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California State Capitol. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

California Legislature’s Budget Process Anything but Transparent Says Veteran Tax Fighter

What we got last week isn’t even the actual budget – it’s the Legislature’s draft budget

By Katy Grimes, June 13, 2024 9:07 am

“Last Wednesday afternoon, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas and Senate Pro Tem Mike McGuire announced that the two legislative houses had agreed on a budget proposal. Less than 24 hours later, on Thursday morning, the Assembly Budget Committee took up the budget package,” said Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “What about the analysis that bills normally receive before being heard? Well, the Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst’s Office testified that they had not had time to review the plan.”

“As for the scrutiny? Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, the chair of the budget committee, and the Democratic chairs of the budget subcommittees went around reading congratulatory statements that offered few specifics. In all, it took about 42 minutes for the committee to ‘scrutinize’ and approve a plan that burns through half the state budget reserve in just one year, and at a time when the LAO is predicting budget shortfalls every year through 2027-2028.”

Welcome to the unserious California Legislature.

Normally, budgets are supposed to be estimated expenses, fiscal assessments, planned disbursements, and an overall state spending plan. But these lawmakers are far removed from reality or responsibility.

Coupal continues:

“The vote was 18-4, along party lines. But what we got last week isn’t even the actual budget. It’s the Legislature’s draft budget. The governor has his own draft, too. Now, the substantial provisions of the budget will be negotiated behind closed doors among the two Democratic legislative leaders and Gov. Gavin Newsom.”

“Even though the budget will be subsequently amended in future weeks – and even years – by a series of ‘junior budget bills’ and ‘trailer bills,’ the actions last week mean that the Legislature has technically complied with the June 15th deadline, even though everyone knows it’s all fake. From the legislators’ perspective, technical compliance has the most serious consequence imaginable; specifically, they can receive their paychecks. That’s because Proposition 25, entitled the ‘On-Time Budget Act of 2010,’ says legislators forfeit their pay if they do not pass the budget ‘on time.’ The problem with that is that the courts have ruled it is the Legislature itself that defines what is and is not the budget.”

“What we get is not a true annual spending plan for the state but a 1,000-page sham full of blanks to be filled in later through hundreds of ‘budget trailer bills.’”

All anyone has to do to see just how unserious the California Legislature is look at the spending of one state agency – the California Department of Social Services Housing and Homeless Division, “responsible for program development and oversight of statewide housing programs funded by the CDSS. The Division also serves as a statewide technical assistance provider to all of California’s social services agencies.”

This is where the rubber meets the road: “The Division aims to streamline services on both the local and statewide level to promote equal access to safe and affordable housing for all Californians.”

Aha, the services are “streamlined” in the 7 homeless programs below.

This is the list of Programs with the Department of Social Services descriptions – I think we may find the missing $24 billion in homeless spending right here:

Project Roomkey/Homelessness COVID Response

The purpose of Project Roomkey is to provide non-congregate sheltering for people experiencing homelessness, to protect human life, and minimize strain on health care system capacity.

How is Project Roomkey minimizing the strain on the health care system when homeless get free healthcare?

CalWORKs Housing Support Program (HSP)

The CalWORKs Housing Support Program (HSP) fosters housing stability for families experiencing homelessness. HSP assists homeless CalWORKs families in obtaining permanent housing and can provide temporary shelter, help with moving costs, short to medium-term rental subsidies, and wraparound case management.

CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA)

The CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA) Program aims to help CalWORKs families meet the reasonable costs of securing housing. The CalWORKs HA program serves eligible CalWORKs recipients, or apparently eligible CalWORKs applicants, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. CalWORKs HA can provide payments for temporary shelter for up to 16 cumulative calendar days, as well as payments to secure or maintain housing, including a security deposit and last month’s rent, or up to two months of rent arrearages.

Bringing Families Home Program (BFH)

The Bringing Families Home (BFH) program helps reduce the number of families in the child welfare system experiencing homelessness, increase family reunification, and prevent foster care placements. BFH serves homeless families involved with the child welfare system and is designed to offer housing supports in order for families to successfully reunify.

Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP)

The Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP) assists homeless and disabled individuals apply for disability benefit programs, while also providing housing support. The HDAP requires that participating counties offer outreach, case management, benefits advocacy, and housing supports to all program participants.

Home Safe Program

The Home Safe Program supports the safety and housing stability of individuals involved in Adult Protective Services (APS) who are experiencing, or at imminent risk of experiencing, homelessness due to elder or dependent adult abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation by providing housing-related assistance using evidence-based practices for homeless assistance and prevention.

Community Care Expansion Program (CCE)

The CCE program was established by Assembly Bill No. 172 (Chapter 69, Statutes of 2021) and will provide $805 million in funding for acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation to preserve and expand adult and senior care facilities that serve SSI/SSP and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) applicants and recipients, including those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

Remember, $24 billion in homelessness spending in the last five years has resulted in a 30% increase in California’s drug-addicted, mentally ill homeless population. And millions of illegal immigrants flooding across the border has only exacerbated the housing problem.

Is the Legislature planning on budgeting more homeless spending now? Is that the game?

This shows just how transactional our elected Assembly members and Senators are – they only support programs and spending they know will get them special interest groups’ attention and votes, budget be damned. They will bankrupt the state over it as long as they are still in power.

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One thought on “California Legislature’s Budget Process Anything but Transparent Says Veteran Tax Fighter

  1. Maff is hard, and Accounting is even harder…

    These a-holes have never made a payroll, never brought a private-sector product to market, or probably even reconciled their own checking accounts.
    We are “led” by “community organizers” and “political science” or “social studies” or “Latino Studies” majors that are financially illiterate…

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