Government Finance and Operations 11/23/2010
2010 Annual Meeting Recap
Government Finance and Operations Policy
John Coleman from California Emerging Technology Fund presented a resolution supporting CETF’s Get Connected! campaign, which recognizes the importance of increased access to broadband technology with the focus on unserved and underserved communities. The committee recommended the Board adopt the resolution and send a letter to Caltrans urging the agency to open their rights-of-way for broadband deployment. The CSAC Board of Directors later adopted the resolution and approved sending the letter.
The Committee also discussed the challenges of implementing Proposition 14, which provides for a top-two primary system. Senate Bill 6, the implementing legislation, contains provisions that are unclear and will be unnecessarily costly for counties. CSAC staff will be working with county election officials and the Legislature to amend these provisions over the coming year.
For a summary of Employee Relations policy updates from the GFO Policy Committee Meeting, please click here.
Budget Workshop Gives Glimpse of Challenges
Marianne O’Malley, Director of General Government at the
Legislative Analysts Office (LAO), presented an overview of the
state’s fiscal condition, which did not look promising. The LAO
predicts the state will end the current fiscal year with a $6.1
billion deficit, and run an additional $19 billion deficit next
fiscal year. Deficits in the out-years remain near $20 billion
for the forecasted future.
These deficits, as she reported, are due to the use of one-time solutions to close past budget holes, the expiration of the temporary tax increases, the passage of Propositions 22 and 26, and the slow growth of the economy.
Fellow panelist Craig Cornett, Chief Fiscal Advisor to the Senate President pro Tem, illustrated this last point by referring to the “bushes” in eastern California that are thousands of years old. “They’re growing,” he said, “they’re just growing very slowly,” and compared that to the California economy of the next several years.
He also discussed the difficulties the Legislature has when facing deficits of this size. He pointed out that the total general fund spending on prisons and higher education combined amount to less than the size of the deficit. Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach asked Cornett how many workers the state had been forced to layoff. Cornett replied that they had saved money through furloughs and attrition, but no layoffs that he could think of, and also noted that many state employees are not paid out of the general fund.
Steven Woodside, County Counsel in Sonoma County, joined the panel to discuss the effects of Proposition 26 on counties and the state. The measure likely requires the state to either reapprove with a 2/3 vote the gas tax swap they put into place this year, or else allow those revenues to revert to their pre-swap state.