Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Must Read: State Analyst Says Brown’s Budget Is Too Rosy; Number of California Millionaires Skyrockets

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office says that Governor Jerry Brown’s projections for state tax revenues appear to be overly optimistic — by as much as $3 billion, the Mercury News reports. The governor’s rosy budget projections could mean that the state will have to make even deeper cuts to state services than Brown proposes. The LAO says that Brown appears to be overestimating the amount of tax revenue from capital gains income. The governor apparently is relying on a tax revenue windfall from Facebook’s planned stock offering this year, Bloomberg News reports.

2. The number of California residents with annual incomes exceeding $1 million jumped sharply in 2010, despite the recession, as the income gap between rich and poor continues to widen. The SacBee reports that the number of millionaires statewide rose 27 percent in 2010 from the previous year, according to the state Board of Equalization.

3. The Los Angeles City Council this week voted to walk away from its giant redevelopment agency completely in the wake of state Supreme Court’s decision to kill redevelopment in California, the LA Times reports. The 9-3 vote came after budget officials warned that Los Angeles could be on the hook for $109 million in costs if the council voted to have the city become the successor agency for redevelopment.

4. The number of foreclosure filings plummeted statewide in 2011 in the wake of the robo-signing scandal, but analysts expect foreclosures to go back up again this year as banks deal with a backlog of delinquent mortgages, the Mercury News reports.

5. Despite widespread environmental concerns about fracking, oil and gas companies are examining ways to engage in “super fracking” — a method to create deeper and longer cracks in the earth to release trapped oil and natural gas, Bloomberg News reports.

6. Oakland police have identified the two officers disciplined for covering a police nametag during Occupy Oakland raids. The Bay Citizen reports that the police department suspended Officer John Hargraves for thirty days for covering his nametag with tape in violation of state law, and demoted Lieutenant Clifford Wong to sergeant for failing to report Hargraves actions to internal affairs.

7. And winter may finally begin in Northern California next week, as weather forecasters predict that a rain storm will hit the area on Wednesday, thereby ending a long dry spell, the Chron reports.

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