State's Cities, Counties Fear Impact of Reagan Cuts

Times Staff Writer

Last year a $600-million local funding bill was portrayed as a long-term solution to chronic budget shortages among cities and counties. But local government officials were back in the Capitol on Tuesday, saying once again that they face deep cuts in police, fire and other local services because of a potentially sharp drop in revenue.

This time the problem is not the tax-cutting initiative Proposition 13 or a recession, but President Reagan's proposed cuts in the federal budget, which, if fully implemented, would reduce federal expenditures to the state's cities and counties by nearly $1 billion.

Overall, the League of California Cities estimated Tuesday that cities would lose $563.3 million next year under Reagan budget proposals. The County Supervisors Assn. of California said counties would lose at least $336.7 million.

"It all but wipes out what we accomplished last year," said Assemblyman Dominic L. Cortese (D-San Jose), chairman of the Assembly Local Government Committee who helped draft last year's local government funding bill, which was designed to give cities and counties a permanent and stable source of money.

Los Angeles City Council President Pat Russell, an official with the League of California Cities, was among the local government officials here Tuesday to try to generate legislative opposition to the Reagan cuts. She said cities would feel the effect of the cuts in public safety, housing and transit programs.

Russell said, for example, that Los Angeles would lose the $55 million a year it receives from the federal government under the revenue-sharing program. Like other cities, Los Angeles has come to rely on revenue-sharing funds to support ongoing government services, including libraries and parks.

She also pointed out that the proposed federal budget, in addition to eliminating funds for the proposed Metro Rail subway system, erases a $48-million annual bus subsidy and cuts out one-quarter of the city's housing funds.

"The impact of the proposed cuts would be traumatic for our city and other cities," she said during a press conference.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World