Capitol Alert

With the Trump effect looming, will Jerry Brown agree to spend more?

rpench@sacbee.com

Gov. Jerry Brown will release his revised budget proposal today, when he is expected to once again hammer home the message that California needs to take a cautious approach to state spending.

The current economic expansion is among the longest since World War II, raising concerns of a coming downturn. Possible federal actions loom as another threat to state finances.

Much of today’s revised plan will be unchanged from Brown’s January proposal. A notable exception is the program providing home-care services for a half-million elderly and disabled people, with counties and the administration reaching a deal meant to ease the burden on counties caused by ending a pilot project coordinating health and social services.

Under Brown’s January plan, counties faced more than $600 million in additional costs for their share of the In-Home Supportive Services program during the 2017-18 fiscal year. County leaders complained the shift would upend their budgets and force cuts to law enforcement and other county services.

The revised proposal would reduce the hit on counties by as much as three-quarters, at least for the first couple of years.

Meanwhile, state officials have a close eye on Washington, D.C. House Republicans’ plan to reduce Obamacare would cost the state billions of dollars, according to a financial analysis released in March by the state Department of Health Care Services. Millions of Californians could lose health insurance, the report found, and the state would be on the hook to backfill federal funding cuts of an estimated $6 billion in 2020, growing to $24.3 billion by 2027.

That legislation is is likely to drastically change – or die – when it’s taken up by the Senate. Yet that’s not the only budget hazard the state faces from the federal government.

The Trump White House has threatened to withhold federal funding from “sanctuary” jurisdictions. And a promised federal tax overhaul sought by President Trump could land a hefty financial blow on California, Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said.

The prospect of an economic downturn underscores the need for a cautious spending plan, Palmer said. “We know that we are overdue for a change in the state’s economic fortunes,” he said.

April tax receipts, meanwhile, came in $1.05 billion short of projections in Brown’s $177.1 billion January budget blueprint.

“April is usually the state’s biggest tax filing month, so lower-than-expected personal income tax receipts are troubling,” Controller Betty Yee said in a statement. “While we await the governor’s May revision, this is another signal that we may be inching towards an economic downturn, and we must tailor our spending accordingly.”

Some lawmakers, though, say the state still has the means to spend more on certain programs, such as early childhood education. And housing advocates are demanding the state pony up to address the unprecedented statewide housing crisis.

Brown releases his May revision at 10 a.m. in Room 1190 of the Capitol.

WORTH REPEATING: “President Napolitano no longer engenders the public trust required to perform her duties. It’s time she resigned.” –Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton.

FROG DAYS AT THE CAPITOL: Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, won the annual frog jumping contest at the Capitol. His co-competitor, “Frog the Bounty Hunter” jumped 12 feet and one inch. Assemblyman Jim Frazier’s frog, “Leroy Green” jumped the shortest distance – just under three feet.

The contest, inspired by Mark Twain’s short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” is the official kickoff for the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee, which starts May 18.

OROVILLE DAM: The Assembly’s Water Parks, Parks and Wildlife committee holds an oversight hearing on the failure of the Oroville Dam spillway in Room 4202 of the Capitol today. Legislators are expected to ask critical questions of Brown’s administration, as well as risk management experts and others.

John Laird, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, and Bill Croyle, acting director of the state Department of Water Resources, will testify. The hearing begins at 1 p.m.

Investigators assigned to pinpoint reasons the spillway fractured said it had a series of flaws, according to a report released Wednesday.

CALIFORNIA’S FUTURE: Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer will talk with Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, about climate change and other issues for the state under Trump. They’re also expected to discuss potential state financial challenges.

It’s the nonprofit’s latest in their series of talks on California’s future. It hosted Sen. Dianne Feinstein in February.

GAS TAX RECALL: Radio show host Carl DeMaio is turning up the heat on Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, the target of a recall campaign for his vote in favor of the state’s $52 billion road repair package paid for by fuel taxes and new registration fees.

DeMaio and others are launching a signature drive to oust Newman from office.

A campaign committee, called “Californians against Car and Gas Tax Hikes” was formed Wednesday to raise money and help take out Newman. It’s a project of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, according to campaign filings.

CANNABIS IN THE GOLDEN STATE: It’s anticipated that marijuana will become a $10 billion industry in California, and the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce will discuss how it will continue to evolve at a talk in Sacramento at 11:30 a.m. Lori Ajax, chief of the state Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, is among listed speakers. The event, at the University of the Pacific’s Sacramento Campus, is $40.

PSYCHIATRIC CARE: State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is hosting a panel on California’s psychiatric bed shortage. Panelists will discuss how the shortage affects health care delivery at psychiatric hospitals and emergency rooms, and how it affects local agencies. It begins at noon at 1130 K St., room LL3.

RALLY FOR SENIORS: A host of state lawmakers are set to speak at a rally at the Capitol beginning at 10 a.m. aimed at drawing attention to poverty among elderly people and promoting their independence.

Speakers include: Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, Sens. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, Connie Leyva, D-Chino, Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, Jim Beall, D-San Jose, Bill Dodd, D-Napa and Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. Members of the Assembly speaking are Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, Eloise Gomez Reyes, D-Grand Terrace and Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who turns 47 today. And belated well wishes to Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, who turned 39 yesterday.

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