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ATTORNEY GENERAL: Still Cooley with 45.9%, Harris with 45.8% -- but slightly different vote totals....

* Latest tally, posted at California Secretary of State website as of 4:10 p.m. today, is as follows:


   Cooley   - 3,940,205   -  45.9%

   Harris     - 3,928,805   -  45.8%


Cooley lead = 11,400


WASHINGTON, D.C.: Proposal for deep cuts in tax breaks and spending; "a test or an opportunity" for Pres. Obama?

* Washington Post:  "Panel Weighs Deep Cuts in Tax Breaks and Spending" - From the WP:

   A draft proposal released Wednesday by the chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan commission on reducing the federal debt calls for deep cuts in domestic and military spending starting in 2012, and an overhaul of the tax code to raise revenue. Those changes and others would erase nearly $4 trillion from projected deficits through 2020, the proposal says.

   The plan would reduce projected Social Security benefits to most retirees in later decades — low-income people would get higher benefits — and slowly raise the retirement age for full benefits to 69 from 67, with a “hardship exemption” for people who physically cannot work past 62. And it would subject higher levels of income to payroll taxes, to ensure Social Security’s solvency for the next 75 years. But the plan would not count any savings from Social Security toward meeting the overall deficit-reduction goal set by Mr. Obama, reflecting the chairmen’s sensitivity to liberal critics who have complained that Social Security should be fixed only for its own sake, not to balance the nation’s books.


   The commission’s chairmen — Erskine Bowles, the president of the University of North Carolina system and a former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, and Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican Senate leader from Wyoming — said their plan was “a starting point” for the nine other Democrats and seven other Republicans on the commission, who met Wednesday behind closed doors. That was clear from the reactions of their colleagues, none of whom embraced the whole package. Several of them made clear that they would not support it without big changes.


   Should the package of proposals fall short of the necessary 14 votes in the deficit commission, as many people expect, proponents of deficit reduction, including some administration officials, hope that at least some of its recommendations could be the basis of efforts to pare deficits once the economy fully recovers. In any case, the proposals will pose a test or an opportunity for Mr. Obama as he adjusts to the election drubbing that cost his party control of the House and reduced its Senate majority — depending on whether he tacks to the political center and embraces them in his own budget early next year, or shifts more to the left and leaves them on the shelf.


L.A. CITY HALL: "Padilla 'Definitely Looking' at Running for Mayor"....*[UPDATED]

*** Speaking today at a luncheon meeting of the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum, Sen. Alex Padilla indicated that he is "definitely looking' at running for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013.

* Downtown News:  "Padilla 'Definitely Looking' at Running for Mayor" - "Former City Council President May Aim to Succeed Villaraigosa in 2013" - From the DTN:

   Count State Senator Alex Padilla among the group of politicians considering running for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013. Padilla, who before moving to the state served on the City Council for seven and a half years, including four and a half years as Council president, this afternoon acknowledged that he is contemplating getting in the race to succeed Antonio Villaraigosa. He made his comments at a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.

  “I’m definitely looking at it,” Padilla, whose 20th senate district covers much of the San Fernando Valley, said during the event at the Wilshire Grand Hotel. “This is home. I love the city. After seven and a half years I know City Hall fairly well.”

  Padilla became the third figure in recent months at a Current Affairs Forum event to acknowledge that he is looking at running for Los Angeles’ top elected office. In October, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, when asked if he would enter the race, said, “I’m going to think about it…. I’ll make a decision at an appropriate time."  In June, current Council President Eric Garcetti said he has not yet decided whether or not to run, and that he anticipates making a decision within 18 months.

****Note:  For those who are not already aware of this, the writer of Emma's Memos is also the person behind the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum; this is something that I have been doing for a l-o-n-g time, more than 20 years....

*UPDATED -- Also, a report in the: Los Angeles Times: "Padilla says he's weighing a run for mayor in 2013" - And, in addition to his remarks about a possible mayoral candidacy in 2013, LAT further reports:

   Padilla predicted that Democratic Gov.-elect Jerry Brown would be more effective in dealing with the polarized, Democrat-dominated Legislature than was Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, not just because of party but also because Brown has vastly more political experience. Brown has "more of a respect and appreciation for the art of governing," Padilla said. Nonetheless, if Brown "can't get traction" with the Legislature, he won't hesitate to take his initiatives directly to voters, the senator said.

   Padilla also said he could envision a scenario in which voters would be asked this spring to choose between two budgets: one made up largely of program cuts and a second combining cuts and measures that would improve revenues.  During the campaign, Brown promised not to raise taxes without voter approval.


SACRAMENTO: Latest estimate of budget deficit for next year, $25.4 billion; figure is twice what had previously been anticipated....

* Executive Summary of report from the Legislative Analyst's Office regarding California's budget outlet for the 2011-12 fiscal year -- a deficit of $25.4 billion.  From the LAO report:

   $25 Billion Budget Problem Needs to be Addressed in Coming Months

   Our forecast of California’s General Fund revenues and expenditures shows that the state must address a budget problem of $25.4 billion between now and the time the Legislature enacts a 2011–12 state budget plan. The budget problem consists of a $6 billion projected deficit for 2010–11 and a $19 billion gap between projected revenues and spending in 2011–12.

***And to perhaps put the new figure in perspective, it is twice as large as legislative leaders had been estimating.  Report on this from the Sacramento Bee:

   Gov.-elect Jerry Brownwill face a massive $25.4 billion budget shortfall next year - twice as large as legislative leaders were anticipating - according to a new projection from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.

   California faces another major budget problem because tax rates are slated to drop next year, the federal government will provide far less relief to states, and state leaders enacted a flimsy fiscal plan last month. Of the $25.4 billion, $19.3 billion is projected for the 2011-12 fiscal year that begins in July. The remaining $6.1 billion is due to overly optimistic assumptions in the current 2010-11 budget plan.

   The latest deficit is several billion dollars larger than last year's problem, which led to the longest budget delay in state history. Lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not enact the budget until Oct. 8, the 100th day of the fiscal year.


ATTORNEY GENERAL: Cooley lead, 45.9% to 45.8%

* Latest tally, posted on Secretary of State website as of 10:01 today, is as follows:

  Cooley   - 3,895,569     - 45.9%

  Harris   - 3,886,014      - 45.8%


Cooley lead = 9,555