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California just revealed a $54.3 billion deficit — signaling deep cuts ahead

California finance officials revealed a $54.3 billion deficit Thursday in the first economic assessment of the coronavirus pandemic's devastating blow to the fifth-largest economy in the world.

That figure is higher than the deficit during the Great Recession and obliterates the state's once-healthy reserves.

Without sugar-coating how hard the prolonged shutdown of businesses and job losses will hit the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration released bleak projections on key statewide indicators: 18% unemployment rate for the year, 21% drop in new housing permits and nearly 9% decline in California personal income.

The California numbers signal a financial tsunami and cuts to schools, health care and safety-net programs, as state and local governments turn to the federal government for additional stimulus support. In one example, California's public school system, including K-12 and community colleges, will lose $18 billion in the state's minimum-funding guarantee, setting back years of striving to reach adequate education funding.

Newsom Thursday stressed once again that California had balanced its budget and headed into this year with a huge surplus — all undone by the pandemic. He said the state is resilient and can rebound, with a caveat.

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"My optimism is conditioned on this — more federal support. We're seeing economic numbers, unemployment numbers, more acute than anything we've seen in modern times," he said. "We need the federal government to recognize this. We really need the federal government to do more."

Lawmakers began to prioritize the programs they hope to protect. The Legislature will take up the budget after Newsom releases his proposal on May 14. Lawmakers will then have until June 15 to pass a balanced spending plan.

"I want to keep education as whole as possible," Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo. Referring to deep cuts made during the last recession, he added, "we cannot abandon another generation of children."

The governor had warned that the budget figures would be "jaw-dropping" and sought to brace the public for a prolonged recovery. Newsom struck a positive note: The state was in a better position to withstand the crisis because it paid down debt and built up reserves in good years.

Still, the deficit is three and a half times the state's $16 billion rainy day fund and nearly 37% of the state's general fund.

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Officials from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Stockton wasted no time campaigning for a statewide tax increase. The Schools and Communities First campaign, led by labor and education groups, is pushing a November ballot measure to overhaul Proposition 13, California's landmark property tax cap, to help prevent steeper cuts to local governments and public schools.

"I urge strongly everyone to endorse this measure because, again, we're going to need revenue," said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

It remains unclear how a recession will affect voters' mood for a tax measure. Business and anti-tax groups have vowed vigorously to oppose the measure, saying it harms businesses.

The governor's budget update projects California's economic losses will fall disproportionately hard on low- and middle-income Californians, which will only exacerbate income inequality. At the same time, low-income households and people of color are at greater risk of contracting and dying from the virus as the number of confirmed cases reaches 60,000.

Since mid-March, Californians have filed more than 4.2 million unemployment claims.

"This is particularly concerning because the average income did not return to pre-Great Recession levels until 2018," wrote the Department of Finance in its fiscal update Thursday.

It's an about-face for a state that began the year with ambitions of expanding child care for working parents and health care for undocumented seniors. Compared to the budget Newsom released in January, the state's three main revenue sources in the general fund are now projecting a 25.5% drop in personal income taxes, 27.2% drop in sales taxes and 22.7% drop in corporate taxes

The $54.3 billion deficit is driven by three factors: $41 billion in revenue loss, $7 billion increase in health and human services programs, mainly Medi-Cal, the state's health program for the poor, and about $6 billion in additional spending, mainly driven by the state's response to COVID-19. The Newsom administration's response has come under scrutiny as lawmakers demand oversight of multi-million dollar contracts and federal investigators look into supply deals gone awry.

Now anti-poverty advocates are bracing for a deja vu.

The Great Recession led to deep, painful cuts to California's social safety net — such as CalWorks, California's welfare program for families with children, Supplemental Security Income for elderly and disabled people, and subsidized child care — even as unemployment and poverty spiked. Many social safety net programs are still less generous than they were in 2007.

"It's devastating because at a time when people need government the most — which is any recession — it's also the time when we have limited ability to help," said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat and chair of the budget committee.

Here's how the deficit may impact major programs:

Housing and homelessness

Before the pandemic struck, California's twin housing affordability and homelessness crises were at the top of Newsom's 2020 agenda. The self-proclaimed setter of "big, hairy, audacious goals" devoted his entire State of the State to housing the more than 150,000 Californians living outside or in shelters, and vowed to enact a signature bill to ease the state's housing shortage.

California will have to scale back those ambitions, including:

• A proposal from big city mayors for $2 billion a year in ongoing homelessness funding may be able to draw on federal dollars in the short term, but backers will have a difficult time answering where that money should come from in future years.

• An emergency rental assistance proposal backed by California landlords, which could request around $2 billion in an emergency appropriation, will run up against fiscal reality unless federal funding materializes.

• State funding for subsidized, low-income housing developments could also be in jeopardy, while housing dollars pegged for more moderate income Californians could be redirected towards emergency help for those at the lowest-end of the income spectrum.

Proposals to ease rules and regulations on homebuilding are also in danger. A slew of bills to reduce the fees cities can charge developers for new housing will run up against local governments' desperate need for revenue. And legislative efforts to get cities to build denser housing may fail without new dollars for infrastructure and low-income housing.

K-12 schools

Despite record increases in school funding over the last decades, the state's school districts never seemed to fully recover from the devastating cuts made during the Great Recession. The state increased school spending by about $24 billion since 2013 through the Local Control Funding Formula at same time as schools saw significant increases in fixed costs, such as special education, healthcare and employee pension obligations.

For many schools, those rising costs offset the increases in state funding.

The state's projected $18 billion decrease in minimum funding guaranteed for K-12 schools and community colleges come at a time when school officials are asking for more state and federal support to help cover emergency spending, such as buying computers to facilitate distance learning and distributing food to students in need.

The California School Boards Association estimates districts have spent roughly $400 per student, or $2.4 billion, responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Higher education

Already the COVID-19 pandemic has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for the University of California and the California State University.

Through March, the UC reported losses and higher costs of $310 million because of the pandemic. The CSU says it has $337 million in revenue losses and new expenses for its spring semester because of COVID-19. The federal government did dole out stimulus to help out colleges, but the money isn't enough to shore up the losses in California, say legislative analysts.

Community colleges will likely have a shortfall of $2 billion in state support based on projections from California finance officials.

The last recession gives clues to the hit on colleges. Staff reductions and class cuts had imperiled students' chances of earning certificates and degrees.

Whether students will face tuition increases is an open question. While tuition and fees were already rising before the last recession, the trend only accelerated at the UC and CSU, where tuition effectively doubled between 2008 and 2012. And while state funding for the two public university systems has risen since the recession, they're still well below per-student levels before 2008.

Health care

Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, covers almost 13 million, or nearly one in three, Californians. But the pandemic is expected to drive that number up to 15 million.

Just this January, California restored several benefits that were cut during the Great Recession. The state brought back audiology, optical services, podiatry, incontinence supplies and speech therapy.

Since eyeglasses and hearing aids are not required by the federal government, they are most likely the first benefits to be cut by the state, said Linda Nguy with the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

Health advocates sought to expand Medi-Cal to undocumented seniors, but the proposal will be a tough sell in the current environment. "I think this is a message to temper our expectations," Nguy said.

California also recently started offering subsidies through the state's health insurance exchange, Covered California. It's just one of many health programs now at risk.

"We can't afford to go back in the middle of a pandemic when so many people have lost employer-based coverage and need that help," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, a statewide health advocacy group.

Earned income tax credit and safety-net programs

Immigrant advocates had hoped to extend California's Earned Income Tax Credit to undocumented workers who file taxes. Now, they say it's even more crucial. Undocumented and mixed-status families have missed out on unemployment insurance and the federal stimulus check, yet work in some of the hardest-hit industries. But at a price tag between $117 million and $167 million, it may be cost prohibitive.

Other safety-net expansions that now seem like pipedreams:

• A $10 million plan to create a California consumer financial protection bureau, which Newsom said would go after debt collectors and payday lenders for unfair and deceptive practices.

• A proposal for $93 million to reduce fines and fees associated with traffic courts and the criminal justice system for low-income people.

Prisons

Newsom had contemplated closing a state prison at the start of the year as the prison population fell from 165,000 in 2010 to 112,000 as of this month. A pre-pandemic budget proposal from the Legislative Analyst's Office recommended closing two prisons.

Yet while the proposed prison population is shrinking, the budget for the budget for courts, probation and parole is growing.

The criminal justice system was forecast to spend $19.4 billion on courts, prisons, probation and parole, up $341 million from the last year, the vast majority of which — $13 billion — goes to prisons, parole and probation.

The analyst's office recommended expanding pretrial diversion services to include misdemeanor convictions in an effort to reduce the number of people sent to prison.

The analyst also recommended against reducing the time individuals spend on probation, a proposal the office predicts would lead to longer — and therefore, more expensive — prison and jail sentences.

Environment

While California's green intentions seem baked into the DNA of state policy, key environmental programs could nevertheless be put on a starvation diet in the upcoming budget.

Funding for transit, clean car rebates and urban forestry have all seen cuts during past recessions, according to a report from the University of California, Los Angeles that could foreshadow decisions to come.

Newsom signaled that California would prioritize the fight against climate change, outlining $12 billion-worth of climate programs in his January budget proposal. But continued funding for clean-car rebates and charging stations, some wildfire prevention programs, and funding to support response to immediate climate impacts could be reduced.

Some of those programs were contained in the governor's nearly $5 billion climate resiliency bond, which would have allocated 60% of the funds for water-related projects, a particular interest of the governor.

In jeopardy, too, is the $20 million set aside to establish the first new state park in a decade.

Early childhood

Newsom's initial budget was hailed by early childhood advocates for increasing child care, preschool and other efforts to support working parents. His proposal had

included $10 million to start a training program for adverse childhood experiences and raise public awareness on childhood trauma, not to mention an additional $31 million to create 10,000 more preschool slots.

Now those initiatives will likely be shelved.

"Child care took the brunt of the cuts during the last recession and we will fight hard against that same outcome," said Keisha Nzewi, director of public policy for the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network. "It will be up to the governor and the Legislature to figure out how to keep child care functioning, because without it, Californians can't go back to work."

CalMatters staff writers Elizabeth Aguilera, Rachel Becker, Jackie Botts, Ricardo Cano, Julie Cart, Elizabeth Castillo, Nigel Duara, Matt Levin, Mikhail Zinshteyn and contributing writer Barbara Feder Ostrov contributed to this report.

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics. Read more state news from CalMatters here. Rachel Becker can be emailed at rachel@calmatters.org.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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California just revealed a $54.3 billion deficit — signaling deep cuts ahead

by /

Uploaded: Sun, May 10, 2020, 9:02 am

California finance officials revealed a $54.3 billion deficit Thursday in the first economic assessment of the coronavirus pandemic's devastating blow to the fifth-largest economy in the world.

That figure is higher than the deficit during the Great Recession and obliterates the state's once-healthy reserves.

Without sugar-coating how hard the prolonged shutdown of businesses and job losses will hit the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration released bleak projections on key statewide indicators: 18% unemployment rate for the year, 21% drop in new housing permits and nearly 9% decline in California personal income.

The California numbers signal a financial tsunami and cuts to schools, health care and safety-net programs, as state and local governments turn to the federal government for additional stimulus support. In one example, California's public school system, including K-12 and community colleges, will lose $18 billion in the state's minimum-funding guarantee, setting back years of striving to reach adequate education funding.

Newsom Thursday stressed once again that California had balanced its budget and headed into this year with a huge surplus — all undone by the pandemic. He said the state is resilient and can rebound, with a caveat.

"My optimism is conditioned on this — more federal support. We're seeing economic numbers, unemployment numbers, more acute than anything we've seen in modern times," he said. "We need the federal government to recognize this. We really need the federal government to do more."

Lawmakers began to prioritize the programs they hope to protect. The Legislature will take up the budget after Newsom releases his proposal on May 14. Lawmakers will then have until June 15 to pass a balanced spending plan.

"I want to keep education as whole as possible," Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo. Referring to deep cuts made during the last recession, he added, "we cannot abandon another generation of children."

The governor had warned that the budget figures would be "jaw-dropping" and sought to brace the public for a prolonged recovery. Newsom struck a positive note: The state was in a better position to withstand the crisis because it paid down debt and built up reserves in good years.

Still, the deficit is three and a half times the state's $16 billion rainy day fund and nearly 37% of the state's general fund.

Officials from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Stockton wasted no time campaigning for a statewide tax increase. The Schools and Communities First campaign, led by labor and education groups, is pushing a November ballot measure to overhaul Proposition 13, California's landmark property tax cap, to help prevent steeper cuts to local governments and public schools.

"I urge strongly everyone to endorse this measure because, again, we're going to need revenue," said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.

It remains unclear how a recession will affect voters' mood for a tax measure. Business and anti-tax groups have vowed vigorously to oppose the measure, saying it harms businesses.

The governor's budget update projects California's economic losses will fall disproportionately hard on low- and middle-income Californians, which will only exacerbate income inequality. At the same time, low-income households and people of color are at greater risk of contracting and dying from the virus as the number of confirmed cases reaches 60,000.

Since mid-March, Californians have filed more than 4.2 million unemployment claims.

"This is particularly concerning because the average income did not return to pre-Great Recession levels until 2018," wrote the Department of Finance in its fiscal update Thursday.

It's an about-face for a state that began the year with ambitions of expanding child care for working parents and health care for undocumented seniors. Compared to the budget Newsom released in January, the state's three main revenue sources in the general fund are now projecting a 25.5% drop in personal income taxes, 27.2% drop in sales taxes and 22.7% drop in corporate taxes

The $54.3 billion deficit is driven by three factors: $41 billion in revenue loss, $7 billion increase in health and human services programs, mainly Medi-Cal, the state's health program for the poor, and about $6 billion in additional spending, mainly driven by the state's response to COVID-19. The Newsom administration's response has come under scrutiny as lawmakers demand oversight of multi-million dollar contracts and federal investigators look into supply deals gone awry.

Now anti-poverty advocates are bracing for a deja vu.

The Great Recession led to deep, painful cuts to California's social safety net — such as CalWorks, California's welfare program for families with children, Supplemental Security Income for elderly and disabled people, and subsidized child care — even as unemployment and poverty spiked. Many social safety net programs are still less generous than they were in 2007.

"It's devastating because at a time when people need government the most — which is any recession — it's also the time when we have limited ability to help," said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat and chair of the budget committee.

Here's how the deficit may impact major programs:

Housing and homelessness

Before the pandemic struck, California's twin housing affordability and homelessness crises were at the top of Newsom's 2020 agenda. The self-proclaimed setter of "big, hairy, audacious goals" devoted his entire State of the State to housing the more than 150,000 Californians living outside or in shelters, and vowed to enact a signature bill to ease the state's housing shortage.

California will have to scale back those ambitions, including:

• A proposal from big city mayors for $2 billion a year in ongoing homelessness funding may be able to draw on federal dollars in the short term, but backers will have a difficult time answering where that money should come from in future years.

• An emergency rental assistance proposal backed by California landlords, which could request around $2 billion in an emergency appropriation, will run up against fiscal reality unless federal funding materializes.

• State funding for subsidized, low-income housing developments could also be in jeopardy, while housing dollars pegged for more moderate income Californians could be redirected towards emergency help for those at the lowest-end of the income spectrum.

Proposals to ease rules and regulations on homebuilding are also in danger. A slew of bills to reduce the fees cities can charge developers for new housing will run up against local governments' desperate need for revenue. And legislative efforts to get cities to build denser housing may fail without new dollars for infrastructure and low-income housing.

K-12 schools

Despite record increases in school funding over the last decades, the state's school districts never seemed to fully recover from the devastating cuts made during the Great Recession. The state increased school spending by about $24 billion since 2013 through the Local Control Funding Formula at same time as schools saw significant increases in fixed costs, such as special education, healthcare and employee pension obligations.

For many schools, those rising costs offset the increases in state funding.

The state's projected $18 billion decrease in minimum funding guaranteed for K-12 schools and community colleges come at a time when school officials are asking for more state and federal support to help cover emergency spending, such as buying computers to facilitate distance learning and distributing food to students in need.

The California School Boards Association estimates districts have spent roughly $400 per student, or $2.4 billion, responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Higher education

Already the COVID-19 pandemic has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for the University of California and the California State University.

Through March, the UC reported losses and higher costs of $310 million because of the pandemic. The CSU says it has $337 million in revenue losses and new expenses for its spring semester because of COVID-19. The federal government did dole out stimulus to help out colleges, but the money isn't enough to shore up the losses in California, say legislative analysts.

Community colleges will likely have a shortfall of $2 billion in state support based on projections from California finance officials.

The last recession gives clues to the hit on colleges. Staff reductions and class cuts had imperiled students' chances of earning certificates and degrees.

Whether students will face tuition increases is an open question. While tuition and fees were already rising before the last recession, the trend only accelerated at the UC and CSU, where tuition effectively doubled between 2008 and 2012. And while state funding for the two public university systems has risen since the recession, they're still well below per-student levels before 2008.

Health care

Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, covers almost 13 million, or nearly one in three, Californians. But the pandemic is expected to drive that number up to 15 million.

Just this January, California restored several benefits that were cut during the Great Recession. The state brought back audiology, optical services, podiatry, incontinence supplies and speech therapy.

Since eyeglasses and hearing aids are not required by the federal government, they are most likely the first benefits to be cut by the state, said Linda Nguy with the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

Health advocates sought to expand Medi-Cal to undocumented seniors, but the proposal will be a tough sell in the current environment. "I think this is a message to temper our expectations," Nguy said.

California also recently started offering subsidies through the state's health insurance exchange, Covered California. It's just one of many health programs now at risk.

"We can't afford to go back in the middle of a pandemic when so many people have lost employer-based coverage and need that help," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, a statewide health advocacy group.

Earned income tax credit and safety-net programs

Immigrant advocates had hoped to extend California's Earned Income Tax Credit to undocumented workers who file taxes. Now, they say it's even more crucial. Undocumented and mixed-status families have missed out on unemployment insurance and the federal stimulus check, yet work in some of the hardest-hit industries. But at a price tag between $117 million and $167 million, it may be cost prohibitive.

Other safety-net expansions that now seem like pipedreams:

• A $10 million plan to create a California consumer financial protection bureau, which Newsom said would go after debt collectors and payday lenders for unfair and deceptive practices.

• A proposal for $93 million to reduce fines and fees associated with traffic courts and the criminal justice system for low-income people.

Prisons

Newsom had contemplated closing a state prison at the start of the year as the prison population fell from 165,000 in 2010 to 112,000 as of this month. A pre-pandemic budget proposal from the Legislative Analyst's Office recommended closing two prisons.

Yet while the proposed prison population is shrinking, the budget for the budget for courts, probation and parole is growing.

The criminal justice system was forecast to spend $19.4 billion on courts, prisons, probation and parole, up $341 million from the last year, the vast majority of which — $13 billion — goes to prisons, parole and probation.

The analyst's office recommended expanding pretrial diversion services to include misdemeanor convictions in an effort to reduce the number of people sent to prison.

The analyst also recommended against reducing the time individuals spend on probation, a proposal the office predicts would lead to longer — and therefore, more expensive — prison and jail sentences.

Environment

While California's green intentions seem baked into the DNA of state policy, key environmental programs could nevertheless be put on a starvation diet in the upcoming budget.

Funding for transit, clean car rebates and urban forestry have all seen cuts during past recessions, according to a report from the University of California, Los Angeles that could foreshadow decisions to come.

Newsom signaled that California would prioritize the fight against climate change, outlining $12 billion-worth of climate programs in his January budget proposal. But continued funding for clean-car rebates and charging stations, some wildfire prevention programs, and funding to support response to immediate climate impacts could be reduced.

Some of those programs were contained in the governor's nearly $5 billion climate resiliency bond, which would have allocated 60% of the funds for water-related projects, a particular interest of the governor.

In jeopardy, too, is the $20 million set aside to establish the first new state park in a decade.

Early childhood

Newsom's initial budget was hailed by early childhood advocates for increasing child care, preschool and other efforts to support working parents. His proposal had

included $10 million to start a training program for adverse childhood experiences and raise public awareness on childhood trauma, not to mention an additional $31 million to create 10,000 more preschool slots.

Now those initiatives will likely be shelved.

"Child care took the brunt of the cuts during the last recession and we will fight hard against that same outcome," said Keisha Nzewi, director of public policy for the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network. "It will be up to the governor and the Legislature to figure out how to keep child care functioning, because without it, Californians can't go back to work."

CalMatters staff writers Elizabeth Aguilera, Rachel Becker, Jackie Botts, Ricardo Cano, Julie Cart, Elizabeth Castillo, Nigel Duara, Matt Levin, Mikhail Zinshteyn and contributing writer Barbara Feder Ostrov contributed to this report.

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics. Read more state news from CalMatters here. Rachel Becker can be emailed at rachel@calmatters.org.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Fiscal Freddie
Barron Park
on May 10, 2020 at 12:38 pm
Fiscal Freddie, Barron Park
on May 10, 2020 at 12:38 pm
6 people like this

Desperate times call for desperate measures & fiscal austerity/priorities.

(1) Additional public health/MediCal expenditures
= important
(2) Environmental spending = less important (at this time)
(3) Reduce prison costs by early release of non-violent inmates
(4) Put homelessness budget on hold
(5) Encourage public school districts to generate more resources with bond measures (i.e. Palo Alto parents can well afford it...other cities not so much). State educational funds should go to the poorer districts
(6) Tax developers & real estate agents to a greater extent
(7) Increase business taxes on multi-billion $ companies


got all the story?
Barron Park
on May 10, 2020 at 1:45 pm
got all the story?, Barron Park
on May 10, 2020 at 1:45 pm
23 people like this

Well Mr Newsom now you get to clean-up the mess you made through your draconian measures to close the economy many of which are still in place even with a flattening of the curve and spare hospital capacity. Good luck! Glad my kids are out of k-12 , I feel sorry for folks.


Joseph E. Davis
Woodside
on May 10, 2020 at 3:59 pm
Joseph E. Davis, Woodside
on May 10, 2020 at 3:59 pm
30 people like this

Not one dime in cuts until defined benefit pensions are eliminated for public sector employees.


got all the story?
Barron Park
on May 10, 2020 at 4:28 pm
got all the story?, Barron Park
on May 10, 2020 at 4:28 pm
30 people like this

I love this quote in the article

"My optimism is conditioned on this — more federal support. We're seeing economic numbers, unemployment numbers, more acute than anything we've seen in modern times," he said. "We need the federal government to recognize this. We really need the federal government to do more."

Ahhh , well Governor time for you to step up and OWN the consequences of the measures YOU imposed on businesses in California.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 10, 2020 at 4:34 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 10, 2020 at 4:34 pm
35 people like this

[Portion removed.]
How about: discontinue “services” to illegal aliens.
The hazy expenditures “for the homeless” have been similarly opaque and ineffective and susceptible to fraud.
Combine numerous duplicative school districts in this state, reduce their bureaucracy, sell off duplicative facilities! Really, this IS the time, finally, for this sensible action! Is there the political will?
Keep operations at DMV as current head is responsible and managing that well.
Examine and audit other departments for suitable reductions.
Hiring freeze state of CA for six months.
Rolling furloughs for various other state services, off one week per month unpaid.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2020 at 5:12 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2020 at 5:12 pm
17 people like this

The governator wants to open up California, slowly. But when Elon Musk tries to do just that with one of the largest manufacturing plants in the Bay Area, the county won't let him.

Alameda County must have more money hidden somewhere if they don't need to let manufacturing start.


Resident
Mountain View
on May 10, 2020 at 9:21 pm
Resident, Mountain View
on May 10, 2020 at 9:21 pm
21 people like this

The over generous employee pensions are unsustainable and must be reformed. It is unethical for taxpayers to pay higher taxes for these pensions that bankrupt cities.


Mark L
Menlo Park
on May 10, 2020 at 9:45 pm
Mark L, Menlo Park
on May 10, 2020 at 9:45 pm
7 people like this

Ideally the state goes bankrupt and can reduce its pension payouts.
Maybe the CCP virus is a blessing in disguise.


chris
University South
on May 10, 2020 at 11:52 pm
chris, University South
on May 10, 2020 at 11:52 pm
11 people like this

Got all the story,

Quite considerate of you that you suggest the poor and minorities go to work in dangerous conditions, causing the virus to surge again, while you protect yourself in seclusion in Palo Alto. Fortunately, most Palo Altans have a better understanding of pandemics and Newsom is following the advice of top-notch epidemiologists and not the average Palo Alto Online commenter.


Resident
Barron Park
on May 11, 2020 at 12:05 am
Resident, Barron Park
on May 11, 2020 at 12:05 am
6 people like this

Repeal all of Prop 13 - commercial and residential - with a 3 year ramp-up of fair value property assessments. This will bring billions of dollars of tax money back to Californians and equalize neighbors so that they all contribute to local services. Older residents can stay in their homes if they want since there are now ways for them to access the equity in their houses. This was a good intentioned, but disastrous tax bill that needs to change for the good of the state.


Resident
Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 5:47 am
Resident, Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 5:47 am
5 people like this

Georgia seems to be doing just fine.

[Portion removed.]

By now lockdowns are doing FAR more damage than the virus, how is this even acceptable? Of course with the blind compliance of the media-addled masses who are now isolated and only getting a view of reality through their TV screens flashing "death" numbers at them.

Web Link


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2020 at 6:50 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2020 at 6:50 am
15 people like this

Newsom is acting with presidential aspirations in mind and nothing else. Every time he gets in front of the camera, every decision he makes, is made not for scientific wisdom, but how it will look when he runs a presidential campaign, probably 2024.

His aspirations have been evident for many years. This has in fact helped his plan move forward. Can you see how all these decisions will look on campaign trail "When I was governor of California during the pandemic I..." and all the possible sound bites.


Resident
Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 7:24 am
Resident, Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 7:24 am
23 people like this

@Moderator who just edited my post.
There was literally NOTHING wrong with my post you have NO right to edit out parts of my post. PAO moderator sickening, impulsive TDS-influenced behavior. You traffic in censorchip, Bill Johnson. Just sickening!


Resident 2
Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 7:53 am
Resident 2, Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 7:53 am
15 people like this

@ Resident

You just noticed this now? This has been going on for many years, if you do not align with the editors political beliefs you get censored.


Thomas Paine
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 11, 2020 at 8:41 am
Thomas Paine, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 11, 2020 at 8:41 am
14 people like this

Budget problems in California? How about the $1.9 billion Newsom will spend in the next 9-months on high speed rail to nowhere? Hard to take anything Newsom says seriously when he keeps throwing good money after bad. He talked about stopping HSR but reversed course when his big campaign contributors pressured him to keep spending.


Citizen Kane
Crescent Park
on May 11, 2020 at 9:25 am
Citizen Kane, Crescent Park
on May 11, 2020 at 9:25 am
15 people like this

> "There was literally NOTHING wrong with my post you have NO right to edit out parts of my post. PAO moderator sickening, impulsive TDS-influenced behavior. You traffic in censorship, Bill Johnson. Just sickening!"

>> "You just noticed this now? This has been going on for many years, if you do not align with the editors political beliefs you get censored."


^^^^ As someone who has also been censored (aka post deleted/removed on various occasions/topics) it should be noted that the moderator & sponsor of the forum have the full right to do so as it is their website and we are all guest readers and/or contributors of varying opinions.

First amendment rights do not apply to the PA Online Town Square...it is the same with the editorial section of a newspaper as the department editor has the FULL right to either accept or reject the various opinion pieces submitted for publication.

If anything, I have noticed that certain right-wing opinions get removed along with various non-PC and off-topic commentaries.

While it may seem extreme & uncalled for at times, forum censorship is no different than what goes on at Fox News or CNN and we should keep in mind that like Fox News & CNN...the PA Town Square is an editorial platform subject to the vison & direction of the hosts(s).


Dan
Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 1:23 pm
Dan, Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 1:23 pm
6 people like this

The answer will be, as it always is in California ... "temporary" retroactive tax increases (if we can't get away with taxes, just call them fees instead). Here the definition of temporary means forever. This will pay to keep the popular services people care about alive, while money that could be used to fund those same services is shuffled to unpopular expenses that relatively few people would object to reining in.

"Officials from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Stockton wasted no time campaigning for a statewide tax increase."

F no !!! We are still paying the last "temporary" income tax increase ... for years when the state was running huge budget surplus and Sacramento was creatively finding ways to spend big.


DTNResident
Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 1:27 pm
DTNResident, Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 1:27 pm
16 people like this

Good luck with your fiscal problems. Those of us with successful businesses are starting the process of relocating out of state. Keep the handouts to the illegals and drug addicts coming, you can just cut more from schools and fire departments!


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2020 at 9:46 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2020 at 9:46 am
Like this comment

Posted by DTNResident, a resident of Downtown North

>> Good luck with your fiscal problems. Those of us with successful businesses are starting the process of relocating out of state.

The nice thing about North Dakota is that there aren't any homeless people living under bridges. Enjoy your new home.

Oh, just one more thing. If you are in such a hurry to get out of California, why are you wasting your precious time posting here?


John Goodrich
Portola Valley
on May 15, 2020 at 11:39 am
John Goodrich, Portola Valley
on May 15, 2020 at 11:39 am
8 people like this

One of the differences between the private sector and government, is that the private sector is disciplined by a limited budget which has serious consequences. Creative destruction, competition, market discipline, all tend to keep the private sector in line. Incapable employees are removed or put in lesser jobs, more capable employees are given more authority. Everyone is subject to the discipline of performance, and everyone can be fired.

In the public sector, none of this is true. You cannot reasonably be fired, there is no market discipline for anything. The only measure is, can you grow your part of government to gain more power or compensation.

The end result is too much government and too little performance.

Though we need government, and we need good government, we cannot afford an unlimited amount of government. Time to consider some belt tightening in the public sector to reflect that we suffer in the private sector.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 12:11 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2020 at 12:11 pm
2 people like this

Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside

>> Not one dime in cuts until defined benefit pensions are eliminated for public sector employees.

I would be perfectly OK with it if all pensions are 100% forward-funded. I'm not OK with eliminating defined-benefit pensions and completely replacing them with 401k type plans. Defined-benefit pensions exist because people don't know how long they will live. One person might die before reaching retirement, another might live to age 95. It is a bad idea for everyone to save/invest enough so that their 401k can live "forever".


Wake up!
Mountain View
on May 15, 2020 at 3:24 pm
Wake up!, Mountain View
on May 15, 2020 at 3:24 pm
6 people like this

This thread has given me hope. It appears people are finally starting to wake up. As much as I hate the continued SIP and firmly believe we are at a point to slowly, safely and smartly start opening back up I almost hope that Newsome continues his draconian measure.

I saw this on another feed today, and it really hit home. Someone had asked why the federal government hasn’t stepped in yet to stop these ridiculous overreaches by local governments. And the responder said “can you imagine if the federal government stepped in right now. It would be a disaster for Trump. He has to allow these fools to dig their own grave. He has to allow the American people, including those that don’t support him, to see what the democrats are doing. They are destroying our country and he has to allow them to hang themselves because those that don’t believe Trump will not believe him, they will only believe it if they see it first hand. Trump is a smart man, he’s a chess player not a checkers player.”

Totally agree. Until people start feeling the ill effects of their leadership they won’t change. Unfortunately we are such a fortunate, wealthy society in our bubble most people here will never feel the ill effects.


Wake up!
Mountain View
on May 15, 2020 at 3:30 pm
Wake up!, Mountain View
on May 15, 2020 at 3:30 pm
1 person likes this

[Post removed.]


Z
Palo Verde
on May 27, 2020 at 6:54 am
Z, Palo Verde
on May 27, 2020 at 6:54 am
1 person likes this

You know who's fault it is right? All of those non-essential businesses. If only they had planned ahead, the would have been essential and the state would be able to keep sucking money from them. So selfish...


Old Joe
Barron Park
on May 28, 2020 at 8:24 am
Old Joe, Barron Park
on May 28, 2020 at 8:24 am
2 people like this

Can’t wait till we can get that fool out of the White House. All he does is divide the country. He enjoys this chaos as do the trump supporters.


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