Our View: Hey Arnold, Fabian: Heed voters and keep hands off local money | SierraSun.com
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Our View: Hey Arnold, Fabian: Heed voters and keep hands off local money

Budget time has arrived, and, not surprisingly, the State of California is trying to dig itself out of another fiscal mess.

With California headed for a projected deficit of more than $14 billion, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators will soon hash out which agencies and programs will find themselves under the budget ax.

But if Speaker Fabian Nunez and the governor respect the voters of the state, one past favorite place to find funding should be off-limits this go round ” local government coffers.



In 2004 voters tired of having their local towns, counties and other special districts plundered by Sacramento. So they passed Proposition 1A to guard their local dollars from state takeaways.

Today, local dollars go to local causes, as they should.



But also today, with the state finding itself in another budget quagmire, local officials are beginning to get a little nervous. Despite the voters’ intention to wall off local money, loopholes exist that would allow emergency declarations to once again free the state to penalize local jurisdictions for the state’s own fiscal irresponsibility.

Lawmakers should resist the alluring choice of what looks like an easy funding fix. They should repair the state’s budget without targeting local funding.

With slumping housing values ahead, local municipalities are headed for lean enough times without having to cough up their well-budgeted dollars to the state.

And in the end, the missions of local governments and state agencies more than often coincide ” from firefighting to road repair and recreation.

So robbing local governments to fund the state is not solving the problem. It’s just passing on the hurt to the taxpayer and citizen in another form.

Perhaps now, with voters taking a stand on keeping their local money in local hands, the state will be forced to work hard on solving the long-standing fiscal problem.

That should be the case, rather than a state move to disregard a voter mandate and take the easy way out.


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