State Reaches Budget Deal; L.A. County Might Sue


Gov. Schwarzenegger and the state legislature have reached a tentative budget deal--and L.A. County doesn't like it a bit. Nor do many others.

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From the Los Angeles Times report:

Less than 24 hours after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders announced a plan to close California's massive budget deficit, Los Angeles County officials moved to sue the state, a union for government workers said it might strike, and Republicans threatened to back out of the deal over a provision to cut the number of prison inmates by 27,000.....

Some of the most heated reaction came from city and county government officials. The plan would seize $4.7 billion in local funds through a variety of measures, essentially shifting part of the state's deficit to the local governments. The prospect of losing $313 million in redevelopment funds and $109 million in gasoline taxes prompted the lawsuit threat from Los Angeles County supervisors, a move other local governments are expected to echo.

The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting assessment of winners and losers in the budget deal, in which they point out that all players in Sacramento have both wins and losses in the deal.

Peter Schrag at the progressive California Progress Report is disgusted with the Democrats over the deal and the fact that, facing $26 billion or so in deficits, spending cuts will be made:

The real shame here belongs to the Democrats who at this critical moment seem to have left their progressive traditions in some Orwellian time machine. The smiles with the governor and the hopeful declarations of their leaders accompanied what can only be regarded as capitulation to the anti-tax fanatics of the legislature's Republican minority.

In the process, they reinforced the illusion that you can cut megabucks out of the budget without hurting anyone very much. So the CalWorks welfare program was only decimated but not shut down altogether. So the state will grab two billion in property taxes from local governments, but they'll muddle through. So the University of California and the California State University will be shorted by some $3 billion. But their doors are still (sort of) open.

The schools and community colleges will be hit for another $4.3 billion on top of the billions they lost in the deciduous budget deals cooked last September and February. The majority of voters, few of whom have kids in school, may hardly notice. And then there are cuts of a billion in social services, two billion in health, 2.1 billion in transportation and one billion in corrections.

Among the controversial cuts not mentioned by Schrag is a prison budget cut that might result in early release for some prisoners--which might make state Republicans back out of the total deal, as the Fresno Bee reports.

Past City of Angles blogging on the messy path to a state budget deal.

(Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

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