|Assembly Budget Subcommittee Approves $10 Million "State Library Budget Package"|
May 21, 2014
TO: CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS
FROM: Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE: News From the Capitol
ASSEMBLY BUDGET SUBCOMMITTE APPROVES $10 MILLION “STATE LIBRARY BUDGET PACKAGE”
CLSA and Literacy programs would benefit from new money
This afternoon the Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance held a hearing to discuss several of the items in the Governor’s January Budget and May Revision of his Budget. In addition to approving two new positions for the State Library that the Governor is recommending in his May Revision, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee also approved $10 million in new funding for public libraries. This funding would be above and beyond the $2.25 million recently approved for the Governor’s public library broadband proposal, and the $1 million in grants to help libraries who may need assistance connecting to the CENIC backbone.
You will recall from our recent emails to the field that Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) has been leading an effort along with 13 of his colleagues in the Assembly to secure restoration funding for public libraries in the 2014-15 Budget. We have been assisting him over the past few weeks, lobbying key legislators, consultants, and others in the hopes that the subcommittee might be willing to agree with Assemblyman Gatto’s request. Mr. Gatto has personally been working very hard on this effort, having important high-level discussions with Assembly Budget Chair, Nancy Skinner and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance Chair, Al Muratsuchi. As our May 9th “News From the Capitol” reported, Mr. Gatto was inspired to get involved with this issue after he had a meeting with local library advocates during “Day In the District”.
One of the last items approved on today’s agenda was an item called the “State Library Budget Package.” The committee background paper notes the “dramatic” cuts sustained by the public libraries over the last decade and indicates that the “severe cutbacks have had profound impacts” on services. Finally, the report notes, “A May 6 letter from Assemblyman Mike Gatto signed by 13 other members of the Assembly – both Democrats and Republicans – is seeking restoration of some of these funds.”
The staff recommendation concludes with this important recommendation:
Approve the May Revise Request for $192,000 and two positions – State Library
Increase Funding to Local Libraries by $10 million, with $2 million going to the California Library Literacy and English Acquisition Services Program and $8 million to the California Library Services Act.”
Before the vote on the item was taken, the Department of Finance indicated that they could not support the additional $10 million as it would create greater cost pressure on the state’s General Fund. The issue passed on a bi-partisan vote of 5-0 (Aye: Muratsuchi, Chavez, Dababneh, Nestande, and Ting).
In discussions we have had with legislators, CLA, and the State Library, we believe the new money for the CLSA could be placed into “Communications and Delivery” so that the funding could be used for things such as decreasing telecommunications costs, helping libraries purchase circuits, sharing materials, creating WiFi hot spots, and other important needs.
While this is all great news, we need to caution that as of this writing, the Senate Budget Subcommittee does not have any additional funding in their Budget recommended for these two programs, so we still have a long way to go.
When the two houses differ in what they recommend for the public library restoration funding, (e.g. Assembly - $10 million and Senate - $0) this will force the issue into the Budget Conference Committee process. This powerful two house committee will likely begin convening at the end of next week or the first part of June, in an attempt to reconcile the differences between the two houses and send a Budget bill down to the Governor by June 15, the constitutional deadline.
Look for an additional “News From the Capitol” report from us early next week, when we provide you with “next steps” and contact information for the members of the Budget Conference Committee (who have yet to be appointed).