Monday, January 10, 2022

Last Call For Big Time Budgets

It's January, which means state governors are introducing their budgets for the year, and nobody's going bigger than Gavin Newsom in California.

Backed by soaring revenues amid the pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday proposed a budget that would pay for the health care of all the state’s low-income residents living in the country illegally, while cutting taxes for businesses and halting a scheduled increase in the gas tax later this summer.

California taxpayers already pay for the health care of young adults and people 50 and over living in the country illegally, provided they meet certain income requirements. Now, Newsom wants California to become the first state to cover all adults who are living in the country illegally, a move that would eventually cost $2.2 billion per year.

“We’re doing something that no other state has done,” Newsom said.

Newsom said his $286.4 billion budget proposal tackles five of the state’s biggest problems — what his administration called “existential threats” — including the surging coronavirus pandemic; wildfires and drought worsened by global warming; homelessness; income inequality including the lack of health insurance for some immigrants; and public safety, including combatting a recent flurry of coordinated smash-and-grab robberies.

The “existential” label is usually applied to climate change and the pandemic, Newsom acknowledged, but he said homelessness, the rising cost of living and public safety are “understandably top of mind in terms of people’s concerns.”

The governor said his budget includes a $45.7 billion surplus, which is larger than previous estimates because his administration uses a different definition of what counts as surplus.

The proposed $2.2 billion program to aid immigrants in the country illegally would not take effect until January 2024 to include “all low-income Californians, regardless of immigration status,” Newsom said.

The state has made great strides in reducing its uninsured population in recent years, but the largest single group left behind under the state’s Medicaid program are low-income residents in the country illegally.

The state began covering immigrants 26 and under in 2019, and those 50 and older last year.
But I was told that California was a failed Socialist state that was doomed to collapse 15 years ago and everyone moved out to Texas.
Here's there thing though: Newsom's budget, a whole hell of a lot of it, will become law because Democrats actually do things like cut taxes AND increase services.
Here in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear's budget proposal, which will 100% be ignored by the nearly three-quarters Republican supermajority in the state legislature, is a lot more modest.

Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday unveiled “record funding” of an additional $2 billion in pre-K to 12th grade education as part of his upcoming budget proposal.

Beshear’s proposed budget would fully fund universal pre-K for all 4-year-olds with $172 million in each year of the biennium and fund full day kindergarten.

“It is more than affordable... a something we must do,” Beshear said of the pre-school proposal.

Republican lawmakers did not immediately comment Monday afternoon.

Beshear is also proposing a 16.9 percent increase in SEEK funding, the dollars provided to K-12 schools for everything from transportation to support for special needs students.

There is a 12. 5 percent increase in the SEEK based per pupil funding formula for elementary and secondary schools.

The budget proposal fully funds school district costs for student transportation. That is $175 million annually, an 81 percent increase over the last budget.

“We are not burdening our schools with an unfunded mandate,” Beshear said.

Kentucky needs to make sure it is paying the people educating children what they are worth, Beshear said.

The proposal includes a minimum 5 percent salary increase for all school personnel, in additional to salary schedule increases for certified educators. He said its the first identified pay increase in a budget since 2006 to 2008 and there will be no health insurance premium increases for school employees, Beshear said. He said Kentucky ranks 42nd nationally in starting salaries for teachers.

He is providing $26. 3 million each year for a student loan forgiveness program that provides a maximum of $3,000 a year annually to help a teacher pay off student loans. Educators can stay in the program for five years if they are teaching in Kentucky. His proposal fully funds teacher’s pensions and medical benefits, all measures to keep them in the classrooms.

Beshear’s proposal provides $22.9 million each year to restore professional development as well as provide funding for textbooks and instructional resources.

With the proposed funding, Kentucky teachers would not have to dip into their own pocket to provide resources for their classrooms, he said.

Beshear provided an additional $6 million each year in funding for the state’s 874 family resource and youth service centers for 1,200 schools, which Beshear said provides items such as coats for students. He said their funding has not been increased for years.
California's surplus is only a couple billion short of Kentucky's entire biennial budget, but it doesn't matter, as state House Republicans filed their entire budget last week.

Kentucky House Republicans filed their first draft of the state's two-year budget plan Friday, ahead of Gov. Andy Beshear's budget address next week.

It's been a common practice in Kentucky: the governor unveils his budget plan and the legislature then follows. But on Friday, the Republican majority unveiled theirs early, with no warning.

"I don't know if it's petty or excitement or what, but I'll leave that up to Kentuckians to decide," said House Floor Minority Leader Joni Jenkins.

She says just like her Democratic colleagues, she was taken aback.

"I've been in Frankfort, this is the beginning of my 28th year of service and throughout Democratic and Republican governors, I have never seen the legislature put forth their budget before the governor gave their budget address," Jenkins said.
The message from House Speaker David Osborne is clear: Beshear is irrelevant.
He's not wrong.
The problem is 4.5 million Kentuckians remain irrelevant to Osborne and the KY GOP, but people here will vote for themselves to be miserable long as they remain better off than *those people*.

Another Year In Gunmerica, Con't

Turns out that the real reason for the massive homicide spike in the last two years is even more guns here in Gunmerica.

After murders in the United States soared to more than 21,000 in 2020, researchers began searching for a definitive explanation why. Many factors may have contributed, such as a pandemic-driven loss of social programs and societal and policing changes after George Floyd’s murder. But one hypothesis is simpler, and perhaps has significant explanatory power: A massive increase in gun sales in early 2020 led to additional murders.

New data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) suggest that that indeed may have been the case. According to the data, newly purchased weapons found their way into crimes much more quickly and often last year than in prior years. That seems to point to a definitive conclusion—that new guns led to more murders—but the data set cannot prove that just yet.

The ATF data are the result of tracing nearly 400,000 firearms in 2020. According to the bureau, firearms are traced only “at the request of a law enforcement agency engaged in a bona fide criminal investigation where a firearm has been used or is suspected to have been used in a crime.” Not all guns recovered by law enforcement are traced, and many guns that are used in crimes are never recovered by law enforcement to begin with. But the ATF’s data are the most robust source available for evaluating the increased use of firearms in the United States in 2020.

What’s most startling in these new data is the degree to which firearms purchased in 2020 featured in crimes committed in 2020. The ATF’s data set includes a measure known as the “time to crime” of each gun traced—the time from when a firearm was legally purchased to when it was recovered after a crime. On this metric, an enormous shift is apparent: The number of traced guns whose time to crime was a year or more increased by less than 1 percent in 2020 compared with 2019, but the number of guns whose time to crime was six months or less increased by 90 percent.

Prior years looked quite different. Only about 13 percent of guns traced from 2015 to 2019 were recovered within six months of purchase. In 2020, 23 percent were. In total, the average time to crime fell from 8.3 years in 2019 to seven years in 2020, and just about half of the guns traced in 2020 crimes were purchased three or more years prior to recovery, compared with more than 70 percent a decade ago. Moreover, states with greater upticks in gun background checks—meaning more purchases of new guns—also saw greater increases in new guns recovered in and traced to crimes. All told, what this reveals is that guns used in crimes in 2020 were newer than in the past. Additionally, more guns were recovered in 2020 than in 2019 across a host of crimes. “You do see these guns ending up in risky situations more quickly than in the past,” says Aaron Chalfin, a criminology professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Everything is an excuse to buy MOAR GUNZ and MOAR AMMOZ you see, and with more firearms in the hands of the American public than we have people in the country almost, it's no wonder that things designed to do lethal damage to living beings are working as the manufacturer intended.
Just another year in Gunmerica.

I Don't Buy Mike Rounding On Trump

Not sure why South Dakota GOP Sen. Mike Rounds would be on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, as he's a back-bencher in the minority party with no leadership roles, but that's how the media treats Republicans (when's the last time, say, Catherine Cortez Masto or Tom Carper were on a Sunday show?) over Democrats. Rounds did make some news I guess with a...less...than enthusiastic endorsement of Trump in 2024.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said on Sunday that while he previously stated he would support the next Republican presidential nominee, he would take a "hard look" at supporting former President Trump if he ran again in 2024.

ABC "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos asked Rounds, who has shot back at GOP assertions that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, if he could support Trump if he ran for office again.

"I will take a hard look at it," said Rounds.

"Personally, what I have told people is, is I'm going to support the Republican nominee to be president. I'm not sure that the eventual nominee has even shown up yet," he said. "There's still — we're two years to go, where we're going to focus on the next election cycle. It's critical that we take back the House. It's critical that we take back the United States Senate."

Rounds said that he would leave it to the courts to decide whether Trump can run for office again. Democrats have been quietly exploring ways to prevent Trump from running for president again, including using the 14th Amendment.

"I think this is an issue which the courts can decide. And, most certainly, if there's evidence there, this is going to be up to the Justice Department to bring it forward and to move with it. But, once again, every single person has protections under that system. The former president has protections under that system as well," Rounds told Stephanopoulos.

"But this is something that should be decided in the courts. And I don't think it's something that we should be legislating on right now,"
he added.
Now, "I'll support the eventual nominee" is boilerplate dodge, but "If the Justice Department has evidence it's up to them to bring it forward" may be the first time I've heard any congressional Republican admit that Merrick Garland is anything other than a fiendish legal hitman working for Biden to take our freedoms and crap. 

Not only that, but it's an admission that hey, Garland may indeed have the goods, which is weird because Rounds doesn't serve on Judiciary or Intelligence. The Democrats aren't going to try to pass any legislation based on the 14th Amendment to ban Trump from running for office again, that's just not going to happen.

But...maybe Merrick Garland really does have something.
And yet, nobody doubts Trump will still be the GOP kingmaker in 2026.


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