Local Counties: Budget Not Good, But Could Have Been Worse

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, September 22, 2008

Sacramento County Budget Officer Linda Foster-Hall is keeping her eyes peeled for the governor’s red ink.  She’s worried about programs like Medi-Cal, in-home supportive services, food stamps and the health-related programs that counties run with state funds.
Foster-Hall: “Those are of critical concern to us, because if in fact the state continues to ask us to provide those programs but with a lower level of service, we’ll have to go back in and evaluate the impacts to the county and to our clients.” 
Neither Sacramento nor Placer Counties will say how much money they’re losing under the new budget just yet.  But Yolo County will lose around $3 million.  Still, Yolo Assistant County Administrator Pat Leary says it could have been much worse.
Leary: “In looking at the legislature and the governor’s recognition of the protections that we earned in Prop 1A a number of years ago, which protected local government from just coming in and taking away our property tax in order to solve the state’s budget problem, that did not happen this year and that would have been devastating for us.” 
After the governor’s done, the counties will start wading through the budget and its 14 trailer bills to figure out the damage.  Then, officials will recommend the trickle-down budget cuts for approval by each county’s Board of Supervisors.