Coastal Commission's budget grows during fiscal crisis


Author: Luke A. Wake

Most of us are watching or budgets closely, because times are tough. The economy is sputtering in recession and most everyone is having to cut spending on non-essentials. But, not the California Coastal Commission.

Governor Brown's 2011-2012 proposed budget is actually calling for more funds to be appropriated to the Coastal Commission. This is a bit surprising, as California remains in a perilous state of fiscal emergency. In fact, Governor Brown just reaffirmed Governor Schwarzenegger's declaration of a fiscal emergency on January 20th.

In a time where (most) everyone is focused on freezing state spending, or cutting programs, one would think that the Commission's budget would be cut–or at least the rate of annual growth would be restrained. But, the Governor's proposed budget would actually raise the Commission's budget to $17.5 Million in 2011-2012. That's up from $15.3 Million in 2009-2010, and $16.9 Million in 2010-2011. In light of his declaration of an ongoing fiscal emergency, Governor Brown must believe that these additional funds are exceedingly necessary.

So what does the Commission spend all of its money on? Well, as our Coastal Land Rights Group is well aware, the Commission stays pretty busy testing the boundaries of its jurisdictional authority, and inventing new schemes for extorting property from coastal landowners. But, the Commission has a limitless budget for litigating its cases, so who knows what the $17.5 Million budget will actually be spent on.