By Tim Hunt
Very different budget debates in Oakland vs. SacramentoUploaded: Jun 17, 2015
Talk about a tale of two budgets.
The debate in Sacramento has been all about how much more money to spend based upon conservative or more optimistic revenue estimates. When Gov. Brown released his May budget revise, revenues were $6 billion ahead of the January estimates.
The bulk of that money was allocated under the state constitutional amendment passed a few recessions again (Prop. 98) that guarantees K-12 schools and community colleges a fixed percentage of the budget. The windfall starting July 1 will take per student funding up an average of $3,000 and put k-14 funding at an all-time high.
Another key chunk of revenue goes to pay debt and into the rainy day fund for the next recession. Democrats wanted to spend an additional $740 million on social programs.
For Alameda County, which provides safety net services as do all counties, the state's overflowing coffers do not help a bit.
Alameda County administrator Susan Muranishi has identified a $65-million funding gap for the 2015/2016 fiscal year that starts July 1. Closing the gap means budget reductions in a number of key county programs. She recommends the following cuts: reduce general government spending by $14.8 million, health care spending by $15.8 million, funding for public assistance programs by $14.7 million and $19.8 million from public protection.
County unemployment has fallen to 4.5 percent, half of the 2012 level, but incomes for working poor are stagnant. That's true of many workers-it's the tech section that is doing great and driving the broader economy.
The county supervisors will hold hearings next week to ask the public for its views before imposing the cuts to bring the budget into balance.
Mandated affordable housing received a unanimous thumbs up from the state Supreme Court. The court rules against the homebuilders association that had argued city laws requiring housing at below-market rates amounted to an unconstitutional taking of property.
The court upheld a 2010 ordinance by the city of San Jose in its decision that will be seen as good news for advocates of affordable housing mixed with market rate units.