The Year Ahead: Sacramento's Local Political Scene

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

**Click the LISTEN button to hear the interview.

2008 was a difficult year for cities and counties in the Sacramento region.  They’ve seen their revenue sources shrink, including property and sales taxes.  And most analysts expect the coming year to be even harder, with more service cuts and layoffs.
Bob Waste is a professor of Public Policy at Sacramento State. He says touch choices lie ahead for many residents as the economic crisis deepens.
Waste: “If it reaches a critical mass, we’re gonna have to ask ourselves one of two questions, which is: does it hurt enough for us to pay to make it better, or is the pain something that we can live with?  In other words, new taxes or less services – there’s not a third choice out there.” 
For example, Sacramento County recently cut $15 million to health and human services in the middle of the fiscal year – on top of the $120 million deficit it had to balance back in June.
But the lagging economy means even that won’t be enough.  Many local cities and counties will have to re-open their budgets in the next few weeks, even though the fiscal year doesn’t end until July.