County Analyzes Likely Impact of Deukmejian Budget
Hedging his comments with liberal uses of “if” and “maybe,” the county administrative officer has found that the impact of Gov. George Deukmejian’s proposed budget on Orange County will be similar to that of the past two years.
However, Larry Parrish, in a report that will be considered next Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors, pointed out that some programs that are “already chronically underfunded” by the state will be even more costly to the county, though no specific figures were given.
The report, sketching the county budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, said that there will be no state funds for cost-of-living raises for county employees who adminster programs providing medical services for the poor and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
Orange County ranks near the bottom of the state’s 58 counties in the amount of state funds it receives per capita for those programs. Parrish urged supervisors to continue applying pressure to the Legislature to revise the formula for allocating these state funds. That formula was adopted after the 1978 passage of Proposition 13, the tax-cutting initiative. But county officials conceded that revision is unlikely.
The biggest uncertainty in the analysis, Parrish said, is the effect of federal spending cuts required by the Gramm-Rudman law. He said that Deukmejian’s budget was submitted before the federal cuts “and makes no accommodations for them,” although they “definitely affect state funding and will have to be addressed.”
Still, Parrish said that the governor’s overall budget “is similar to his previous two budgets in its effect on Orange County.”
The analysis estimated that the Health Care Agency will receive a $2.7-million increase in mental health program funds and a $963,000 boost in public health money. The child welfare services program, administered by the Social Services Agency, will get $1.4 million more. However, if the program’s caseload increases, so will county spending on the program.