


"Yet that’s where we are today after Democrats in the Legislature approved a $92 billion budget on Friday (to ensure they kept getting paid), but failed to take up the budget trailer bills necessary to actually implement the spending plan pending more negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown."


"The sticking point is CalWORKs, the state’s welfare-to-work program. The governor wants more cuts. The Democrats in the Legislature don’t."


With the approval of the main budget document, the Democrats pondered the fruit of their toil and found that it was good.


From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "You know what?" Steinberg said. "I gotta tell you, I work about 15 hours a day. And we passed a budget that is balanced in the budget year, the second year, the third year and with a surplus in the fourth year. So we're doing our work. And we're going to continue doing our work."


"I'm going to stand up for the people who get elected to these offices, who work hard, and who do the very best by the people," Steinberg added. "And I know it's not popular. And I know that it's easy as heck to take the shots. But I'm proud of what we did on Friday. And we'll finish the job now."


Meanwhile, out in the real world, Asian Americans have outpaced Latinos as the fastest-growing group of immigrants who came to the U.S. each year.


From the Chronicle's Joe Garofoli: "Not only are Asian Americans the fastest-growing racial group in the country, but they have the highest incomes, are the best-educated and are happier with their lot in life compared with other groups, according to "The Rise of Asian Americans," a comprehensive new Pew Research Center survey and report being released Tuesday."


"It is a reversal of fortune for Asian Americans," said David Lee, a longtime community organizer in San Francisco's Asian American neighborhoods who teaches political science at San Francisco State University."


"One hundred years ago, they were the poorest of the poor," Lee said. "Today, they are the best-paid, best-educated, most-in-demand workers in the country."


Speaking of immigration, the Obama administration's policy allowing law-abiding young immigrants to remain in the U.S. regardless of their official legal status means new workers in California.


From the Mercury News' Matt O'Brien: "An estimated 350,000 children and young adult immigrants in California and more than 1 million nationwide could qualify for protection from deportation and temporary work permits through the new federal relief initiative announced Friday, according to the Migration Policy Institute."


"How their arrival into the formal job market will affect California's economy and employment is a mystery to many economists because nothing quite like this has ever happened before."


"Many of those eligible are already working, but only because their employers don't know or care that they are here illegally."

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