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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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State budget outlook growing uglier by the day

Uploaded: Dec 1, 2022

California’s roller coaster budget will hit a big dip in this fiscal year according to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
The report predicts a $25 billion shortfall in the current year’s budget based upon trends in the year that started July 1. When Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature reached the budget deal, the state was gushing cash. The combination of billions in federal funds—all borrowed on the backs on future generations it should be noted—plus tech employees cashing out stock options in a good year for initial public offerings—left the debate in Sacramento about how to spend the largess.
The current year budget is $308 billion that included a record $97 billion surplus year-over-year. Some of that is being sent to taxpayers in rebates that have been arriving since month—nicely timed around election day. Democrats in Sacramento were somewhat restrained in long term spending—the universal pre-kindergarten program not withstanding. That’s ongoing money being spent with no demonstrated proof that it makes a difference in education outcomes—we’re talking high school graduation and academic proficiency as the key measures, not 2nd grade achievement.
The state has built its rainy day fund to $23 billion with a total of $38 billion in reserve. That could handle the shortfall when coupled with some cuts.
What’s of greater concern is that the report does not take into account the impact of inflation and the potential of a recession. Major layoffs are rippling through technology companies from hardware companies such as Intel and Cisco to Twitter and many others such as Facebook that announced major layoffs this quarter. The number of initial public offerings this year is down.
Remember that the state’s revenue has a very shaky foundation—the top 1% of income earners provide about half of the revenue. That sector has a hiccup and the state is needing budget surgery. The trend of wealthy folks saying enough already and leaving the state is well documented because the state hit is 13.3% that is on top of the federal rate 37% and the state tax hit has federal deduction limited to $10,000.
It’s unlikely that economic trend shifts positive—it’s likely to continue a downward spiral. Throw in the high interest rates and their impact on purchasing power when it comes to real estate and it’s not a pretty picture—the governor’s smiley face notwithstanding—you can say the same for the president’s. Their attitudes are completely out-of-touch with public opinions and the actions of business leaders.
Buckle up. The next six months or more will not be pretty.
Local Journalism.
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Posted by Reggie Withers, a resident of another community,
on Dec 3, 2022 at 2:38 pm

Reggie Withers is a registered user.

The State of CA isnt hurting for money and Governor Newsom has a plan for distributing some of that vast fiscal surplus to those who truly deserve it...

Gov. Gavin Newsom has pushed a reparations program, which seeks to correct what California government calls 'housing wealth gap'.

Newsom has aggressively pushed his plan to provide financial reparations to Black Californians whom he says must be financially compensated for decades of discrimination.

The California Reparations Task Force says that under the initiative, qualifying Black residents in the state could qualify for $223,200 per person.

Newsom created the task force, which voted in March to limit potential reparations to descendants of free or enslaved Black people in the country at the end of the 19th century rather than all Black people, as many reparations advocates have pushed for.

A federal slavery reparations bill, commonly referred to as H.R. 40, has languished in Congress since it was first introduced in 1989. It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee in 2021, but most believe it is unlikely to progress further.

God bless Governor Newsom.

Posted by Melinda Roberts, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Dec 3, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Melinda Roberts is a registered user.

$223K per African-American descendent of slavery residing in California is a huge outlay of public funds but perhaps justifiable as a progressive-minded reparation for the earlier wrongdoings of slaveowners.

All of the former Confederate states should follow in Governor Newsom's footsteps and follow suit.

Posted by Buck Taylor, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Dec 4, 2022 at 9:27 am

Buck Taylor is a registered user.

"$223K per African-American descendent of slavery residing in California is a huge outlay of public funds..."

According to 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, those identified solely as African American or black constituted 5.8% or 2,282,144 residents in California. Including an additional 1.2% who identified has having partial African ancestry, the figure was 7.0% (2.8 million residents).

Doing the math, 2.8 million California African American residents times $223K each comes to...say what?

A worthy cause but fiscally feasible? If so, California has more money than it knows what to do with.

Proper screening will be necessary to avert a fiasco similar to the $31B paid-out in fraudulent unemployment claims during the pandemic.

Mexican Americans who can trace their heritage back to the Mexican land grant era and whose properties were misappropriated by white settlers during the Bear Republic days should also receive full reparations or compensation.

If the money is there, pay the parties who were once exploited and taken advantage of.

Posted by Loren Bloch, a resident of Danville,
on Dec 4, 2022 at 9:48 am

Loren Bloch is a registered user.

> 2.8 million California African American residents times $223K each comes to...say what?

• $644,000,000,000.00 ($644 billion dollars).

^ This is a lot of money and the final figure could be even higher if African American who reside outside of California also apply for Governor Newsom's proposed reparation program.

In any event, it is a noble gesture on the governor's part to acknowledge and compensate for the racism and prejudice that African Americans have been forced to endure.

Posted by Tatiana Kendricks, a resident of another community,
on Dec 4, 2022 at 10:11 am

Tatiana Kendricks is a registered user.

This reparation would be highly controversial among fiscally-minded Republicans but welcomed by progressive Democrats.

Since Mr. Hunt noted that the current state budget is targeted at $308B, where will this additional $640B come from?

Are there any applicable federal funds to augment this program and would it require additional taxation...ideally against highly-profitable business corporations and wealthy individuals?

It is time to make amends at any cost.

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 4, 2022 at 8:07 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

Don't forget the Chinese, and you might as well add more cash for the Japanese, because they didn't get their fair share. So what is the number now? I can hear all the traffic on 680 going north to Sacramento of the millions from other states entering California for the big payoff.

Reminder, California wasn't a slave state. It entered the Union in 1850 as a free state, but who cares about the details.

Posted by Marisol Perez, a resident of another community,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 7:59 am

Marisol Perez is a registered user.

Governor Newsom is out to lunch on this particular proposal. It is way too costly and vetting the recipients will be very difficult. Expect lawsuits initiated by the applicants turned away.

The South (former Confederacy) should be footing this bill and this could easily be accomplished by taxing a large portion of the football revenue taken in by the SEC and ACC.

Posted by George Dixon, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 8:52 am

George Dixon is a registered user.

Germany provided reparations to the Jewish community after World War II and the former Confederacy should do the same for all African American descendents of slavery.

This proposed reparation is not California's moral or fiscal responsibility.

If anything, Stanford University should pay reparations to the descendents of indentured Cantonese Chinese railroad workers and the California agricultural industry has an obligation to provide some form of reparation to the countless exploited migrant farm workers from Mexico.

The more recently-arrived immigrants to California from the People's Republic of China (Mandarin Chinese), Afghanistan, Iran, India/Pakistan Korea etc. are not qualified to receive any form of restitution because they were not subjugated by white America.

Posted by Carl, a resident of Stoneridge,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 10:29 am

Carl is a registered user.

My family immigrated to the United States in 1895 from Scotland so we obviously arrived long after slavery ended in the States. I feel I and all other immigrants who arrived after slavery was abolished in 1865 should be exempt from having to pay reparations for something that we nor our families had any part of. How about they determine the families that actually owned slaves and let them pay. Just because you are white it doesn't make you a participant.

Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 10:42 am

Karl A is a registered user.

Myself and my family don't owe anything to anybody. My ancestors came to the US well after the end of slavery, so we should not have to pay a thing.

This is just another scheme for people to get something for nothing.

Slavery ended 150+ years ago. Get over it. Is getting $250K really going to solve the problems of the black community? If you base your self worth and self confidence on money, you will just be stuck in the sad emotional state.

And if there is really all this systemic racism permeating our, society passing out a trillion dollars isn't going to solve a thing.

Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 10:45 am

Karl A is a registered user.

Good point Carl.

And being white doesn't automatically make you a racist or identify you as someone who has directly mistreated or held back other races from success.

Racism is a human trait and is not monopoly of only white people.

Posted by Latrelle Duncan, a resident of another community,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 10:49 am

Latrelle Duncan is a registered user.

"It remains a damning fact of life that we ask too much of those who are marginalized and too little of those who are not." - Michelle Obama

Not all white Americans are responsible for the subjugation of African slaves, only the descendents of white Southerners who either owned slaves or those who fought to preserve this unsavory practice.

Punish the South for this travesty. Not all white people are guilty.

Posted by Harold Ramsey, a resident of another community,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 11:16 am

Harold Ramsey is a registered user.

Speaking as an African American whose ancestors were enslaved prior to the culmination of the Civil War, the positive reforms of Reconstruction dramatically ended following the Compromise of 1877 when Democrat Samuel Tilden surrendered the 1876 presidential election in exchange for a Republican promise to end Reconstruction. This complicit agreement gave rise to Jim Crow laws, the KKK, and the removal of Union troops entrusted to protect the rights of newly-freed slaves.

So all things considered, both Northern and Southern white descendents regardless of their ancestor's political party affiliation are ultimately responsible for these proposed reparations.

The 'sins of the father' has no time limits.
Just ask Germany.

Posted by Melba Jackson, a resident of another community,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 12:14 pm

Melba Jackson is a registered user.

History has taught us that 90% of the world's problems were caused by white people (i.e. colonists & slaveowners) and/or organized religion (i.e. the Catholic Church).

And while those particular groups got wealthy via exploitation and subjugation, the exploited and subjugated remained mired in poverty.

It is time to balance the scale and the guilty parties need to pay-up.

This remuneration is not the responsibility of Governor Newsom or those who had nothing to do with slavery.

Newsom is playing with CA taxpayer dollars to put feathers in his progressive political hat.

The white South (former Confederacy) should foot the entire bill and be punished accordingly for their crimes against humanity.

Posted by Warren Chase, a resident of Danville,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 12:48 pm

Warren Chase is a registered user.

The Confederacy is not the only culprit when it comes to the enslavement of Africans.

The 13 original colonies (including all of the current the Northern states) also imported slaves from Africa beginning in 1619.

The British are to blame for this travesty and should also be held accountable for reparations to descendents of African-American slaves.

The British Empire enslaved countless people around the world and was no better than the Southerners.

Posted by Karl A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 1:07 pm

Karl A is a registered user.

Don't forget the Dutch slave traders in the demand for money?

And how about the Africans themselves? The ones who enslaved their fellow Africans, shipped them to the African coast and sold them to the white slave traders?

Will there be demands of the African nations that participated to cough up some money?

Might as well get everything you can.....

Posted by Clarence Hall, a resident of another community,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 3:05 pm

Clarence Hall is a registered user.

Karl A, is absolutely correct in his assessment. The Dutch were very active in the slave trade along with the Arabs, Jews, and dominant African tribes. All are accountable.

So why is Governor Newsom promoting these reparations on the sole behalf of California tax payers?

Speaking as a registered Democrat and African American to boot, I am beginning to suspect that way too many people are becoming far too oversensitive and playing the victim card.

The bottom line...everyone on Earth is a victim of something (or someone), even white folks.

Posted by Ed Johnson, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 3:23 pm

Ed Johnson is a registered user.

* "2.8 million California African American residents times $223K each comes to...say what?"

If Governor Newsom's proposal passes and I were an African American whose ancestors were once enslaved, I'd consider moving to California and establishing residency before this money runs out or the state goes bankrupt.

Of note...

The Black population of the United States is growing. In 2019, there were 46.8 million people who self-identified as Black, making up roughly 14% of the country's population. This marks a 29% increase since 2000, when there were roughly 36.2 million Black Americans.

Posted by Caroline Wilcox, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Dec 5, 2022 at 3:53 pm

Caroline Wilcox is a registered user.

This proposed fiscal outlay could be met in part by adding a $1.00 surcharge on all retail purchases involving alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and firearms.

The black people need to be compensated for the suffering of their ancestors who were slaves. This is the white man's burden and responsibility to fulfill.

Posted by D, a resident of Danville,
on Dec 6, 2022 at 8:07 am

D is a registered user.

Every single day some new "ism" is created by those seeking to gain some political, economic, or social benefit. Every single day some group is claiming they are a "victim" of something that occurred hundreds of years ago and demanding some political, economic, or social benefit in damages. There is a reason our legal system has statute of limitations to limit the time upon which to bring a claim for past wrongs. There is a reason our legal system requires causation to prove the party allegedly responsible for paying the damages actually is responsible for causing the alleged damages.

Every single person in our state could find a way to portray themselves as a "victim", whether due to their sex, nationality, religion, race, economic background, or other trait. Every single person in our state could find an example of how they have somehow faced discrimination over the years.

Instead of focusing on past wrongs or why they are a "victim", people should live in the present, make the best of those abundant opportunities available to ALL in our state, work hard, make sacrifices, and enjoy the blessings of living in the best country in the world.

Posted by JJ, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 7, 2022 at 6:16 pm

JJ is a registered user.

There are more people enslaved today in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Most of them are children. Use the money to end slavery around the world.

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