California news roundup
“With California’s unemployment rate surging to a 12-year high, the state’s unemployment insurance fund is paying out as much as $27 million in benefits a day – and it could be $500 million in the red by January, officials warned Tuesday.”
“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will meet with legislative leaders Wednesday to try to find ways to fill an immediate hole in this year’s budget that could be as large as $5 billion, according to estimates from Senate Leader Don Perata, D-Oakland. Perata said the deficit could swell to $15 billion or more by the middle of next year.”
“California’s political leaders sighed with relief last week when Congress passed the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry, hoping that banks now will lend the state $7 billion this month to stave off a cash crunch – but their semi-optimism is misplaced. Not only is the $7 billion short-term loan still up in the air, but the budget it finances is, by any rational standard, already upside down.”
“United Airlines has told the union that represents its mechanics at San Francisco International Airport that it will lay off as many as 414 workers beginning Dec. 7, as part of its efforts to contain costs. The workers will be shed in what is the second round of layoffs announced this year. The first round ended Friday, during which time 137 workers departed with an involuntary furlough …“
“Mervyns LLC on Tuesday disclosed a fresh round of job cuts, with the most recent reductions, described by the company as “significant,” descending on the struggling retailer’s headquarters. The company would not disclose the precise number of positions that it cut. One source familiar with Mervyns, though, said the reductions ranged from 200 to 300. Another source estimated the cuts equaled 25 percent of the roughly 1,000 employees at the headquarters.”
“For the past few years, the Inland Empire in Riverside County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the state – home to a major housing boom. But now the Inland Empire is pretty much the poster child for the foreclosure crisis.”
“Villaraigosa, speaking to about 500 members of the United Chambers of Commerce at their annual mayor’s luncheon at the Warner Center Marriott, said he will resist efforts to raise the business tax – which has been reduced to 15 percent under his administration – even with the city expected to face a shortfall from $250 million to $400 million this coming year.”
“The chairwoman of the National Automobile Dealers Association says the credit crunch and economic problems are likely to cause 700 auto dealers to go under this year … About 94 percent of vehicle buyers in the country finance their purchases, but even those with credit scores in the 700s, previously considered good credit, cannot get financing, Sykora said. Dealers with good credit also are having trouble getting financing for their inventories, Sykora said.”
“A U.S. federal court ruled late Friday that Vallejo, California, is bankrupt, ending a battle over its solvency and forcing the city and its creditors to begin negotiating a plan to adjust the city’s debts.”
But is there any good news? Strangely, the latest polls show both Proposition 4 (parental notification of abortion) and Proposition 8 (protect marriage) LEADING among likely voters. What a fickle lot, these California voters!
“Opponents of a campaign to ban same-sex marriage in California said Tuesday that a new poll shows them in danger of losing — unless people step forward with more contributions to pay for No on 8 television commercials. The opposition has enjoyed a healthy lead in several surveys taken by polling organizations that do not have a stake in the campaign. But officials with the No on 8 campaign held a conference call with reporters Tuesday to announce that their own poll showed the measure would pass by four points. Opponents attributed the result to fewer television ads, which is, in turn, a result of the No on 8 campaign falling behind in fundraising.”
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