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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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Passing out gifts in Sacramento

Uploaded: Jan 13, 2022
California is awash in tax revenues for the second year in a row.
That positions Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to continue to wear their Santa hats and pass out presents. It should be noted that the gusher is coming mainly from personal income tax and that's driven by wealthy people. Should the economy dip, then those revenues go with it.
Newsom’s budget proposal, which totals more than $213 billion for the general fund, is based on a $45.7 billion surplus. It marks the second year in a row that the surplus has soared and this time it’s not dependent on federal Covid dollars. The huge number has the governor proposing to spend $16 billion of the surplus on kindergarten through community college education as mandated by the voter-passed Proposition 98. That will amount to a record of nearly $21,000 per student from all funding sources.
The governor proposes allocating $20.6 billion of the surplus into the general fund with another $9 billion toward reserves and supplementary pensions. It also includes $34.6 billion in reserve funds.
What’s missing in these proposals is tackling the huge problem with unfunded liabilities in both the state teachers and state public employees’ retirement funds. Those funds have been using unrealistic estimates of total returns and have little more than two-thirds of the assets necessary to pay obligations to retired employees. Contributions from employees and agencies have been increasing and threaten to reduce services in agencies that are fiscally fragile. Putting a chunk of the surplus into those funds would be a wise investment that would help agencies across the state.
Instead, the governor is moving ahead with universal preschool, free school lunches, climate change initiatives and extending health care benefits to all illegal immigrants. Prior budgets have extended coverage to illegal senior citizens and to young people up to the age of 26. Newsom’s budget proposes extending it to every illegal immigrant, an estimated 1.1 million.
It is remarkable how Democrats ignore the fact that these people have broken the law by entering the country illegally. Now, instead of paying a consequence, they are valued for their workforce contribution and added to the Medi-Cal system. That’s problematic given how poorly the state compensates physicians for treating Medi-Cal patients and how few doctors will accept patients.
The governor’s budget proposal also allocates $1 billion to continue to try to solve the homeless problem that’s particularly prevalent in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but encampments can be found in many cities, including here in the Tri-Valley. While driving into Concord on Sunday, we saw many tents pitched underneath BART tracks. There’s no question that it is a vexing challenge and one that government has failed miserably to deal with effectively. Consider that San Francisco’s socially distanced tent spaces in United Nations plaza cost $60,000 each to provide services.
It also prioritizes climate change, continuing to throw money at the perceived issue without any measure of what real success would look like—particularly since China and India to say nothing of African countries as they develop are the major sources of greenhouse gases. Aggressively tackling wildfire through forest management—something Newsom nibbles around the edges on—would have greater payoffs both in public health and healthy forests.
Given the two-thirds supermajorities that Democrats hold in both houses of the Legislature, this budget will boil down to how many new entitlement programs that are ongoing get established versus smart one-time expenditures to tackle key issues.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Lahommed, a resident of Dublin,
on Jan 13, 2022 at 8:15 am

Lahommed is a registered user.

Notice there is nothing for the Middle class who earn over $75000 or more! Awash in tax payer monies as crime soars and destroys SF and LA. Illegals poring in and soon to get benefits on the backs of thee tax payers! You can take Newsom, Pelosi and Schumer and the Corrupt Criminal spy Eric Swalwell and shove them! California once the best color in the Coloring box now a used up dull color that has lost her luster because of abuse by her elected reps over the years who put greed and corruption first!

Posted by Michael Austin , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 13, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I wrote a check to prepay my first quarter income tax ten days ago. Here I am in my late 70's still paying taxes, just can't get a break.

I am in no hurry to be dead. But when I am dead, I will not be paying taxes. Or will I? Democrats will probably find a way to tax the dead.

Posted by RobertD., a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 13, 2022 at 5:39 pm

RobertD. is a registered user.

I am all for stopping illegal immigration. And I can understand questioning medi Cal coverage of illegal aliens. I also agree that Medi Cal is in bad shape. But, if we bring ourselves down to earth from our rich suburban neighborhoods, especially those of us who go to church every Sunday and are believers, we see that illegal aliens are here to stay. It is a problem that no state in the country including Texas has been able to deal with. Given this fact, isn't it better to deal with these people's health issues in a humane manner? Isn't it better to allow them to seek medical attention in a proactive manner in case health issues come up rather than flood the emergency rooms?

I went to my optometrist for my annual eye exam ( I have great insurance). She couldn't see me because she was dealing with an emergency case of a Hispanic laborer who had injured his eyes at work. The laborer's boss (white guy) had brought him in. It is a small office and I overheard the amount on the bill - close to $1000. The boss paid for it but I am sure he wished the laborer was covered by insurance.

It is a different situation when you come down to earth and deal with actual life situations.

Mr. Hunt, please don't delete my post.

Posted by Michael Austin , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 13, 2022 at 7:23 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Workmen's compensation will take care of this issue if the optometrist is a legal licensed practitioner, if the boss is fully licensed and carries state mandated workers comps. It does not matter if patient is citizen or not.

Posted by Roxie, a resident of another community,
on Jan 14, 2022 at 9:49 am

Roxie is a registered user.

Thank you for interesting, quality articles.

Posted by Joe V, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 14, 2022 at 11:27 am

Joe V is a registered user.

Moving too far to the left on political stances is more compassionate, than actions that move us to the more conservative right wing mentality. The actions in Texas, taking away a woman's right to choose, and making it harder for citizens to vote are examples of moving too far to the right. By the way, GO 49ers!!
But worst, today's Republican party continues to associate, out of political necessity, with a former president that led a mob riot against our government, to overturn our democracy, what this country was built on! We all know who this guy was and who he is, just look at his past actions, some that are on tape!
In the State of California, the Republican party is going to have to distance themselves from this unkind human, for them to have a chance at winning an election for Governor!
Holding a Bible upside down in front of a church is not going to work for the voters in California!

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Jan 14, 2022 at 9:20 pm

Kevin is a registered user.


You as a Christian leader, church elder and board member of Heart for Africa, are against Newsome spending some of the excess budget on healthcare for illegal aliens?

Posted by Michael Austin , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 14, 2022 at 9:32 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The misnomer is "excess budget".

There is no excess budget if this governor will stop ignoring state teachers and public employee's retirement deficits and pay into those funds.

In less than 20 years those funds will be out of money. All those in retirement will have their pensions suspended. It happened in Detroit; it will happen here.

No one should get a free ride!

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Jan 14, 2022 at 9:58 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

“Democrats ignore the fact that these people have broken the law by entering the country illegally. Now, instead of paying a consequence, they are valued for their workforce contribution and added to the Medi-Cal system."

Tim you sound like a Pharisee- they broke the law, they must be punished, not rewarded, ......

You are an elder at a christian church - you know what I am talking about.

Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 15, 2022 at 12:33 am

Malcolm Hex is a registered user.

At Joe,

How's that that guy in the White House that thinks the VP is the president working out for you, buddy? Yeah, that guy that screwed things up in Afghanistan, our southern border, the economy, Covid test kits, etc. the list goes on and on.

President mumbles and fumbles has no clue what he's doing - and you know it. Problem is, you Democrats can't stand it when your wrong. And the hypocrisy!

For example: Biden knew about Trump's China travel restrictions when he called Trump xenophobic on the day the restrictions were unveiled. And yet Biden restricted travelers from southern Africa in an effort to slow the spread of a new coronavirus variant - Omicron. South Africans complained the travel bans were unfair. Oh, and by the way, virologists in South Africa knew the omicron variant was weak compared to Covid or Delta. But your president wasn't called out for his xenophobic bs, was he?

Watching president mumbles and fumbles, along with lackluster offerings from his vp, has been a comedy and and/or horror show, to say the least. Mumbles and fumbles is the absolute worst president in US history. Sadly, the Russians and Chinese see that too.

By the way, when Trump was in office, his cognitive test was released with positive findings. So, why hasn't your guy in the White House taken a cognitive test yet? What's he afraid off? Huh?

What's more important: Trumps tax records or a Biden cognitive test? LOL! Never mind, I think I already know the answer.

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