Information has been at a premium since a budget accord was reached Monday. Members of the Legislature began to be briefed by their leaders Wednesday on some budget details, but there was an odd radio silence, and lack of paperwork, from the governor’s office on the outlines of the proposal. But some people got special inside information. Less than two hours after the accord was announced, Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth was at Chops, huddling with a troika of powerful lobbyists – Bev Hansen and George Miller, partners in one of the state’s lobbying superfirms, and Carolyn McIntyre, president of the California Cable & Telecommunications Association. We’re sure it’s just coincidence that Miller and Hansen represent Intuit, which had asked for some help from the Big 5 to crack down on California’s free ReadyReturn tax program, which Intuit feels is competing with their not-free Turbo Tax program. (This is the same Intuit that dumped $1 million into an account to help Tony Strickland in his run for state controller against John Chiang). And it’s probably an accident that McIntyre represents cable companies that wanted the benefits from last year’s “single sales factor” cuts to be applied to them as part of a budget deal. It’s good to know that while legislators, the public and the press were still scrambling for details, some lobbyists were able to get their own private briefings.
*Ed. Note: Updates and corrects earlier version with $1 million donation from Intuit.