Everything from new onramps to education services could be on the
chopping block if the governor’s proposed 2003-04 budget passes the
Legislature. Faced with a $35-billion state shortfall, Gov. Gray
Davis’ fiscal plan -- announced Friday -- includes more than $20
billion in spending cuts during the next year-and-a-half. Officials
in Burbank are keeping an eye on the proposal, hoping it will be
amended as it works its way through the state Assembly and Senate.
As it stands with the proposal, the city is in for a $5-million
hit to its general fund, Financial Services Director Derek Hanway
said. The city already has asked its departments to look at items
that each could afford to freeze or cut by at least 10%.
“The question now is, is that enough based on the governor’s
proposal?” Hanway said.
Schools would make sacrifices, as well. Davis’ plan calls for a
$1.5-billion cut in education spending for public schools. Earlier
this week, local officials were evaluating how much revenue their
schools might lose. Cutbacks would come on the heels of $3 million in
district reductions last year. If Davis’ current proposal stays
intact, the district might have to consider more layoffs, officials
said. Between 90% and 95% of the district’s funding comes from the
state, Supt. Greg Bowman said.
“We are in a very uncertain environment,” Bowman said. “This is so
widespread and massive. Each district will be [affected] in different
The city’s Redevelopment Agency could lose at least $3 million.
Revitalization of the South San Fernando District, as well as
another project in the low-income housing areas at Peyton and Grismer
avenues, might have to be shelved, Community Development Director Sue
Cuts in transportation funding might mean holding off on a
Caltrans project that includes relocating some Golden State (5)
Freeway ramps and raising the railroad tracks at Buena Vista Street
and San Fernando Boulevard. A driver was killed at that intersection
last week when his truck collided with a MetroLink train.
Merchants could be hit by Davis’ proposed 1-cent rise in the state
sales tax and a $1.10 tax increase for each pack of cigarettes.
Local business leaders don’t think increasing taxes is the answer
to the state’s money problems.
“There’s no correlation between increasing taxes and stimulating
the economy,” said Susan Bowers, executive director of the Burbank
Chamber of Commerce.
One local worker also was not particularly thrilled with Davis’
effort to meet the shortfall in a way that Davis called “head on.”
“Business is already bad,” said Garen Zargarian, 47, an employee
at Mr. Tobacco, which sells cigarettes and other tobacco products.