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January 10, 2018




FROM: Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists


RE: News From the Capitol






This morning Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his final state Budget proposal, as he completes the last year of his term in office.  As part of the Budget package, CLA is pleased to report that the Governor has decided to include some significant funding -$9.5 million in new money - for public libraries in the proposal.  This funding seeks to benefit libraries that need to connect to high-speed broadband or those that wish to increase existing speed, local literacy programs, and creative ways of sharing and delivering library materials.  


Before the press corps, the Governor said he was unveiling a “solid Budget that takes account of the needs of the State.”  While the Budget increases funding for K-12 schools, Corrections, and Health and Human Services, the Governor also shores up the state’s “rainy day fund” due to his ongoing concern that the next Recession is right around the corner.  The Governor offered, “It is important to think ahead and minimize the pain that is coming.”  He was asked by several reporters to reflect on his multiple terms in office and his “legacy,” to which he responded that “Governor’s don’t have legacies,” but he noted that he was proud that he and the legislature were able to right the ship in terms of balancing some very difficult Budgets after he first returned to office in 2011. 


The Governor’s Director of Finance, Michael Cohen then addressed the press corps and noted that the state Budget is proposed as $131.7 billion this year and that revenues are up $4.7 billion from last June.  However, he cautioned that the “unknown is the federal tax implications” which Director Cohen said his Department would be actively working to assess in the coming months.  




The Governor’s 2018-19 Budget proposes the following: 


“Augmentation for Literacy Program – An increase of $2.5 million General Fund ongoing to expand the existing California Library Literacy Services program.”

“One-Time Funding for Broadband Grants - $5 million General Fund one-time for broadband equipment grants, with the expectation that $2 million would support connection for public libraries who lack access to the broadband network and $3 million would expand capacity for libraries already connected.”

“One-Time Funding for Online Service System - $1.5 million General Fund one-time for online systems for use by public libraries to support efficient access to resources.”    

$500,000 is also provided for a combination of State Library staffing and taxes related to the CENIC project.



With regard to the library-specific funding in the 2018-19 Budget, the negotiations regarding these particular components in the Budget package were the result of a collective effort between CLA, the Department of Finance, the State Library, and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) during the Fall months.


On November 2, we submitted a letter to Department of Finance Director, Michael Cohen as part of our annual outreach to the Director.  These conversations in the Fall with the Director are typically very beneficial to CLA, as they give us an opportunity to present the top Budget funding priorities for the association.  The Director noted that the State Library also had some priorities, and he stressed that it would be beneficial for all of the stakeholders to hold discussions to see if an agreement on a package could be reached.  He requested that his Department deputies convene the meetings, which were conducted throughout the month of November, to include CLA, the State Library and CENIC.   


A priority for CLA was additional funding for broadband connection grants so that several hundred library branches that are still in need of assistance grants would be able to connect to the high-speed CENIC network.  Additionally, CLA and the State Library were interested in identifying funding to increase speeds for the libraries that are already connected to CENIC (e.g. boosting speed from 1 gig to 10 gigs).  CLA also supported the State Librarian’s goal to provide more funding for literacy services, as well as continue his efforts, which began a couple of years ago (when $3 million in one-time Budget funding was provided for this purpose) to improve communication and delivery services.  


All parties ultimately signed off on the package, which was then presented to the Finance Director and the Governor for their consideration.  It is important to note that there were no assurances that the package or even parts of the package would be included in the January Budget, but we remained cautiously optimistic.  Thus, we were pleased to see the detail of the Governor’s Budget when he unveiled it this morning, and specifically the exciting augmentations proposed for three major program areas.  

Now, CLA will work in earnest in the coming months to make sure that the proposed funding for libraries remains in the State Budget when the legislature and State Legislative Analyst’s Office begin their annual process of analyzing the Governor’s proposal.  Budget subcommittees will likely begin initial hearings on the Governor’s Budget in March. 


We would personally like to thank Governor Brown and Director Cohen for their leadership on this issue, as well as State Librarian Greg Lucas.  CEO Louis Fox and lobbyist, Kim Lewis of CENIC have also been very helpful during this process.  Finally, we would like to thank CLA President Dolly Goyal, CLA Legislative Chair Larry Meyer, past CLA Legislative Chair Jennifer Addington, and CLA Legislative Committee member Carol Frost for their active and intensive involvement while negotiations were in progress.