Evans, Noreen

Assemblymember Noreen Evans represents the 7th State Assembly District, which includes all of Napa County and portions of Solano and Sonoma Counties. Evans serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. She just launched a new blog, Evans Budget Blog at http://californiabudget.blogspot.com/.

Republicans, Not Democrats, Ended Budget Negotiations

By Noreen Evans

Senator Bob Huff (R – Diamond Bar) engaged in a cringe-inducing psychological projection when he accused Democrats of having signed a labor pledge to “spend ‘til it hurts.” The irony couldn’t be more astounding, as nearly every Republican California legislator has signed a written promise to Washington, DC lobbyist Grover Norquist to not support taxes regardless of how great the need.

To believe it was Democrats, not Republicans, who ended the budget negotiations yesterday, you would have to overlook quite a bit:

  • You would have to ignore the anti-tax ad campaigns that began running in two Republican Senators’ districts who seemed they might support placing revenue extensions on the ballot for voters to decide.
  • You would have to ignore the threat at the recent California Republican Party convention not to fund or support any Republican candidate who supported the people’s right to vote.

Unshared Sacrifice

By Assemblymember Noreen Evans

So far, I have supported Governor Brown's budget proposal. I believe he is indeed taking a mature and realistic approach in trying to balance our budget under these most difficult circumstances.

We like to talk about "shared sacrifice" in addressing this crisis, but let's not delude ourselves – the sacrifice is not actually being shared. In fact, the sacrifice is almost exclusively being asked of our children and grandchildren. Add in the elderly and the disabled for good measure and you've identified almost everyone who is sharing in the sacrifice. Now, retirees and public servants are about to be thrown onto the pile.

The Conference Committee has adopted most of the Governor’s budget proposals. Here are some of the $12.5 billion in cuts adopted thus far; you’ll notice many directly or indirectly affect children:

  • Childcare: $716 million reduction - Includes reducing the number of preschool slots by 15%

Preservation or Degradation of State Services? Let the People Speak

By California State Senator Noreen Evans

The design of California’s commemorative state quarter and the ongoing budget debate in Sacramento might seem unrelated. However, when twenty Californians sat down to deliberate upon what image would best depict the spirit of the Golden State, they settled upon the now-familiar relief of California’s founding naturalist John Muir gazing towards Yosemite’s Half Dome with a soaring condor overhead.

The Privatization of In Home Supportive Services

By State Senator Noreen Evans

Surprisingly, some Republicans in the Legislature have come out against cutting In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) as Governor Brown has proposed. The surprise was short-lived when we learned they wished to privatize the program’s administration. The theory goes that private agencies assigning IHSS contract workers will find opportunities to consolidate services and discover new efficiencies. While there is no reason why such consolidation and efficiencies couldn’t be found with the existing public administration, still I commend my colleagues for their desire to protect these most vulnerable individuals. But, as a test case in Tulare County demonstrated, privatizing these services is not the best way forward.

Public Employee Pension “Reform” or Dismantlement?

By State Senator Noreen Evans

While the Governor and Legislative Democrats grapple with the state’s fiscal crisis by proposing severe budget cuts matched with tax extensions, our Republican colleagues remain on the sidelines. Recently, however, they made their first demand – destruction of pension plans of public employees.

You remember retirement plans? Just about everyone working for a large company used to have one. Then some smart MBAs figured that corporations could save a bundle of money by dropping pension plans and substituting 401(k) – style benefit plans. The corporation would pay out less, retirees would reap “benefits” from a perpetually growing stock market, and investing firms would earn lavish fees. Of course, the market goes up and it goes down, and if an employee about to retire is caught on the wrong end of the graph, well life is tough.

Failure Is Not An Option

By State Senator Noreen Evans

Failure is not an option.

This year’s budget process is on hyper-drive, the spirit of reform is in the air, and lots of options are on the table, many of which could be up to the voters. Will my Republican colleagues’ staunch “no new taxes” pledge deny the voters a chance to vote on a compromise budget package? If so, then my friends on the other side of the aisle face a challenge.

The Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review held its first hearing on Governor Brown’s proposed budget on Thursday, January 13. In view of Brown’s desire to have the Legislature adopt the budget by March 1, we have a very ambitious schedule before us to examine the proposal and to hear the public’s concerns about it.

Scam Artists Posing as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Fraud Investigators

By Noreen Evans, State Assembly

IHSS Community: Protect Your Rights, Protect Yourselves

Nancy Riley is the long-time in-home care provider for Michael Condon, a Vietnam veteran who was recently interrogated and threatened at his home by an armed state investigator questioning his IHSS benefits. This alarming incident demands a thorough investigation and I encourage anyone with a similar experience to report it immediately.

Legislation adopted last year calls for unannounced home visits to investigate suspected fraud. However, the legislation also required the Department of Social Services (DSS) to develop protocols for these visits. These protocols have not yet been developed, so it was a big surprise to find out that unannounced visits have already begun with no guidance in place to protect anyone involved. It was also a surprise to find out that the Department plans to purchase Polaroid cameras to photograph IHSS recipients.

LAO: Real Budget Pain To Endure

By Noreen Evans, California State Assembly

I was reminded of an old saying in politics while reading the new report released this week by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO): “a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

Over the next 18 months we face a $20.7 billion gap in the state’s General Fund: $6.3 billion in the current budget year and a $14.4 billion gap in 2010-2011. A $21.3 billion out-year budget gap follows in 2011-2012.

The Volatility Monster—Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

By Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa),
Chair of the Budget Conference Committee

(Originally posted on Evans’ budget blog at http://californiabudget.blogspot.com/)

As Californians suffer through the worst recession in decades, the Commission on the 21st Century Economy and the governor are seeking massive tax cuts for the super rich. How can such an outrageous proposal be sold to unemployed, underemployed, and underpaid Californians? By calling this giveaway a “reform” to our budget crisis.

The Commission and governor suggest that the source of our budget woes is a sinister monster called--(cue scary music)--“revenue volatility.” As their story goes, if we slay the revenue volatility monster all our budget problems will disappear. So we have no choice but to give very rich people jaw-dropping tax cuts.

Costly Inaction on Corrections Reform

Noreen_Evans_2008.jpgBy Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa),
Chair of the Budget Conference Committee
(Originally posted on Evans’ budget blog at http://californiabudget.blogspot.com/

Anyone not prepared to support corrections reform legislation must justify that position against the inevitable cost of inaction: K-12 education, higher education, human services, and health care will pay the price if we don’t control corrections costs. They must also justify their position against the bloated inefficiencies of our corrections system which could be keeping Californians safer.