HSFC_2017_01_11

(Jacob Rumans) #1

A10|Wednesday,January 11, 2017|SFChronicle.com XXXXX•


FROM THE COVER


for state building moderniza-
tion thatwas not spent.


1 Spending$2.1 billion more
on public schools and commu-
nity colleges in 2017-18, in-
stead of $3.8 billion more,by
adjusting the Proposition 98
formula that guarantees fund-
ing. K-14 would receive $73.
billion in the next fiscalyear
under the proposed budget.


1 Pausing rate increases for
child care and freezingstate
spending, including money
that implements new leg-
islation.


1 Phasing out theMiddle
Class Scholarship program so
that no newUniversity of
California or CaliforniaState
Universitystudents receive
them.The 37 ,000 students
who already receive the grants
would remain eligible, butby
2020-21 the programwould be
eliminated to save the state
$115.8 million ayear.
Assembly Speaker Anthony
Rendon, D-Paramount (Los
Angeles County), said he will
not support theMiddle Class
Scholarship cut,which would
come as theUniversity of
California and CaliforniaState
Universitysystems propose
raising tuition.
“Ending theMiddle Class
Scholarshipwould increase
the cost of astudent’s four
year educationby up to
$9,000 at CSU andup to
$20,000 at UC,” Rendon said
in a statement.
Budget negotiations in re-
cent years have beencharac-
terizedby Brown’s insistence
that thestate be cautious in
its spending, with hisJanuary
proposal providing astarting
point for six months of negoti-
ations.The last time thegov-


ernor’s proposal projected a
deficit was in 2012.
“I was surprisedby how
pessimistic the budget is,”
said AssemblymanPhil Ting,
D-SanFrancisco,chairman of
the Assembly budget commit-
tee. “He’s askingeveryone to
tighten their budgets without
muchbelt-tightening from the
executive branch.”
The governor cited lower
than expected revenue, which
fell short of estimates in five
of the past seven months.
Despite that, revenues areup
3 percentoverall.
He proposes expanding the
rainy-day fundby an addi-
tional$1 billion, bringing the
total to$7.9 billion in reserves.

Republican lawmakers
praised Brown’s commitment
to setting aside money, but
several said thegovernor is
not doing enough toaddress
the state’ s huge unfunded
pension liabilities.
“These need to bead-
dressed,” said SenateRepub-
licanLeader Jean Fuller, R-
Bakersfield.
State lawmakers have em-
phasized the need toaddress
the state’ s woefully dated
roads and bridges.In his
budget, thegovernor pushed
the same transportation pack-
age he introduced in 2015,
which would create a new$
highway user fee paidby
California drivers, plus higher

taxesat the gas pump.
His proposal, a 10-year
funding plan of nearly $
billion,would need two-thirds
approval in both houses of the
Legislature to pass.Repub-
licans said theydo not sup-
port the new fee and tax in-
crease,while some Democrats
said the plandoesn’t go far
enough toaddress thestate’s
long-term transportation
needs.
In addition to the gas tax
hike and driver fee, Brown’s
budget proposal calls for
spending $4.2 billion each
year to fix thestate’ s aging
highway system, muchof
which was built from the
1950s to the early 19 70s.

Brown said Tuesday that
it’s critical that thestate look
aheadat the likelihood a re-
cession is onits way. The
state’ s economy has been on
an eight-year upswing, three
years longer than anaverage
recovery. He said the bestway
to protectagainst future cuts
is to continue to build the
state’ s rainy day fund and
limit new spending.
One of the biggest qu estions
heading into Brown’s release
of his budget proposalwas
how thegovernorwould ad-
dress the potential loss of the
Affordable CareAct and the
federal funding that comes
withit.
President-elect Donald
Trump and congressional
Republicans have vowed to
dismantle the Affordable Care
Act, but little is knownabout
whatthey will have replace
the law.The Affordable Care
Act dramatically increased the
number of residents enrolled
in Medi-Cal, thestate pro-
gram that provides free health
care to low-income people,
seniors, people with disabili-
ties andchildren in foster
care.
The federalgovernment
covers the bulk of thestate’s
cost for the$19 billion expan-
sion to theMedi-Cal program,
which now serves a third of
the state’ s population, or
about 14 million people.
“It’s sufficient to say if they
go down that road(of repeal-
ing the Affordable CareAct) it
will be extremely painful for
California andwe will re-
spond the bestway we can at
that point,” Brown said.

Melody Gutierrez is a San
Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Email:mgutierrez@sfchronicle.com.
Twitter:@MelodyGutierrez

Brown’s cost-cutting proposals trouble Democrats


State budget from page A


Paul Chinn /The Chronicle
Gov. Jerry Brown presentsthe summary of his 2017-18 Californiabudget, which anticipates the
first deficit since 2012. Brown’s sol utions made some Democratic legislators uneasy.

the campaign,Trumpvowed
to direct hisattorneygeneral
to opensuchan investigation.
Sessions had previously
said hewould appoint a spe-
cial prosecutor to investigate
Clinton.The FBI investigation
into her email server is closed
and a preliminary investiga-
tion into the ClintonFounda-
tion is open, but officials have
said there is little basis togo
forward.
Defending himselfagainst
charges that he is racist, Ses-
sions told the panel that as
someone raised in Alabama
he had witnessed discrim-
ination firsthand. “Ideeply
understand the history of civil
rights and the horrendous
impact that relentless and
systemic discrimination and
the denial ofvoting rights has
had on our African American
brothers and sisters,” he said.
Brown, the SanFrancisco
pastor, said outside the hear-
ing room that he mistrusted
suchavowals, based on

tion of federal civil rights
laws, makes him a dangerous
choice forattorneygeneral.
The NAACP Legal Defense
and EducationalFund issued
a 32-page report concluding
that Sessions had amassed “a
deeply and consistently trou-
bling record on issues of civil
rights, racial justice, and
equality,”adding,“This is not
a close call.”
Protesters punctuated
Tuesday’s hearingby peri-
odicallyshouting, “NoTrump,
no fascist, no KKK” and other
slogans as theywere forcibly
removed from the packed
Beaux Arts room.
But Sessions, an Alabama
senator for twodecades, has
won unreserved support from
his fellowRepublicans and
appears headed for confirma-
tion. Sen. Susan Collins of
Maine, one of the last GOP
moderates on CapitolHill and
among the most likely to
swit ch sides on any issue,
personally introduced Ses-
sions as “a trusted colleague
and agood friend,” and “a
person of integrity and princi-
ple.”
Feinstein and other Demo-
crats, howeve r, raised many
areas of concernduring the
daylong hearing, drawing on
Sessions’ longvoting record
that positioned him as avoice
of thefar rig ht. As polite and
modest in his personal bear-
ing as his policy positions are
doctrinaire, Sessions “is
someonewho many of us on
this committee have worked
with for 20years,”Feinstein
said.“That makes thisvery
difficult for me.”
Drawing a distinction be-
tween his role as senator and
that asattorneygeneral, Ses-
sions pledged toabide by
laws withwhich he person-
ally disagrees.
He said unequivocally that
waterboarding is “illegal,”
despite President-elect Donald
Trump’s promise to usesuch
tortureagainstsuspected
terrorists, and also promised
to recuse himself from any
potential investigation of
Democratic presidential nomi-
nee Hillary Clinton’s use of a
private email server when she
was secretary ofstate. During


Trump’s“divisive and racist
politics, all the misogyny, and
all the dishonesty.”
Sessionswas the first, and
for months, the only GOP
senator to endorseTrump last
year, finding common ground
with the president-elect’s
hard-line views on immigra-
tion.As senator, he fought
relentlessly ag ainst efforts to
overhaul immigration law,
arguing that the record influx
of lo w-wage workers was
undermining thewages and
economic prospects ofU.S.
workers.
Clear and unwavering in
his beliefs, Sessionsstuck by
that position Tuesday, decl ar-
ing that PresidentObama’s
executive order to protect
immigrants brought by their
parents into the country as
children withoutauthoriza-
tion fromdeportation is an
amnesty thatabrogates leg-
islati ve authority.While ac-
knowledging the need toad-
dress so-called Dreamers on

humanitarian grounds, Ses-
sions said that responsibility
lies with Congress.
Sessions disavowed a
Trump proposal to banMus-
lim immigration, saying there
could be no religious test for
any immigrant.He adde d,
howeve r, that religious beliefs
cannot be eliminated entirely
as a reason todeny admission
if a personclaims them as a
motive for murder.
He also defended his belief
that the landmarkRoe vs.
Wade Supreme Courtdecision
holding thatwomen have a
right to abortionwas wrong-
headed, but said hewould
abide by the law.
Democrats have no power
to filibuster the Sessions
nomination or any other
Trump nominees.Frustrated
by GOP intransigenceover
Obama’sappointees, Demo-
crats eliminated that tool in
2013 for all nominations ex-
cept the Supreme Court.
Upon taking office onJan.

20, Trump will beable to
nominate his pick to fill the
Supreme Courtvacancy left
open sinceFebruaryby the
death of Justice Antonin Sca-
lia, anchor of the court’s right
wing. SenateRepublicans
took the unprecedentedstep
of refusing to hold a hearing
on Obama nomineeMerrick
Garland. Democrats will soon
have to decide whether to
filibuster aTrump Supreme
Court nominee.
But if Democratsdeploy the
filibuster, theyrun the risk
that Republicans will remove
that weapon by changing the
rules, the so-called“nuclear
option,” leaving Democrats
helpless to block any future
Trump Supreme Court nomi-
nee.

Carolyn Lochhead is The San
Francisco Chronicle’s
Washington correspondent.
Email: clochhead@
sfchronicle.com Twitter:
@carolynlochhead

Feinstein girds for high court battle


Feinstei nfrom page A


ChipSomodevilla / GettyImages
Sen. Jeff Sessions,R-Ala., issworn inat the start of his confirmation hearingto be the U.S. atto rney general.
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