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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > California Environmental Compliance

California Budget Framework Finalized Feb 12, 2009

California's budget is tight for the coming 17 months...and it's not final. But here are the updates approved Feb 13, 2009.

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NOTE: Thank you to all our California Green Solutions readers who submitted letters of support for the CCC: California Conservation Corps -- this powerful green jobs program has been saved!!! Carolyn

Thursday, February 12, 2009, Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) briefed the environmental community on the proposed budget framework—he was very careful to characterize it as a "framework" not a "deal" per se—focusing on the environmental policy and regulatory concessions that are part of the package.

Some of the key points from Senator Steinberg's briefing:

  • If passed, this budget will cover a 17-month period from now through June 2010, making this the earliest budget ever enacted.
  • Even though the budget for next fiscal year would be done, the legislature would still hold budget subcommittee hearings this spring and probably need to make some adjustments down the road.
  • Senator Steinberg defended the proposed spending cap/restriction stating it will give the state a more "robust rainy day fund" and described the package that will be presented to voters:
  • If voters do not approve of spending cap, then increased taxes will automatically be levied.
  • If voters approve of spending cap, then cap will only be implemented on the General Fund and not on special funds or new fees revenues.

Environmental policies to be included in the budget package include:

  • CEQA exemptions for the sale of surplus state property, however Senator Steinberg stated any sale of surplus state property must still be approved by Legislature
  • Williamson Act subventions will remain in the budget
  • California Conservation Corps was saved (Governor had proposed eliminating) and funding will remain in the budget
  • CEQA exemptions and some looser permitting conditions for eight Prop 1-B funded highway projects (the two biggest—Caldecott and Hwy 50—settled, so off the table)
  • Delay and amend the Air Resources Board interim diesel retrofit regulations – this was viewed by many environmental groups as the most egregious concession
  • Agriculture diesel to be made eligible for Carl Moyer Program
  • Unlimited design-build for public-private partnership projects with a sunset date of 2017
  • Protected the independence of the California Air Resources Board
For details see the Sacramento Bee or Capitol Weekly.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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