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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Some curious decisions by the governor and legislative leaders

Uploaded: Jun 26, 2014
The state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown last week demonstrated some questionable priorities.
It was a relatively easy budget for Democratic leaders to put together because state revenues have been running ahead of projections and voters approved temporary tax increases in 2012 so there was money to go around. Republicans are irrelevant because the Legislature can approve the budget with a simple majority and Democrats dominate both houses.
Among them the doubtful priorities:
The absurd high-speed rail project: Brown pushed very hard to allocate money in the upcoming fiscal year to try and get the train under construction. Fortunately, it is held up by a court decision that simply requires the agency to follow the law according to what was on the ballot in 2008 when voters approved $9 billion in bonds for construction. The rail falls short of promises in almost every area and is quite simply a huge waste of money for a project that will do nothing for highway congestion or air pollution.
Nonetheless, Legislative leaders agreed to $250 million in the upcoming year and 25 percent of cap-and-trade revenues going forward. In exchange Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, who wanted universal preschool paid for by the state, got $264 million to establish that new entitlement program that liberal Democrats will seek to expand every year when the budget is healthy. The high-speed rail funds will be allocated annually without another vote of the Legislature and—like most elements of this deeply flawed project—it is questionable whether it meets the requirements of the greenhouse gas law.
An improvement in the budget is the deal that already had been announced between the governor and Legislative leaders for both a rainy day fund and a strong plan to pay down the state's "wall of debt." The debt totaled $34.7 billion and will be reduced to $14.8 billion next July and totally eliminated by 2018—of course that debt does not include the unfunded liabilities in the pension systems.
The most curious priority was the choice to establish the new preschool program and fail to reverse a 10 percent cut in reimbursements for physicians treating Med-Cal patients. The number of poor people enrolled in the program soared with the state's aggressive push of Obamacare signups and magnified the existing shortage of doctors willing to treat Med-Cal patients. Given that revenues are quite healthy, it is a crazy choice that will exacerbate an already bad situation. If anything, given the demand, the state should have both reversed the cut and added to reimbursements to encourage physicians to treat people.
So much for compassion for the poor.

Comments

Posted by High School Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jul 2, 2014 at 6:07 am

Yes, "so much for compassion for the poor," because that's what Tim Hunt is all about. It is compassion for the poor that motivates his painfully amateur posts. Such as, you know, calling a push for universal preschool care as nothing but another entitlement program -- because, see, overburdened single mothers are nothing but blood suckers whose aim it is to divest Tim Hunt and other patriot citizens of their tax dollars.

And evidence that supports the view that a high-speed train project will "do nothing for congestion or air pollution." A high school journalism student would be failed for making such a poorly thought out, indefensible claim. But since Tim Hunt answers to no one, and certainly not those who comment on his word garbage. Is he even capable of engaging in a defense of his childlike claims? Doubtful. He just soldiers on into the swamp of bad ideas conveyed by bad writing.


Posted by High School Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jul 2, 2014 at 6:10 am

Emended: But since Tim Hunt answers to no one, and certainly not those who comment on his word garbage, we can only ask: Is he even capable of engaging in a defense of his childlike claims?

Kudos to me -- probably the very first person on the Tim Hunt blog to actually re-read what he or she has written in order to make emendations.


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 2, 2014 at 6:47 am

Actually, there is another troll out of Livermore that engages this practice.


Posted by High School Teacher, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jul 2, 2014 at 8:41 am

As Michael the Troll's vapid remark attests, some troll offerings are more pithy than are others. Keep up the good work, Michael.


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