As Governor Schwarz- muscle and the Legislature grow ever closer to California’s all-time Belated Budget Record, Jerry Brown keeps promising he can do better in getting a state spending plan approved in a timely fashion.
Krusty basically says he’ll jump into the budget briar patch moments after being elected, lock Democrats and Republicans in a room and then just turn on the charm, a strategy that draws cackles of derision from GOP rival Meg Whitman, who says his record on the matter during his first turn as governor belies his promise. As she recently put it:
The best indication of the future is what you have done in the past, and seven out of eight of Jerry Brown’s budgets were late.
Inspired by the fact-checking exploits of Brooks Jackson, we set out to test the veracity of eMeg’s charge; well, to be more precise, we dispatched Calbuzz intern Emily DeRuy, a UC San Diego honors grad, to do the heavy factoid analyzing. Based on data we gathered from the California Department of Finance, Emily filed this report:
The California Legislature is required to pass a budget each year by June 15. The governor then has 12 working days, or until June 30, to approve it. The budget takes effect on July 1, at the start of the new fiscal year. However, the budget is routinely signed well after the deadline. In the last 33 years, the governor has only met the target date nine times, five of those in the mid-1980s. The 2008-2009 budget was the most delayed, at 85 days late. On average, the budget has been signed 20 days after the deadline.*
The P.J. Hackenflack Scale, a scientific measurement of gubernatorial performance which calculates the average number of days before or after the July 1 deadline by which a governor signs the budget, shows:
— Jerry Brown: five budgets on time or early, three late; average = 4.375 days late.
— George Deukmejian: three budgets early, five late; average = 8 days late.
— Gray Davis: two budgets on time or early, three late; average = 25 days late.
— Pete Wilson: one budget on time, seven late; average = 29.75 days late.
— Arnold Schwarzenegger: one budget on time, five late; average = 35 days late (this does NOT include the 2010-2011 budget which is 78 days late and counting as of today, which will drive up Arnold’s average delay if and when the 2010-11 version ever gets signed).
Does Krusty the General rank best because he was a better governor than all the others? Of course not. What the numbers do show is that getting a budget signed by the constitutional deadline has become increasingly unlikely, given the partisan divisions and gridlock in Sacramento.
Also that, once again, Her Megness has her facts wrong. If she wants to smack Brown around for late budgets again, we have no doubt that she’ll take even stronger whacks at Deukmejian and Wilson, her campaign chairman..
*(The Department of Finance chart above does not include Jerry Brown’s first two budgets. When they are included, the final numbers show the budget was signed by the deadline 10 times for an average of 19 days after the deadline).
Fun with numbers: To the surprise of no one, eMeg has already shattered New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s self-funding record for a U.S. political campaign – with seven weeks left to go before the November 2 election.
With her most recent $15 million check to herself, eMeg has now personally forked out $119,075,806.11, according to the ever-punctilious Jack Chang.
Rounding off and discounting the couch change, this means that she has spent an average of $203,767.12 on each and every one of the 584 days since she declared her candidacy.
For those keeping score at home that works out to a 24/7 average of $8490.29 per hour, $141.50 per minute, and $2.36 per second.
Talk about in for a dime, in for a dollar.
Tea Party surge surges: The brilliant Beltway pundits who totally whiffed on forecasting the victory of Palin whack job clone Christine O’Donnell in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware didn’t miss a step in pivoting to educate all of us provincial types about What It All Means.
Our three cents:
1-By essentially taking The First State off the table as a possible Republican pick up of a Democrat seat – even Karl Rove thinks she’s nuts – O’Donnell’s nomination will likely mean Barbara Boxer’s tough race against Carly Fiorina is going to get even tougher.
Although the GOP is generally loathe to spend on longshots and lost causes in California, Babs’ seat has instantly gone from would-be-nice to must-have in their recalculations for taking control of the Senate. So look for more big money to pour in like the multimillions the U.S. Chamber just started spending to bash Boxer on the airwaves.
2-It’s not likely Fiorina will get much oomph in California from the alleged national Tea Party wave (just ask Republican nominee Chuck DeVore). The TP’s most ballyhooed wins have come in low-population states – Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and Kentucky – where what they’ve actually accomplished has been to expand the universe of GOP primary voters.
Hurricane Carly has a much bigger problem trying to get back to the political center to attract some coastal moderate and independent voters than she does in pandering further to the three-cornered hat brigade.
3-Former Delaware Governor and current Rep. Mike Castle’s defeat signals that the ancient species known as a “moderate Republican” is now way beyond endangered and is pretty defunct.
Castle, who was close to a mortal lock to capture Joe Biden’s old Senate from the Democrats, is by all accounts a decent, dedicated and effective congressman who knows how to work across the aisle – no more politics as usual! – to get important things done quietly. That his own party turned him out is testament to the blood-lust cannibalism that Fox News has wrought, and his post-election comments add further evidence in support of the Calbuzz Death of Truth theory.
This just in: Jerry Brown is up with a new 30-second positive starting today. It couldn’t be simpler: Brown looks directly into the camera and delivers a little tough love straight talk, Most interesting to us is his reference to “at this stage in my life,” which both addresses the Gandalf issue and offers a subtle contrast with President eMeg’s motivation for running.
Our state is in a real mess. And I’m not going to give you any phony plans or snappy slogans that don’t go anywhere. We have to make some tough decisions. We have to live within our means, we’ve got to take the power from the state capital and move it down to the local level, closer to the people. And no new taxes without voter approval. We’ve got to pull together not as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Californians first. And at this stage in my life, I’m prepared to do exactly that.
Brown spokeshuman Sterling Clifford says the new ad is joining, not replacing the 15-second Pinocchio spots in rotation.
PS: After a bit of lawyering, Comcast, at least, is reportedly going to put the California Teachers Association ad attacking Meg Whitman back on the air. Joe Garofoli of the Chron has all the details.