MOORLACH UPDATE — Riverside County School Districts — October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

Allow me to provide you with more scary data. This year I’ve already given you the following frightening financial details for Orange County:

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Facing Fiscal Realities — October 30, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Trick or Treat? — October 26, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Get Mad, Get Motivated — October 19, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — LAUSD vs. OC School Districts — September 18, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Measure It, Improve It — March 14, 2018

* MOORLACH UPDATE — City CAFR Rankings, Vol. 10 — February 27, 2018

Now I’m providing the results of our Unrestricted Net Positions (UNP) research just for the 23 school districts in the county of Riverside. My submission is provided below in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the Redlands Daily Facts.


Riverside County school districts are deep in red


Of Riverside County’s 23 public school districts, just one, tiny Desert Center Unified, boasts a positive balance sheet. Unfortunately, the other school districts have balance sheets that have dipped into the red.

The scoring comes as part of my new report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities.” It reviews the financial soundness of all 944 California public school districts. I performed a similar review of California’s 482 cities back in March.

The rankings derive from each district’s latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which you can find on their respective websites. In each CAFR, look for the “Basic Financial Statements,” starting with the page titled “Statement of Net Position.” Look at the top row for “Government Activities.” Then look down the column to where it says, first “Net Position,” then “Unrestricted.” That’s the number you want: the Unrestricted Net Position, or UNP.

The number will either be positive or, with parentheses around it, negative.

I also divide the UNP by the district’s population to get a per-capita UNP. If negative, that’s the amount each person in the district is in hock for, whether or not your children attend school. Citizens should be concerned about the trajectory of these negative balances, which are commonly attributed to unfunded pension liabilities. As school board members are auditioning for their jobs, they need to be held accountable for dealing with these liabilities.

If the negative number runs too high too long, it will mean cuts in teachers, equipment, band and sports, and ultimately calls for tax increases. In the worst cases, takeover by the state, even bankruptcy, is not out of the question.

Desert Center Unified’s positive number clocks at $3,055 per capita. For comparison, it ranks 38th of California’s 944 school districts, an exemplary performance. Yet I must point out it teaches just 23 students with a staff of two.

It’s all negative after that around here, with the second and third “best” being Perris Union High at ($528) and Perris Elementary at ($556). At least they were in the top half of California districts, although that’s not saying much.

The worst are Coachella Valley Unified at ($1,946) and Romoland Elementary at ($1,864), ranking 904th and 903rd of the state’s 944 districts. They languish in the bottom tenth of districts.

Among the largest districts by population, Corona-Norco Unified ranks 820th at ($1,359), Riverside Unified 727th at ($1,089) and Moreno Valley Unified 745th at ($1,118). In terms of the raw totals of how much these districts are underwater, the numbers are: ($380 million) for Corona-Norco, ($291 million) for Riverside and ($204 million) for Moreno Valley. That’s a combined deficit of almost $1 billion for just three districts.

Overall, just five Riverside County districts ranked in the top half of California’s districts, but 18 ranked in the bottom half, a truly alarming performance.

Here are the per capita UNPs for all of Riverside County’s school districts:

  1. Desert Center Unified                      $3,055
  2. Perris Union High                             ($528)
  3. Perris Union Elementary                ($556)
  4. Beaumont Unified                            ($590)
  5. Menifee Union Elementary            ($695)
  6. Palm Springs Unified                       ($760)
  7. Palo Verde Unified                           ($773)
  8. Temecula Valley Unified                 ($857)
  9. Banning Unified                               ($916)
  10. Hemet Unified                                   ($922)
  11. Desert Sands Unified                       ($947)
  12. Lake Elsinore Unified                   ($1,103)
  13. Riverside Unified                           ($1,089)
  14. Moreno Valley Unified                  ($1,118)
  15. San Jacinto Unified                        ($1,150)
  16. Val Verde Unified                           ($1,205)
  17. Nuview Union                                 ($1,265)
  18. Corona-Norco Unified                   ($1,359)
  19. Murrieta Valley Unified                ($1,380)
  20. Jurupa Unified                                ($1,631)
  21. Alvord Unified                                ($1,642)
  22. Romoland Elementary                  ($1,864)
  23. Coachella Valley Unified               ($1,946)

The tallies are part of my effort to track the per capita UNPs of California’s various government balance sheets. In addition to the city balance sheets mentioned earlier, I have tracked counties, community colleges, California State University and the University of California as well as all 50 U.S. states.

You can follow all these analyses on my legislative website. The reports will be regularly updated.

Next year is going to be especially revealing — and distressing — as the Governmental Accounting Standards Board for the first time will require balance sheets to include unfunded retiree medical liabilities, which will show even more city and school districts in critical condition.

And when the next economic recession hits, for even those modestly distressed, it’s going to be one big financial train wreck.

Let’s hope our elected school board members and their administrative staffs get in front of this serious cash management squeeze on their horizon. It’s time to be proactive, as taxpayers are not very forgiving with those who are reactive. Especially with supposed leaders who only have one solution: raise taxes.

John M.W. Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, represents the 37th District in the California Senate


This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — California School District Rankings, Group 2 — August 14, 2018

The second of 14 editions of California’s school districts finds us finishing up those that have unrestricted net assets, versus unrestricted net deficits.

Only two school districts have not made their comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs) available. This is a very small segment, considering we’ve obtained the information for nearly 1,000 districts.

We have shown these two districts at a zero unrestricted net position (UNP), but actual numbers may vary depending on some disclosure by Big Sur Unified and Linns Valley-Poso Flat Union. Based on the percentages, casting them at zero may not be a charitable gesture, as those serving a small constituency have fared better in this ranking.

We just found, in looking for a third missing audited financial statement, that another two districts have paired up for their CAFR, so we’re now focused on 935 reporting entities.

We also have our first Orange County school district, which is the only one in County to have a positive UNP. It is Fountain Valley Elementary and it is in 102nd place. Rankings 67 to 132 are provided below first.

I wouldn’t want to leave you without an interesting update discussion of SB 1421, which is provided by the Daily Bulletin and the OC Register at the very bottom below (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1421 and SB 828 — May 31, 2018 and MOORLACH UPDATE — California Cop Culture — June 19, 2018).

66 Belleview Elementary Sonora Tuolumne 45 1,711 $ 697,730 $ 408
67 Wheatland Wheatland Yuba 16 7,531 $ 3,062,000 $ 407
68 Montgomery Elementary Cazadero Sonoma 63 881 $ 354,783 $ 403
69 Hart-Ransom Union Elem Modesto Stanislaus 23 4,453 $ 1,783,705 $ 401
70 Mark West Union Elem Santa Rosa Sonoma 7 14,858 $ 5,900,143 $ 397
71 Firebaugh-Las Deltas Uni Firebaugh Fresno 14 8,998 $ 3,352,744 $ 373
72 Semitropic Elementary Wasco Kern 92 368 $ 129,145 $ 351
73 Douglas City Elementary Douglas City Trinity 69 831 $ 290,410 $ 349
74 Elkins Elementary Paskenta Tehama 100 270 $ 91,495 $ 339
75 Bogus Elementary Montague Siskiyou 93 358 $ 118,339 $ 331
76 Garfield Elementary Eureka Humboldt 96 331 $ 107,899 $ 326
77 Jefferson Elementary Paicines San Benito 107 203 $ 65,049 $ 320
78 Trinity Center Elementary Trinity Center Trinity 91 424 $ 131,760 $ 311
79 Gazelle Union Elementary Gazelle Siskiyou 102 290 $ 89,235 $ 308
80 Kenwood Kenwood Sonoma 29 4,276 $ 1,291,001 $ 302
81 South San Francisco Unif So San Francisco San Mateo 2 82,935 $ 22,830,283 $ 275
82 Flournoy Union Elementary Flournoy Tehama 104 267 $ 72,816 $ 273
83 Cuddeback Union Elem Carlotta Humboldt 79 892 $ 220,293 $ 247
84 Indian Diggings Elementary Somerset El Dorado 110 164 $ 39,078 $ 238
85 Waukena Joint Union Elem Tulare Tulare 75 1,021 $ 235,246 $ 230
86 Stone Corral Elementary Visalia Tulare 83 745 $ 170,096 $ 228
87 Lake Elementary Orland Glenn 101 418 $ 90,128 $ 216
88 Happy Camp Union Elem Happy Camp Siskiyou 72 1,304 $ 270,429 $ 207
89 Pine Ridge Elementary Auberry Fresno 84 897 $ 168,329 $ 188
90 Di Giorgio Elementary Arvin Kern 82 967 $ 180,048 $ 186
91 Browns Elementary Rio Oso Sutter 89 975 $ 135,317 $ 139
92 Klamath River Union Elem Horse Creek Siskiyou 109 470 $ 60,376 $ 128
93 Robla Elementary Sacramento Sacramento 19 20,773 $ 2,656,403 $ 128
94 Paradise Elementary Modesto Stanislaus 94 936 $ 118,285 $ 126
95 Rockford Elementary Porterville Tulare 85 1,344 $ 164,825 $ 123
96 Caliente Union Elementary Caliente Kern 95 964 $ 115,753 $ 120
97 Junction City Elementary Junction City Trinity 103 695 $ 81,391 $ 117
98 Twain Harte Twain Harte Tuolumne 48 5,468 $ 626,757 $ 115
99 Wasco Union High Wasco Kern 13 31,543 $ 3,357,016 $ 106
100 Round Valley Joint Elem Bishop Inyo 98 1,047 $ 104,672 $ 100
101 Kneeland Elementary Kneeland Humboldt 113 337 $ 26,881 $ 80
102 Fountain Valley Elementary Fountain Valley Orange 10 56,680 $ 4,442,293 $ 78
103 Indian Springs Elementary Big Bend Shasta 114 220 $ 16,282 $ 74
104 San Lucas Union Elem San Lucas Monterey 112 417 $ 28,309 $ 68
105 Raisin City Elementary Raisin City Fresno 87 2,129 $ 140,090 $ 66
106 Green Point Elementary Blue Lake Humboldt 115 233 $ 14,007 $ 60
107 North County Joint Union Hollister San Benito 80 3,668 $ 219,029 $ 60
108 Big Pine Unified Big Pine Inyo 99 1,820 $ 103,599 $ 57
109 Summerville Union High Tuolumne Tuolumne 51 9,824 $ 552,045 $ 56
110 Strathmore Union Elem Strathmore Tulare 70 5,820 $ 281,596 $ 48
111 Bonny Doon Union Elem Santa Cruz Santa Cruz 90 3,069 $ 134,295 $ 44
112 Alta-Dutch Flat Union Elem Alta Placer 105 1,950 $ 66,099 $ 34
113 Monte Rio Union Elem Monte Rio Sonoma 108 2,292 $ 60,948 $ 27
114 Oak Run Elementary Oak Run Shasta 117 608 $ 7,541 $ 12
115 Orchard Elementary San Jose Santa Clara 78 19,431 $ 223,597 $ 12
116 Modoc Joint Unified Alturas Modoc 106 5,941 $ 65,541 $ 11
117 Palo Verde Union Elem Tulare Tulare 116 2,810 $ 12,295 $ 4
118 Three Rivers Union Elem Three Rivers Tulare 118 2,363 $ 1,506 $ 1
119 Big Sur Unified Big Sur Monterey 119 465 $ – $ –
120 Linns Valley-Poso Flat Un Glennville Kern 120 642 $ – $ –
121 Fieldbrook Elementary McKinleyville Humboldt 121 876 $ (1,390) $ (2)
122 Somis Union Somis Ventura 123 3,295 $ (29,603) $ (9)
123 Lucerne Elementary Lucerne Lake 129 3,388 $ (58,603) $ (17)
124 Lassen View Union Elem Los Molinos Tehama 131 2,816 $ (79,639) $ (28)
125 Armona Union Elementary Armona Kings 149 6,533 $ (196,891) $ (30)
126 Golden Feather Union Elem Oroville Butte 135 2,756 $ (103,750) $ (38)
127 Big Lagoon Union Elem Trinidad Humboldt 122 462 $ (25,973) $ (56)
128 Vineland Elementary Bakersfield Kern 157 4,428 $ (253,793) $ (57)
129 Whitmore Union Elementary Whitmore Shasta 127 736 $ (45,336) $ (62)
130 Cutten Elementary Eureka Humboldt 166 5,307 $ (331,869) $ (63)
131 Bridgeville Elementary Bridgeville Humboldt 125 564 $ (36,684) $ (65)
132 Chowchilla Elementary Chowchilla Madera 274 22,462 $ (1,712,027) $ (76)

California bill takes aim at secrecy surrounding police officer personnel records

By tsaavedra |
Orange County Register

More than 40 years of police secrecy could begin to crumble if California lawmakers pass a new bill allowing the public release of personnel records for law enforcement officers involved in deadly force, on-duty sexual assaults and falsifying evidence.

Senate Bill 1421, by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, is the latest effort to open police records in the name of transparency. Since 1976, California law enforcement officers have been protected by statutes and court rulings — the strictest in the nation — that make it illegal to release virtually all police personnel records, including those involving wrongdoing and disciplinary action.

Past efforts to undo those protections have been rejected under withering opposition by law enforcement unions, which argue that releasing confidential personnel information would endanger police lives, fuel lawsuits and make it more difficult for officers to do their jobs.

However, Skinner said her bill is more narrow than past efforts and focuses on only the most serious of offenses. Details such as home addresses, names of family members and telephone numbers would remain exempt from disclosure. Additionally, under Skinner’s proposal, the release of information could be delayed when there is an open investigation.

“I believe the bill really balances the rights of law enforcement with the right of the public to know,” Skinner said. “(The public) will have the ability to see the agency took (its concerns) seriously. … Until we have access, we won’t be able to determine that.”

Supporters of the SB 1421 say police transparency is key to gaining the trust of the community.

Current law “allows bad officers to perpetuate and bad supervisors to continue their behavior without it ever being known,” said James Chanin, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who practices in San Francisco. “The quality of policing goes down.”

For example, an off-duty Buena Park police officer in March pulled his gun on a man he mistakenly thought had stolen a roll of Mentos from a convenience store. A video of the police gaffe went viral on the internet. Yet, under current law, it is highly unlikely the public will ever know whether the officer was disciplined or retrained. Even his name remains secret, though his face has been seen by a million viewers.

When a Cleveland officer in 2014 shot and killed 14-year-old Tamir Rice, a letter was released from his previous employer saying that agency had found him unfit to be an officer and allowed him to resign.

The release of that kind of information is a crime in California.

“The public has a right to know what’s going on with their taxpayer money, but not in this state,” Chanin said.

Existing law has become a safety net for bad cops, critics say.

In 2006, Berkeley police officers refused — citing state protections — to cooperate with a civilian probe into the theft of heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs from 286 envelopes in the evidence locker. Without police participation, the probe was unable to determine the extent of the security breach.

The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights was passed by the Legislature in 1976 as a way to keep police supervisors from framing the rank-and-file in the heat of scandal. Before then, officers could be bullied into taking polygraph tests or face losing their jobs. Police brass, according to some stories, would lean on wives and families to get confessions from officers when politically expedient.

The bill of rights basically makes it difficult to fire police officers.

That bill was coupled with a 1978 statute that prohibited disclosure of police disciplinary files to the public without court approval. Those provisions are codified in Penal Codes sections 832.7 and 832.8.

Supporters were worried that criminal defendants were using police disciplinary records to fish for evidence that would help their cases.

California’s protections were made virtually impenetrable in 2006, when the California Supreme Court ruled in Copley Press v. Superior Court of San Diego County that civilian police commissions could not publicly disclose their findings on police misconduct. As a result, some commissions could no longer gain access to personnel files. Lobbyists for the police said these protections were necessary for officer safety.

Specifically, Skinner’s bill would allow for the disclosure of reports, investigations or findings for incidents involving the discharge of a firearm or electronic control weapons, strikes by weapons to the head or neck area or deadly force; incidents of sustained sexual assault by an officer; and findings of dishonesty by an officer.

The proposal is scheduled to be heard Thursday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. It already has been passed by the Senate.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California opposes the bill because of what it believes are damaging side effects to police. Among the concerns, the group says, is that officers fearing their names might be disclosed might hesitate in the field before acting, creating a police safety issue.

State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, co-authored the bill and believes the benefits outweigh the risks.

“I’m trying to assist to getting to the truth and getting to the truth faster,” Moorlach said. “I think there has been a credibility concern about whether we are being told the truth.”


This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Dumping Developmentally Disabled — June 22, 2018

The insensitive callousness of the Democrats came through during the budget process this month in one glaring example of the true priorities of the majority party. There was an item that came up in the Budget and Fiscal Review meeting where more funding for the developmentally disabled was requested. I simply asked how that squared with the efforts by SEIU to replace individuals with this very need at a state prison facility in Stockton.

Replacing an outsourced service by a nonprofit firm was proposed so that dues paying public employee union members, with their higher salaries, first-cabin medical insurance benefits and a wonderful PEPRA defined benefit pension plan, would be hired instead. The justification was the “threat” of a lawsuit. I told my Democrat colleagues to have SEIU bring it on. It was time to stand up to this unprofessional and unbecoming bargaining unit behavior.

It turns out that union greed trumps developmentally disabled individuals who are doing an admirable job as outside contract service providers. Even when the Governor makes appointments to the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities. The supposed compassionate liberals continue to display their hypocrisy.

With a dwindling journalism population, you wonder if anyone is really listening to these budget hearings. Surely, one could see that public employee unions had bought the Legislature through campaign contributions to elect their candidates and they now are demanding payback. Such is the joy of this massive, but legal, conflict of interest.

The whole scenario brought back memories of last year, when I started asking over and over, “who’s your Daddy?” Who runs this place? It’s obviously labor unions (see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 1250 Labor Dominance — July 13, 2017 july 13, 2017 john moorlach).

At the time, this nonsense did receive some television media attention.



CTNS via Fresno TV Stations: KGPE and KSEE.

I pushed back on this tragic budget trailer bill modification during a Budget Conference Committee meeting. So, to placate everyone, the Democrats split the baby in half and they felt absolved that only half of the contract was being terminated.

You just can’t make this stuff up. The OC Register‘s and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin‘s lead editorials get it in their piece below.

Sacramento backs SEIU over disabled workers at Stockton health care facility

By opinion |

Several people with disabilities will be out of work soon after the SEIU 1000 union complained government workers should be doing their jobs.

Since 2016, PRIDE Industries has employed mostly disabled Californians to perform contracted janitorial work at the California Heath Care Facility. About 120 of the 217 PRIDE employees at the facility have a mental or physical disability.

By all accounts, the contract with PRIDE Industries has been a benefit to the facility, all the while giving people with disabilities good-paying work. But SEIU 1000, which represents government custodial workers, didn’t like the competition, and threatened to sue the state for contracting with non-public sector workers.

Now, SEIU 1000 has forced the hand of the Legislature to shift half of the jobs held by contracted disabled workers to civil service positions, a 50-50 split aimed at appeasing SEIU while allowing at least half of the disabled workers to continue working.

“This is bullying by government at its worst,” as state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, put it at a budget hearing.

Indeed, this whole episode encapsulates much of what is wrong with California government. It highlights the disproportionate power of public-sector unions, the eagerness of state Democrats to bend to the will of public sector unions and the narrow self-interest of those unions.

PRIDE Industries took up the work at the California Health Care Facility after an audit found deficiencies in cleanliness and sanitation. They not only were solving a problem in need of a solution, but they were doing so with the added benefit of providing work to Californians with mental and physical disabilities.

Only in the world of public sector unions like SEIU 1000 is there a problem with that.

A review by the Department of Finance weighing the pros and cons of the contract with PRIDE Industries underscores this point.

According to the analysis by the DOF, PRIDE “is currently cleaning the facility to International Sanitary Supply Association standards, and has proven they can complete the job.” So there was no problem with them actually doing the work; they were doing it and doing it well.

The DOF also said that PRIDE’s ability to provide “all of the required staff” mitigates recruiting and retention issues “that have been common for institutional janitorial programs throughout the state.” So they were doing it well without the problems commonly seen across California.

PRIDE was also noted to require training and certification for of its employees, ensuring they can continue to do their jobs properly. On top of it all, the DOF noted the contract with PRIDE requires lower general fund expenditures than any alternative.

The one knock against them? The “SEIU grievance.”

Unfortunately, an attempt by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, to keep all of the PRIDE positions in place failed to advance.

Disabled workers will now lose their jobs, not because they weren’t qualified or doing a good job, but because a special interest group didn’t want the competition. This should be a lesson to anyone who doesn’t understand just how low the unions will go to prevent contracting with the private sector and preserve their power.

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.

Also follow me on Facebook & Twitter @SenatorMoorlach

MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget Reverberations — June 16, 1018

Reverberations and interviews continue on the annual ritual of approving the State’s Budget. But, first, allow me to wish you a Happy Father’s Day.

The OC Register provides an electronic opinion on the best tweets at:

The OC Register also provides its proprietary perspective below, which is from its sister publication, the Inland Daily Bulletin.

The Senate addresses more Budget bills at its Monday afternoon Session. I also have a committee meeting with the Joint Committee Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response to adopt a new policy. It mirrors the policy that LA County has had in place for some time and reminds me of the changes we made at the County after the Carlos Bustamante debacle.

I will also participate in initiative hearings on the rent control and gas tax repeal November ballot measures (also see the invitation for June 21st on the latter subject at MOORLACH UPDATE — Gov. Brown’s Final Budget — June 15, 2018). So, another busy week for this Father.

State budget nudges $200 billion; offers something to love, or hate, for many

By jgraham and jhorseman | Orange County Register

State lawmakers are pushing a $199.6 billion budget that takes on homelessness, boosts education, expands state reserves and is on time for the sixth straight year — and it still ticks off people from all points of the political spectrum.

Technically, the 2018-19 spending plan, expected to be approved by Gov. Jerry Brown, is an amalgamation of 25 separate pieces of legislation, including 14 bills that were sent to Brown this week. Though spending will increase in virtually all categories, the budget also calls for a maximum contribution to the state’s rainy day fund, about $13.8 billion, something Democrats and some Republicans applauded.

“This state budget is both balanced and prudent,” said Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Riverside. “It embodies our commitment to a better California through significant investments in K-12 and higher education; child care; support for California’s small businesses; and measures to combat homelessness.”

Approval for the budget came a day before failure to act would have triggered a cut in lawmakers’ pay and, in a heavily blue state, it drew stronger support from Democrats than it did from Republicans.

Critics say that despite the projected revenue surplus amid a growing economy, the budget ignores long-term problems and fails to plan for leaner times. With the state’s high pension and retiree medical debts, and projects such as the bullet train, state water pipelines and general infrastructure improvement on the horizon, some envision a coming day of reckoning for state finances.

“Our balance sheet is still in terrible shape,” said State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, who served on the budget conference committee and advocated for using any surplus to make early pension payments or fix failing infrastructure. “Our kids are going to inherit all this debt. Sacramento needs to get in front of it, and it didn’t with this budget.”

Though several elements of the budget will be voted on next week, here are some highlights in the current package:


The biggest chunk of the state budget, a record $78.4 billion, will go toward education. That’s a 66 percent increase from where California education spending stood in 2002 ($47.3 billion, according to state data.)

In grade schools, the new budget will mean about $1,000 more per year in per-student spending, money that still leaves California among the lowest in the country by that measure. The budget also sets aside more money for the California State University system (an extra $260 million) and the University of California ($210 million more than a year ago) and new money for online programs connected to the state’s community colleges (about $110 million, according to state data.)

Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, who chairs the Assembly Higher Education Committee, was pleased with the funding levels for the UC and Cal State systems.

“The budget originally proposed by the governor significantly underfunded these institutions, which would have been detrimental to our universities and our students,” he said. “The final budget agreement not only fully funds these institutions, but also allocates an additional $5 million to the UC, and an additional $120 million to the CSU for enrollment growth.

“At a time when more and more of California’s students graduate from high school college-ready, it is critical to invest in these institutions to ensure all students have access to quality higher education.”


Some of the spending will go to help people in poverty, the chronically ill and the homeless.

For example, California will expand by 13,000 the number of people eligible for subsidized health care. Also, people on CalWorks — the state’s welfare program — will get a 10 percent raise starting next year. Both measures are part of a long-term effort in the state to boost the incomes of the poorest Californians to roughly 50 percent of the federal poverty level.

The state also will set aside up to $600 million to fund anti-homelessness projects throughout the state. The money could be used by cities and counties to pay for housing vouchers, new low-income construction projects, and other programs aimed at one of California’s fastest growing subgroups — homeless.

Of that total, Los Angeles city and county will receive an estimated $166 million combined to combat homelessness. Orange County, Santa Ana, and Anaheim could cumulatively get nearly $23 million. Riverside city and county could get $9.7 million. And San Bernardino city and county could receive $9.3 million.

“For state legislators to put forward that amount of money, it tells you that people are realizing that this is really a crisis and it’s not going away,” said Paul Leon, co-founder and president of the Illumination Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Orange County’s homeless.

“The question is how cities and counties will leverage that money. Some will do a good job. Others, I’m not so sure.”


The budget also offered money for issues that have been much discussed but un-funded in recent years.

Rape kits, for example — which have made headlines as police agencies and prosecutors have complained that too many kits remain unprocessed — will get some funding. The budget sets aside $6.5 million be funneled to law enforcement to pay for testing, while another $1 million could be set aside to find out how many rape kits remain untested in California.

“As the author (a bill) that eliminated the statute of limitations on rape in California in 2016, I am thrilled that our state budget finally includes funding to both determine the number of untested rape kits and to promptly test backlogged rape kits,” said state Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino.

“Rape victims deserve equal access to justice and testing the rape kits associated with their cases will help to identify and prosecute rapists and keep them off our streets and behind bars where they belong.”


Because California taxes wealth more than many states, the state budget rises and falls with Wall Street.

As a result, in recent years, lawmakers — particularly since Brown started his second stint as governor, in 2011 — have been focused on boosting state reserves. The idea is to have money in the event of a natural disaster or if the economy reverses course as it did during the Great Recession of 2007 and ’08. By some estimates, the new budget will create a reserve fund of about $15.9-billion by next summer, bigger than the total annual budgets of 33 states.

Some lawmakers have suggested it is time to cut taxes and return some of that money to voters.

“Even when the state is supposedly flush with cash they still cannot resist the reflexive urge to nickel-and-dime hard-working Californians,” said Sen. Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga. “Rather than give the people of this state a break and reward them for building a strong economy, this budget doubles down on the policies that make California so unaffordable.”

Others say the rainy day fund reflects discipline, if not brand-building, by Democrats once accused of profligate spending.

“This balanced, on-time budget strengthens California’s fiscal stability, addresses many of the key challenges facing our state, and makes important investments in our future,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood.

“I think I’d be justified in saying that’s a pretty impressive triple crown.”

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District. If you no longer wish to subscribe, just let me know by responding with a request to do so.