Treasurer Bill Lockyer

Capitol Alert
The latest on California politics and government
September 7, 2011

As California prepares to ask investors for $5.4 billion next week, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer is none too pleased with a last-minute bill related to automatic budget cuts.

Lockyer had to amend his disclosure statement to explain that lawmakers may require Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to consult on alternatives to as much as $2.5 billion in “trigger” cuts under Assembly Bill X1 20. Brown and lawmakers agreed in June to prescribe cuts to schools and other public programs that would take place if the state falls behind its optimistic revenue projections.

Brown opposes the bill, and the Senate budget committee did not approve the measure Tuesday night in its first examination.

“We like the triggers fine just the way they are,” said Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar. “We would have preferred that the Legislature not monkey around with them. The triggers were one of the strongest features of the budget. It’s unfortunate there’s a possibility they will be weakened.”

Democratic lawmakers say the blowback is much ado about nothing. Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, chairman of the Senate budget committee, said before yesterday’s hearing that the bill allows for better planning and more disclosure. He noted that lawmakers always have the power to change cuts mid-year, and this bill serves to underscore that point.

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