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LegiCA:02.25.11 Call to Action
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02.25.11 Call to Action


Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists 

Issues Heard But Left Open

This afternoon the powerful 10 member Budget Conference Committee considered the Governor’s proposal to completely eliminate $30.4 million in state support for public libraries. Specifically, the Governor’s plan recommends eliminating the California Library Services Act ($12.9 million), the Public Library Foundation ($12.9 million) and the State literacy program ($4.5 million). As you may recall, the Conference Committee is charged with reconciling the differences between the Governor’s 2011-12 Budget proposal, the Assembly actions on the Budget, and the Senate actions on the Budget. 

The Senate Version recommends eliminating all funding for the library programs, identical to the Governor’s proposal. The Assembly Version recommends preserving these three important programs with a modest $1.5 million reduction to the CLSA, a modest $1.5 reduction to the PLF, and no cut to the literacy program. 

With the issue properly before the committee this afternoon, Chair Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield asked the Department of Finance (representing the Governor), to comment on the proposal. The representative noted, “This continues our discussion of what is a state versus a local responsibility. In tough times, we can’t afford to supplement library services.” Surprisingly, the Legislative Analyst’s Office representative who followed (who traditionally has been a supporter of the library funding in the Budget), stated, “These are difficult cuts. We lean towards the Department of Finance’s recommendation.” The Chairman indicated that he was concerned that the cuts would result in a loss of federal funds, to which the Department of Finance responded, “Not immediately. But yes, over time….There is no way you can get to a balanced Budget without losing some federal funds.” Senator Mark Leno, a member of the Conference Committee, said lamenting the Budget cuts, “These are really Sophie’s choices.” Conferee Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, author of the Public Library Foundation legislation in 1982 said, “I have obviously followed this issue very closely over the years. Libraries have come up here year after year and have taken a significant haircut.” He requested that the Budget Conference Committee continue to work with CLA to find a more acceptable compromise. With no agreement evident between the two houses, the Chair noted that the three issues would be “left open.” 


Why the urgency? These ten conferees literally hold three library budget issues in their hands at this point. In other words, if the Budget Conference Committee does not approve maintaining some level of funding for the California Library Services Act, the State literacy program, and the Public Library Foundation in the few days remaining in their deliberative process next week – these three programs will be eliminated as per the Governor’s Budget proposal.  

As your CLA lobbyists, we have been working non-stop on this issue and we have left no stone unturned. However, it is absolutely essential that CLA members, trustees, and Friends groups call every member of the Budget Conference Committee or fax them a quick letter on Monday, February 28thAsk these legislators to support “the Assembly Version” of the Budget, relative to the three library funding issues mentioned above. (Contact information provided below.) Additionally, it is important for you to call your individual Assemblymember or Senator and ask them to speak favorably about the library issue in their respective caucuses. We have been told that the leadership would like to hear from its members if these library programs are important to them and their communities. We have learned that several of your legislators have already spoken up in caucus, but many more are needed.


Assembly Conferees

The Honorable Bob Blumenfield
Chair, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 6026
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2040
Fax: (916) 319-2140

The Honorable Felipe Fuentes
Member, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 2114
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2039
Fax: (916) 319-2139

The Honorable Diane Harkey
Member, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 6027
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2073
Fax: (916) 319-2173

The Honorable Jim Nielsen
Member, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 6031
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2002
Fax: (916) 319-2102

The Honorable Nancy Skinner
Member, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 4126
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 319-2014
Fax: (916) 319-2114

Senate Conferees

The Honorable Mark Leno
Co-Chair, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 5100
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4003
Fax: (916) 445-4722

The Honorable Bill Emmerson
Member, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 4082
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4037
Fax: (916) 327-2187 

The Honorable Bob Huff
Member, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 5097
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4029
Fax: (916) 324-0922

The Honorable Alan Lowenthal
Member, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 2032
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4027
Fax: (916) 327-9113

The Honorable Gloria Negrete McLeod
Member, Budget Conference Committee
State Capitol, Room 4061
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4032
Fax: (916) 445-0128