Southern California -- this just in

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

L.A. supervisors to sue to block state budget cuts; other local governments expected to join

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to sue state lawmakers if they pursue plans to seize local redevelopment and highway taxes to cover the state budget deficit. Other local governments are expected to take similar actions to prevent major cuts proposed in the budget deal reached last night.

This morning, Supervisors Don Knabe and Zev Yaroslavsky proposed that county counsel sue to block any effort by the state to illegally withhold gas taxes or extend redevelopment projects, effectively redirecting taxes from the county to the state.

All of the supervisors approved the proposal except Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who was absent. “You’d think they’d be making better decisions than this,” Supervisor Gloria Molina said.

If the county sues to block the state from extending redevelopment projects, it will likely trigger a provision in the proposed legislation that allows the state to take $301 million in county Proposition 1A funds.

Knabe, who chairs the board, said state legislators inserted the “poison pill” provision so that they will not be on record as taking county funds outright.

“It’s their cover so they don’t have to deal with the issue,” Knabe said. Under the budget agreement state leaders reached Monday, Los Angeles County stands to lose $109 million in gas taxes and $313.4 million in redevelopment project funds next year. If redevelopment projects were extended 30 years, as some have proposed, the county could lose more than $8.2 billion.

The state budget proposal would also cut millions in county health and social service funding, including $53.3 million from CalWorks, the welfare program for families, $22.1 million in substance abuse crime prevention, $21 million for mental health managed care and $5.7 million in AIDS/HIV treatment and prevention, county leaders have said.

“For the State to balance its budget on the backs of the state residents most in need of help, and the counties that serve them, is fiscally reckless and morally bankrupt,” the supervisors wrote in their proposal, set to be introduced at their weekly meeting this morning. “State spending and significant tax giveaways, among other things, have brought us to this precipice.

Transferring local funds into the State treasury does nothing to address these policy failures. Taking advantage of counties that serve the elderly, ill, mentally ill, disabled and the impoverished is wrong on its face, and it is illegal,” they wrote.

The county chief executive's staff has been researching the legality of the proposals, which could hurt county fire district funding.

 “We’re told that it’s likely not legal,” said Ryan Alsop, assistant to the county’s chief executive. “There are very specific criteria on making decisions on extending redevelopment outlined in statutes.” It has been difficult for even high-ranking county officials to get details of the state budget plan.

 “The information has been essentially embargoed,” said the county’s chief executive, William T. Fujioka. “We’ve been trying every possible resource we have to get that information.” Fujioka told supervisors he expects to learn more about the state budget plan’s impact on county funding by tonight.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske at the County Hall of Administration

Related stories:

Governor, legislative leaders begin building support for their budget pact

L.A. would lose $166 million under budget deal, city says

Full coverage: State budget crisis

Comments () | Archives (13)

This is going to be an economic war of epic proportions. The only winners in the end will be lawyers as usual.

Meanwhile the big elephant in the room nobody even sees is declining oil production both nationally and in Alaska. Alaska oil is what makes this economy tick.

See for yourself how dire picture is at link below. US oil production is 50% lower today than 1970 peak. Alaska is 70% lower than 1989 peak.


Heeeeere they come. Maybe it's time for the State to go bankrupt.

Are the legislature and the governor stupid? they are passing a budget crisis not knowing what they're doing is legal or illegal?

how outrageous is that!!!

What a pathetic scam...as if county governments weren't cash-strapped enough already. The budget fix turns out to be a shakedown worthy of the old Chicago mob. Trickle-down insolvency...an idea only the nincompoops who presided over the steady growth of this mess could embrace in good conscience. I wonder if the voters who dumped Davis to bring us the Arnie Era are proud of themselves? And how far down California has to go until they're ready to reform the dysfunctional governance model?

Californians are dumb enough to fall for anti-tax measures like Prop. 13, requiring a super-majority of the legislature to approve budgets, and for term limits. They deserve what they get.

Lobbyists do not have term limits. Why do you think the California legislature is impotent against them? As soon as a legislator figures out what's really going on and begins to develop their own fund raising base so they don't have to rely on lobbyists, they're out. The lobbyists then sink their claws into the next beginner, throw them the cash they need to get re-elected, and have another one in their pockets.

This is a mess of Californians' own making.

BTW, states CANNOT file for bankruptcy. Congress would have to amend the US Bankruptcy Code to allow it, and there's no way that would get past a GOP filibuster in the Senate.

Come on, people. The democrats just want to spend money on what they designate. They say that the legislators are forcing the bulk of the cuts on "the backs of those who need it most"??? Helloooo, those backs belong to people who suck from the system. All free programs are abused, not to mention that the government loves the programs not to service the poor, but to keep the people dependent on government, thus securing their jobs. What we are actually promoting here is mediocrity and laziness. All of these programs need reform. Period. Oh, and LA city is complaining about assisting the state, but they want to pay for MJ's memorial services? Government doesn't pay for the general publics services, why his because he is famous? Screwed up, that's what California is.

My only question is this:

Are we still paying for the city council members cars,gas and insurance for them and all of their family members?
Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

-Provide Driver's license to illegal immigrants at $400 with higher renewal fees at DMV (Who would you rather be involved in an accident with? Someone that can be held accountable or someone who just gets off and runs away into the shadows.

-Legalize IT! enough said on that!

-Use Six Sigma to create a new State Government as the current one is failing to meet citizen standards.

-Get the local governments to stop wasting valuable resources and money on stupid legislation like taco truck bans (Yes you Gloria.... time for you to retire!!!!

-Charge a $5.00 toll in our borders per car

-Make the tax code work for businesses again!

It is all very simple. The cowardly California voter needs to rise up on his/her spindly hind legs and recall each and every member of the state Legislature -- all of them, without exception -- and the governor, as well.

Obama and his minions said people would have to sacrifice for the common good. Well L.A., time to sacrifice. I hope it hurts too.

Let me quote Daniel: Where are the seeds for growth and hope? Just excessive pruning and aggressive removing, endlessly, seems to be the only tactic and/or concept our government can come up with. I couldn't agree more. Cutting State Government is essential, but there is nothing in the new budget that looks forward and takes into account the future of our state. It is the Republicans that refuse to invest in the future of California, and the Democrats that don't know how to do cost accounting. The taxes that were left out are trivial things, like a $15 hike on car registration, $1.50 on cigarettes or the oil extraction tax of 9.9%. Alaska taxes oil, big time, that's how they have the money to run their state. Improving education, especially post-high school, is important, but we didn't do that. Business tax incentives are needed to help keep companies in California during this challenging time, we didn't do that, either. Rationalization of drug laws will put far fewer people in prison, but we skipped that one, too. I am very disappointed with our state leaders. Constitutional Conventions make me nervous, especially because the special interests in California are so powerful and wealthy; another anxiety inducing issues is that our liberals are so far left and our conservatives even further right that they can't work together. We need to rework our State government in major ways and that is going to take a Constitutional Convention to accomplish the rework, so as scary as it may be, it's time we move forward on the Convention, and start planning our new government structure.


California voter needs to recall the whole bunch in the state Legislature -- starting with the govenr on down.
They have proven time and time again they dont know what they are doing.
None of the solution they come up with in recent history has done anything to turn our state around.
Shame on us for allowing them to stay on the payroll and collect a check.
How many of us could do a crappy job and get to keep our position? I know at my job if I dont perform up to standard I get fired no questions asked.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: