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Could the state raid local funds?

July 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Local officials are urging the state to abandon a rumored plan to raid local funds to resolve California's budget deficit.Local officials cut up credit cards as a message to Sacramento lawmakers Monday: Don't take our money.

"Sacramento can't get their House in order. And it's ridiculous that they now want to come and raid our funds that go to public safety, go for roads and highways, go for hospitals, go for jails ... They want to raid our funds because they can't balance their budget. It's outrageous," said Dennis Zine, Los Angeles City Council.

Local governments are worried over a rumored proposal to take local funds money to balance the state's budget. Less money would then be spent on transportation, police and fire.

The L.A. County Fire Department could lose $43 million just as they enter fire season.

"Forty-three million dollars represents about 22 engine companies in Los Angeles County Fire. And that's an annual cost. Now, that's not to say that we would actually have to close 22 engine companies, but that is some example of the net effect," said Michael Freeman, Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The road to resolve the deficit through public funds would be bumpy in many ways. In L.A. County alone $250 million that would go to maintain streets could disappear.

In addition, Proposition 1A was approved by taxpayers to keep money from property taxes and sales taxes in the local community, but the state can borrow the money and pay it back within three years. Some feel the state won't be able to pay it back at all.

"The issue of repayment is a real issue. And the state is not even in a position to fix what it predictably knew would happen. Which tells you that it can't plan for a rainy day," said Sheriff Lee Baca, County of Los Angeles.

The state budget deficit is now $15 billion. Local leaders say taking money from local governments will only make matters worse.

 

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