Budget Deficit

California Roundup: A Poor But Wise? Proud? Virtuous? Bankrupt State

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Less income, but no humidity!

* Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in 2009, for the first time since World War II, Californians made less than they did the year before.

* Pro-government think tank Center for American Progress publishes a 15-page takedown [pdf] of Republican candidate for governor Meg Whitman's plan to revive the state's dead economy. Filled with comical claims like, "California remains the economic powerhouse of the United States" whose "economic woes result primarily from the national economic downturn," and, "The deficit is chiefly caused by severely reduced revenues due to the Great Recession," the report makes no mention of the rate at which businesses and people are leaving the state, which was increasing long before the recession. Nor does it dwell on the chronic budget deficits that long preceded the recession and in fact propelled the current governor into office back in 2003. (If you're keeping score at home, the 2003 deficit was actually larger than this year's.) In a related broadside, a bunch of people have penned an open letter to Californians repeating the study's airy claims. Joel Fox provides one of many debunkings of the debunking.

* Far out and groovy L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca is reconsidering his earlier decision to withhold records on the 1970 homicide of journalist Ruben Salazar by a sheriff's deputy. It's unclear what information or how much the Sheriff's Department intends to cough up.

* State workers do not have time to answer phones, but do have time to protest movie houses showing The Expendables.

* Our Daily Bell from the L.A. Times: Town searches for new police chief as Sacramento lawmakers introduce legislation that will definitely solve the problem. City councilman/religious pastor Luis A. Artiga insists he lives in a crapola apartment in Bell, not the swank house he owns in Chino. State Attorney General Jerry Brown and L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley coordinate their Bell investigation; meanwhile Brown, in his Democratic candidate-for-governor cap, takes heat from opponent Whitman. (As I make a general point of not saying anything nice about the L.A. Times, I should applaud the paper on its Bell coverage and note that this is one of the handful of times I've been impressed by and grateful for the paper's ability to throw resources at a local story.)

* Special bonus item! San Francisco public employees sue to block Proposition B, which would require them to contribute more to their pension plans.