When state legislators broke session Friday after finalizing a budget
deal, they did little to ease concerns from Burbank officials about
vehicle-license fee money.
The state Senate approved a $15-billion deficit-reduction bond
issue for the March ballot and a constitutional spending limit, but
legislators did not cover lost revenue for local governments caused
by the car-tax reduction, despite pledges that cities would not lose
“There were a couple of bills they tried to get to the floor
[Friday], and they were shot down on party lines,” Burbank Financial
Services Director Derek Hanway said. “It’s really disconcerting that
[legislators] broke their promise.”
The earliest that the state can act on the car tax money is
January, when the Assembly and Senate return to session, although
local officials are not optimistic for any change.
In November, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger repealed the tripling of
the car tax, money that goes to local governments. Schwarzenegger
said governments would not lose money, but neither he nor legislators
have approved new funding. As a result, cities and counties are
losing a significant portion of their funding. Burbank could lose
$4.4 million this fiscal year, Glendale could lose $8.5 million and
La Canada Flintridge could lose more than $930,000.
Officials from the League of California Cities, a lobbying group
that represents local governments, said local governments are the
only losers in the new budget.
“Local governments are the only things being cut right now,” said
Jennifer Quan, executive director of the Los Angeles division of the
league. “No other services are being affected. Education, health
services, they’re not affected. Local government is being singled
Two bills that would have funded local governments for the
vehicle-license fees failed to get to the Assembly floor Thursday.
The Assembly voted not to circumvent normal procedure and have an
Assembly-wide discussion on the bills, which were being considered in
the rules committee. Bills usually have to go through three or four
committees before making it to the Assembly floor.
“This was a political stunt,” Assemblyman Dario Frommer
(D-Burbank) said. “Those bills have to be heard in committee before
they come to the floor. They tried to do this stunt to cover
Schwarzenegger. But the fact remains that in January, you’re going to
see some action on this.
“I know the cities are stressing out about this a little bit. I’m
not overly concerned yet. We have plenty of time to deal with it, and
it’s front and center.”