Legislative Call to Action

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					Legislative Call to Action

       Budget Bills Head To The Floors Next Week
March 3, 2011 From: Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists

This afternoon the powerful 10 member Budget Conference Committee put their final
mark on a massive reduction and revenues package, addressing the Governor’s plan to
close a whopping $26 billion Budget deficit. One of their final actions was approving a
“Conference Compromise” to spare the three library programs – the Public Library
Foundation, the California Library Services Act, and the State literacy program, from
elimination. You will recall that the Governor’s January Budget recommended complete
elimination of $30.4 million for these three programs, which would also jeopardize
millions in federal dollars associated with the CLSA. The Assembly Version of the
Budget sought to spare the three programs from deep cuts, while the Senate initially
agreed to accept the Governor’s proposal to eliminate the programs. And so, when the
Conference Committee met this afternoon, they formally approved an action to keep the
following dollar amounts in these three programs:

 “Conference Compromise”
* $8.5 million in the California Library Services Act (at this funding level, also allows
the State Library to maintain its federal MOE/match),
* $3.7 million in the California Library Literacy Services program
* $3 million in the Public Library Foundation

Recognizing the incredibly daunting deficit situation, there was an understanding by CLA
that keeping the library program budgets whole would be nothing short of impossible,
particularly when the Governor was proposing total elimination. Over the last several
weeks, CLA leadership, led by President Paymaneh Maghsoudi and the CLA Legislative
Committee, led by Deborah Doyle, worked with our office to craft a compromise that
would preserve the basic integrity of the programs and give us something to build on
when California’s economy recovers. As you can imagine, we worked tirelessly to get
this compromise in front of all of the legislative leaders, Budget Conference Committee,
the Legislative Analyst’s Office, staff and countless others. Meanwhile, CLA members
and library supporters continued to call and write their legislators, encouraging them to
save the three library programs from elimination. This was a constant lobbying effort that
ultimately resulted in a bi-partisan vote of the Budget Conference Committee today (a 5-
0 vote of the Senate Conferees, and a 5-0 vote of the Assembly Conferees). This is an
important footnote in that many of the items being voted on in the Conference Committee
have received votes that are split along party-lines. We believe that the strong bipartisan
voteon our three items will certainly help to encourage the Governor to leave the $15.2
million in the Budget for these programs.
                  BUDGET PICTURE IS BLEAK
 For the last two days, the Conference Committee had not met, prompting lobbyists to
speculate that a deal between the Governor and the Democrats might be imminent. This
suspicion was confirmed this morning when the Governor’s Executive Secretary for
Legislation, Appointments, and Policy told a group of lobbyists at a breakfast we
attended and coordinated, “It is my understanding that the Conference Committee hopes
to close out their work today.”

When the Conference Committee finally convened around 3:30 p.m. today, Chairman
Bob Blumenfield noted that the members would “reconcile the remaining items but we
won’t close down the Committee officially.” He said, “This proposal today makes the
best out of an incredibly bad situation….Today we are backing the Governor’s cuts. Any
claim the cuts aren’t real denies the pain of them.” The Assemblyman identified several
programs within Health and Human Services such as adult day health care, child care,
and CalWorks, that would be receiving significant and painful reductions. In fact, the
proposal adopted today by the Conference Committee will contain: $12.6 billion in cuts,
$1.1 billion in a reserve, and $12 billion in revenues.

The Conference Committee continues to deliberate and will likely go into the evening
tonight as they address controversial issues of realignment, redevelopment, and tax
increases. The intention is for the Assembly and Senate to vote on the Budget bills next
week. We will give you information on Monday regarding contacting the Governor to
encourage him to leave the $15.2 million in the Budget for library funding.

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