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Library Funding In Jeopardy
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November 8, 2011
FROM:            Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                        Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:                 News From The Capitol
“Spare Public Libraries From the Trigger!”
As CLA members and library supporters are aware, the 2011-12 Budget presented some very tough challenges for three major library programs – the California Library Services Act, the Public Library Foundation, and the state literacy program.  These programs continue to be in jeopardy, and now CLA needs your help again!  
In January, the Governor’s Budget proposed eliminating all state funding for these three programs ($30.4 million), but through heavy lobbying efforts and a strong grass roots showing from the library community, we were able to retain half of that funding ($15.2 million) to keep the three programs operational, by compromising with the legislature and Governor’s office. 
You will recall that, as part of the 2011-12 Budget agreement, the legislature adopted and the Governor signed AB 121, the so-called “Budget Trigger” bill. This measure states that: 
“No later December 15, 2011, the Director of Finance shall forecast General Fund revenues for the 2011-12 fiscal year and shall determine whether that revenue forecast or the Legislative Analyst’s November 2011 General Fund forecast is higher. The Director of Finance shall notify the Joint Legislative Budget Committee of the determination and the amount of the higher forecast. If the higher revenue forecast determined pursuant to subdivision (a) projects General Fund revenues for the 2011-12 fiscal year of less than $87,452,500,000, the Director of Finance shall do all of the following on or after January 1, 2011:…..”
What then follows the above language is a list of the items that could be cut, effective January 1, including all remaining state funding for library services (could zero out the $15.2 million), and thus, there would be no more state funding for the CLSA, PLF, or literacy. The proposed public library cuts are on a list of reductions along with major cuts to UC and CSU, In Home Support Services, and juvenile justice programs, among others.
In a meeting we had last week with the Director of the Department of Finance she asserted that the legislation, AB 121, gives the Department very little flexibility and “wiggle room.” In subsequently speaking with several key legislative staff members, they acknowledge that for groups (e.g. libraries) to be spared the impacts of the “trigger,” after the first of the year, they would have to be part of a larger, alternative compromise proposal. If the trigger is pulled, there may be other options, including asking the legislature or the Governor to replace the $15.2 million during next year’s Budget deliberations. For any of these efforts to work, pressure must be brought to bear by our strong grass roots library supporters. While we will be working with legislators and Budget staff in the coming weeks and months to try to identify options and solutions, we need your help now.
We are asking CLA members and library supporters to do the following today:
1)    Write the Governor – mail a hard copy letter, or fax it, or email him
        a)    cc’ the four legislative leaders on the letter you prepared for the Governor
        b)    cc’ your own legislators on these letters
In your letters, please inform the Governor’s office that the cuts will have:
1)     Devastating impacts on local library services (Cite specifics.)
2)     Will dismantle the CLSA – the state’s cooperative loaning program to the point where libraries won’t share resources anymore and non-residents will either not be allowed to use services or will use them at sig         significant cost (e.g. library cards of $75 or more)
3)    20,000 adult literacy learners may have nowhere else to turn for services.
4)    Approximately $15 million in federal funding – money that also funds the Braille and Talking Book library – could be lost. 
While we know that the holidays are busy times for everyone, we urge you to take a moment today to write the Governor (cc’ the leaders) and encourage him to “Spare Public Libraries From The Trigger.”   Please don’t wait until after the first of the year – that will, most assuredly, be too late.
Mail your letter to:
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Governor, State of California
State Capitol, Room, 1173
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Or fax your letter to the Governor:  (916) 558-3160, or for instructions on how to email the Governor, please go to and click on the “contact” section.
CC’s to the following
The Honorable Darrell Steinberg                                      The Honorable Bob Dutton
Senate President pro Tempore                                         Senate Minority Leader
California State Senate                                                       California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 205                                                     State Capitol, Room 305
Sacramento, CA. 95814                                                      Sacramento, CA. 95814
Or fax: (916) 323-2263                                                       Or fax: (916) 327-2272
The Honorable John A. Perez                                           The Honorable Connie Conway
Speaker of the California State Assembly                      Assembly Republican Leader
State Capitol, Room 219                                                    State Capitol, Room 3104
Sacramento, CA. 95814                                                     Sacramento, CA. 95814   
Or fax: (916) 319-2146                                                       Or fax: (916) 319-2134
Thank you for your help!