Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers are approaching 100 days on budget negotiations as California continues to edge toward fiscal calamity. The governor met with legislative leaders for about two hours Sunday and left out of state. No deal has been announced on how to address a $42 billion shortfall.
MISERABLE IN MAUI
Meanwhile, state lawmakers haven't let the state's financial problems disrupt their lifestyles. Campaign records show several lawmakers checked into the Fairmont Hotel in Maui -- on campaign donation money -- two days after the start of an emergency budget session. And a lead senator on budget issues left the crisis to go to India. One taxpayer group says lawmakers should avoid luxury journeys when the state is in disarray. (LA Times)
MORE CALIFORNIANS NEED HELP
Local news from across Southern California
Counties up and down the state are reporting a surge in caseload for social services. In Riverside County, the number of families receiving food stamps has doubled since 2007, while the number of families enrolled in the state's welfare program, CalWORKS, jumped 32 percent. All this is happening as the state halts payments to counties, prompting local governments to threaten suit.
PUBLIC EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND INVESTMENTS WAY DOWN
The California Public Employees Retirement System is demanding Wall Street make some changes after losing more than a quarter of its value in the last seven months. The nation's largest public pension fund wants businesses to open their books more and federal agencies to adopt stricter rules.