05.12.11 Call to Action
GOVERNOR TO RELEASE THE “MAY REVISION” OF THE BUDGET NEXT MONDAY
Plan On Attending CLA’s Legislative Day on Wednesday For The Latest Update
Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists
The Governor is expected to release his “May Revision” of the Budget on May 16th, which will reflect changes in revenues and expenditures to the 2011-12 State Budget that he introduced in January. The revised Budget will also reflect how those changes will affect specific Budget programs and Departments. Specifically, the Governor’s “May Revision” often contains specific, targeted reductions, intended to help close additional Budget holes. Shortly thereafter, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) will release a review of the “May Revise,” which will provide a detailed, non-partisan review of the updated revenue and expenditures reported by the Governor.
While recent news articles have reported an increase of approximately $2.5 billion in revenue collections, primarily from March and April income tax receipts, officials in the Department of Finance caution that the Governor’s proposed tax extensions, which were proposed as part of his January Budget, are still needed for the state to address the $26 billion Budget deficit.
In recent weeks, Budget talks have slowed significantly between Republicans and Democrats, and additionally with the Governor. Legislators, lobbyists, and the press are actively anticipating the May Revision details, as it is not known if the Governor will release a revised “all cuts Budget” in order to signify the dire consequences for state and local programs, should the tax extension package not be adopted.
As of this writing, the Budget contains a funding level of $8.5 million for the California Library Services Act, a $3.7 million level for the California Library Literacy Services program, and $3 million in the baseline for the Public Library Foundation. These numbers reflect a hard-fought “Budget Compromise” that we negotiated on behalf of the California Library Association, with the four legislative leaders, the Budget Subcommittees, and the powerful members of the Budget Conference Committee. This week we met with the Governor’s Deputy Director in the Department of Finance and made one last push before they go to print with the May Revise, encouraging them to maintain the level of funding for these three programs, as negotiated by the legislature. Since the development of the May Revise is a highly confidential process, we have no indication how the Governor may address these three programs in his document to be released on Monday.
Once the May Revision is public, the Budget Subcommittees will commence hearings yet again on the Budget, and the whole process will repeat itself, with the Budget Conference Committee ultimately reconvening to discuss major issues relative to the Budget package in June, with hopes that an agreement can be reached during the summer months.
Please plan to join CLA in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 18th to lobby legislators on the State Budget, as well as several important pieces of legislation that the CLA Legislative Committee has been tracking this year. For information on how you can be a part of the CLA Legislative Day activities and advocacy effort, please visit www.cla-net.org for registration information as well as helpful tools to use during your visits with legislators. Senator Leland Yee has introduced SB 602, which seeks to protect the private reading records and personal information of an individual using a commercial book service provider. The bill, which is jointly sponsored by the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was heard this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specifically, a book services provider would be prohibited from knowing disclosing to any government entity, or be compelled to disclose to any person or entity, the personal information of a user related to the use of a book, except pursuant to a search warrant, court order, or with the user’s affirmative consent, as specified. The bill is in response to the large level of interest in eBooks and digital readers, and the fact that “digital book services have the ability to collect an retain very detailed information about readers…Digital book providers can easily track what books an individual considers, how often a given book is read, how long a given page is viewed, and even what notes are written in the ‘margins.’” (source: Senate Judiciary Committee analysis). In addition to the sponsors, the bill was also supported in committee by CLA, Privacy Rights Clearing House, and others. The bill passed out of committee with little debate. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Noreen Evans called SB 602 “a good bill in an ongoing series of legislation in this area to keep up with technology.” (Two weeks prior, SB 445-Simitian – library circulation records – was also passed by the committee.)
CLA Legislative Day is Wednesday, May 18th.
Please plan on joining your colleagues and friends in Sacramento to rally
in support of public library funding, and important library legislation such as SB 445.