Assemblyman Obernolte

Our Guest Speaker on July 18th was California State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte.
Rory read a detailed biography that the secretary would rather not re-type, so let’s just say that Mr. Obernolte is a very accomplished businessman, and has been serving the community and the state for a very long time!
One note – Jay’s son Troy was a camper at RYLA this year!
Jay is the Vice-Chair of the California Budget committee, the Appropriations Committee and the Budget Conference. A few words about this year’s budget: The largest in history at $138,000,000,000. There are some good items – more money for education, and a significant deposit to the Rainy Day Fund. Jay would like to see more rainy day funding, as our revenue is quite variable – 1% of our taxpayers come up with 50% of our income tax revenues. If we have a blip in the economy, we go south real fast.
Jay described our current fiscal surplus, and the Legislature’s habit of setting up repetitious reserve accounts – which is a ruse to avoid sales tax reduction.
This year’s budget is up 9% over last year; up 6% last year. Seems like spending as getting harder to control.
Jay reports that we were able to avoid a new tax on water. He believes that the expenses necessary should come from the General Fund – which is what will happen. The surplus will hopefully also fund new expenses for the statewide 911 phone program. Also: GOOD NEWS – The Fire Fee (Tax) has been repealed! You have paid your last fire fee.
Jay spent a few minutes on our unfunded liabilities – which are for the most part, held by local governments, not by the State. Big problems – maybe up to 1 trillion dollars. It turns out the local governments are starving – and it’s very difficult to get funds from the state. Jay feels pretty strongly that funds should be sent back down to the locals.
One program that Jay is pretty proud of is his Transparent Tax Increase legislation. He has managed to get passed and signed a bill requiring any legislation that necessitates a tax increase to be labeled as such – so the tax payers know what’s going to happen.
A quick comment on two special taxes – Cap and Trade and the gas tax both increase what it costs to buy gas – Jay is sponsoring legislation to repeal the gas tax.
If you need help with the State – Call Jay!!!
[note: our club photographer, Bob, was out; picture courtesy Shannon Dunkel, Assemblyman Obernolte staff member]