Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

L.A. County mulls budget picture

January 26, 2009 |  4:05 pm


Los Angeles County Chief Executive William T. Fujioka released a memo this morning outlining what it will cost the county to cover welfare and other social service payments that state officials plan to delay due to ongoing budget negotiations.

The price tag: $105.6 million for delays the state controller plans in February, and $1.423 billion if the state extends those delays until the end of August, as the governor proposed earlier this month.

Photo: Memo released today by L.A. County Chief Executive William T. Fujioka announces delays in welfare and other social service payments. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

County supervisors noted this morning that the payments and programs affected by the proposed state delays largely serve elderly, disabled and low-income residents, including assistance for youth in foster care and treatment for substance abusers and the mentally ill.

Fujioka said the county has enough cash reserves to make up for the February shortfall, about $300 million, but the money would run out within the next month.

This morning, Fujioka’s staff was investigating what services the county could legally stop offering if state delays last for more than a month, said Debbie Lizzari, a top aide to the CEO.

“We’ve talked about whether or not it is possible to borrow, but we have concerns about whether the state can be relied upon to reimburse us,” Lizzari said. “We are hoping the state does not go down that path.”

Supervisor Don Knabe, who chairs the board, has prepared a motion for Tuesday's meeting directing the CEO to oppose or soften the blow of state delays.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske