Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 7, 2004 · Page 5
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 5

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Ukiah, California
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Sunday, March 7, 2004
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Page 5
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL GOVERNMENT SUNDAY, MARCH 7, 2004 - A-S Tax Continued from Page A-4 dent. They are considered likely to win over only one Democrat, Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia. They can prevail with a tie- breaking vote from Vice President Dick Cheney if only two moderates jump. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., are considered the toughest moderates to keep in line. "The senator does have serious concerns about further tax cuts," Chafee spokesman Stephen Hourahan said. "He's a question mark." Congress' budget sets tax and spending targets, but changes in revenues and expenditures are made later. The House Budget Committee debates a similar version this week. Bush wants to cut taxes by $1.3 trillion over the next decade, chiefly by making earlier tax reductions permanent. Preventing those cuts from expiring is the pillar of his economic program. "One thing we know for certain — raising taxes on millions of American families is not the answer," Treasury Secretary John Snow said Friday as new data showed scant job growth last month. "It is imperative that Congress act to make the tax cuts permanent." Congressional Republicans are ignoring that proposal this year, short of votes and wary of worsening sky-high deficit projections. The Senate plan would allow $144 billion in cuts over five years. Considered likeliest to pass are popular proposals to prevent the children's tax credit, the bottom 10 percent income tax bracket and breaks for married couples from shrinking next year, as scheduled. Letting taxes rise "would slam the door on this recovery in no time," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles, R-Okla. The Senate budget would protect $80.6 billion of those tax cuts from Democratic procedural delays that could force Republicans to produce 60 votes to prevail. That would cover the three popular reductions, plus a plan to move abolition of the estate tax up a year to 2009. Nickles could forgo the procedural protections as a bargaining chip to win support from reluctant moderates. In another challenge, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., may prevail with an amendment that would require tax cuts and spending increases to be paid for with other budget savings. No savings would be needed if supporters could muster 60 votes. Its inclusion in the budget, ironically, could help tax-cutting advocates because they could say it helps make their plan fiscally responsible. Many tax cut bills routinely win 60 votes anyway. Deukmejian named to head California prison reform panel Associated Press SACRAMENTO — Former Gov. George Deukmejian will chair an independent review panel charged with finding ways to "turn around the crisis of confidence" in California's youth and adult correctional systems, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday. Panel members said they plan a report by June, including recommendations on prison closures and the future of San Quentin, the state's oldest prison that sits on prime development land. Critics noted "Iron Duke" Deukmejian, who held office from 1983-91, helped build the state's prison system into the nation's largest during a law- and-order administration. That system has become Schwarzenegger's biggest unexpected policy crisis since he took office after October's recall election, diverting attention from his attempts to rein in the state's massive budget cri- • sis. A federal court-appointed monitor found that a prison employee "code of silence" ' protects wrongdoers and punishes whistleblowers, and recommended the Department of Corrections' former director be charged with contempt of court. A series of scathing national experts' reports criticized the California Youth Authority as a cruel version of the adult prison system, unable to meet its responsibility to rehabilitate children before it's too late. And the system's spending is out of control, routinely exceeding its budget by hundreds of millions of dollars. A lucrative labor contract with the powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association was the focus of the latest in a series of state Senate oversight hearings Thursday. Friday's announcement came the same day as a sentencing reform group, the Justice Policy Institute, released a study panning California's decade-old "three strikes" law, championed by Schwarzenegger adviser and former Gov. Pete Wilson, as ineffective and unfair to minorities and nonviolent offenders. There are no boundaries on the panel's recommendations, including sentencing changes, said Joseph Gunn, who was named the panel's executive director. Gunn was executive director of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and co-chaired the independent review panel that investigated the city's Rampart police corruption case. •He said Schwarzenegger is in mmm WINE LOVERS! -Every Monday in March receive 1/2 off any bottle of wine w/ purchase of an entree.(Please mention this ad) Restaurant open nightly - closed Tuesday. Bar open 7 days - live music every weekend. For reservations: (707) 744-1 890 S. Hwy. 101, Hopland, www.hoplandinn.com Mondays 10am to 11p,m. * Saturdays ttnoon to 11pm ' & Drawings for *60 • 2pm until 10p.m. with an *8QO Drawing at tt:00p.m. Hors d'oevvres £ cake will be served lunch '1.50 • Four '100 Drawings * 1pm to 4pm (No Drawings on tne» 14-tn) 7-F6ur U*f Clover Prawlngt Cash prize* from $90 to $100 concerned the youth authority is "set up for the 1950s and hot the 2000s, and maybe they have to be brought up to modem times." When it comes to breaking the alleged "code of silence," Gunn said, "This is not something you're going to change overnight. This goes back to a whole ethics and culture issue" that may involve wholesale retraining. Panel consultants are Robin Dezember, Deukmejian's former undersecretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency and Wilson's former chief deputy finance director; and George Camp, a former administrator in the federal, New York and Missouri prison systems, now with the Criminal Justice Institute in Middletown, Conn. Schwarzenegger said Deukmejian's experience as a legislator, state attorney general and governor makes him the ideal chairman. Governor Continued from Page A-4 sonality because it's new, it's fresh. People are enjoying the unexpected." Some might say Arnold is just being Arnold. Schwarzenegger's ousted predecessor Gray Davis — a Democrat whose personality sometimes seemed as starchy as his shirt collars — rarely sought out politicians of either party for companionship or advice. He ate the same thing for lunch every day — steamed broccoli and a turkey sandwich, hold the mayo — and lived almost anonymously in a tract house in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger, conversely, counts movie stars and mansions among his tools as a lobbyist, and appears eager to bring lawmakers into his world. The Senate Republican leader, Jim Brulte, recalls being waylaid in a Sacramento hallway by the governor, who needled him about not returning a phone call. Before he knew it, Brulte was boarding Schwarzenegger's jet to attend a Lakers game and fund-raiser in Los Angeles. "Even though he's probably the most well-known person in the world today, if he was sitting here one-on-one with you, he would make you feel like you were the most important person in the world. That's a huge skill," Brulte said. As Schwarzenegger took the stage Tuesday night for his victory speech, he was surrounded by formerly warring Democrats and Republicans, including state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, whose effort to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants was overturned by Schwarzenegger, and Democratic Controller Steve Westly, who Schwarzenegger calls his "twin brother." The governor has even gotten chummy with Davis, who appeared with the man who took his job on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to plug the budget fix. Off stage, the acclaim hasn't been unanimous. Schwarzenegger, who rarely takes questions from reporters, has been taken to task for treating the Capitol press corps more like personal publicists than guardians of the First Amendment. In a recent column, The Sacramento Bee suggested his repeated references to bodybuilding and his movie star past have grown stale. Even within his own party, some conservatives fault him for pushing another round of state borrowing. "I think there are a lot of mixed feelings," said Mike Spence, president of the conservative California Republican Assembly. Still, the governor doesn't get everything he wants. Nunez, for example, knows that differences will come in time despite his friendship with the governor. "I'm not intimidated by him or anyone else," he said. For lawmakers, especially the seasoned ones who consider the capital as much a rarified atmosphere as Hollywood, Schwarzenegger's star power creates an awkward dynamic. Democratic party leaders have warned their elected members not to be blinded by his celebrity, but more than one wary legislator has been seduced by his quick handshake and toothy smile. "There is clearly that celebrity thing buzzing .around ... which helped him get elected," said Sen. John Burton, the Legislature's highest-ranking Democrat. It remains to be seen whether Schwarzenegger can keep capitalizing on his fame and wealth once wrangling over the state budget begins in the spring. But at least one person is banking on it. Sandra May, manager of the Capitol's gift shop, has stocked up on Schwarzenegger bobbleheads, pins and commemorative coins. "I think he really wants to get down to business and be seen as the governor, even though I will probably have T-' shirts that say 'The Governator,'" May said. Associated Press Writer Lisa Leff in Sacramento and, Beth Fouhy in San Francisco contributed to this report. CRUISE I -on CASH VALI i;" At close of Escrow for you or your loan referral Specializing in: CREDIT PROBLEMS • DEBT CONSOLIDATION • FORECLOSURES \ « BANKRUPTCY • COLLECTIONS • 1ST TIME HOME BUYERS > ZERO DOWN *2NDS ODD PROPERTIES • CONSTRUCTION LOANS 1-800-627-1886 Open weekends Pete Kerston - Broker/Owner lie. R.E. 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