More Painful Budget News for Schools, County

Governor Schwarzenegger and the State legislative leaders have an agreement to close the additional $26 billion gap that occurred after adoption of the state budget. This agreement will carry plenty of pain for local public schools and Alameda County residents, who must brace for more reductions in services to children, the elderly, the poor and the disabled.
The budget deal, which still must be approved in Sacramento, calls for $4.3 billion to be diverted from local governments into the state’s coffers. In addition, the cuts will include an estimated $6.1 billion for school districts and community colleges, including retroactive cuts for the 2008-09 school year, as well as $2.8 billion to the university and state college systems.
The new round of reductions announced by the Governor and legislative leadership will come on top of cuts to local services that Alameda County approved on June 25 by adopting a balanced final budget for 2009-2010, which closed a $178 million budget gap.
Alameda County is particularly concerned about the state’s plan to take more local revenues — property tax, gas tax and redevelopment funds — to pay its bills. Alameda County stands to lose as much as $40 million more in local property taxes “borrowed’’ by the state in the coming year, while the move to take local gasoline taxes will cost the county $35 million over the next two years and decimate county road maintenance and traffic safety programs.
The budget also calls for shifting $1.7 billion in local redevelopment funds to the state, which will carry another $9 million impact on Alameda County. The state’s spending plan also includes significant cuts to health, social services, public safety and other programs that will impact Alameda County residents.
“The Governor and the legislative leadership may have an agreement but unfortunately, they do not understand the dire impacts it will have on the critical safety net services for our most vulnerable populations – children, the elderly, the poor and the disabled,’’ said Susan S. Muranishi, Alameda County Administrator.’’