Local officials are cautiously optimistic about Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger’s emergency order to begin payments that cities and
counties lost when he rescinded the tripling of the car tax.
Schwarzenegger on Thursday announced an initial round of payments
that will be made without the need for legislative approval -- $150
million in cuts to several state programs, including the University
of California and California State University systems.
While the first round of payments are a step in the right
direction, Burbank officials are questioning where the rest of the
$2.6 billion in payments will come from.
“I am very pleased with the governor’s actions,” Councilwoman
Marsha Ramos said. “But the Legislature’s job will be more difficult
when they try to find some resolution for [future payments].”
Schwarzenegger has not said what programs he will cut in order to
restore money owed to local governments, and any further cuts he
makes will need legislative approval.
The governor authorized the payments by calling upon a provision
of budget law that allows him to order emergency payments for
government agencies that have overspent their budgets. Past governors
have used the order to provide money for prisons and health care.
Burbank stands to lose about $4 million from its general fund if
car-tax payments are not backfilled, Assistant City Manager Mike Flad
“Any enthusiasm we have because of the governor’s actions is
tempered by the question of where he is going to get the rest of the
money,” Flad said.
City officials do not know how much they will receive as a result
of the governor’s action.
Cities use car-tax money for general budget items like police and
fire departments, and other services. Burbank will begin looking at
which services and projects to cut back when it begins its midyear
budget review process, Ramos said.
“We’re going to have to look at everything and weigh carefully
what to cut,” she said.