The Suisun City Council delivered a clear message to the State Capitol on Tuesday night: Keep your mitts off our money!
While Suisun City, and other local governments across California, made tough political decisions to balance their budgets by July 1- as required by state law - the California Legislature has yet to do its constitutionally defined job of passing the State budget.
But the folks in the Capitol have managed to identify sources of funding that local governments rely upon that could be tapped to 'solve' the State's budget problem.
"The State, one again, is threatening to attack cities in order to balance their budget mess," Vice Mayor Jane Day said. "We have worked hard over the past few years to put our financial house in order.
"Instead of making the same hard decisions, the State is threatening to attack our finances - take our revenues - and toss us in the red," Day said. "This is not acceptable!"
State leaders are proposing to use provisions in Prop. 1A and Prop. 42 (transportation funds) that allow "borrowing" local government shares in times of "emergency," commonly defined as fire, flood, earthquake and the like. Not a political unwillingness to reach compromise and pass a balanced budget!
"The voters of this state have consistently voted to protect local resources from takeaways by the State," said City Council member Mike Segala, who also is a member of the League of California Cities Board of Directors. "Voters supported local revenue protection in 2004 when they approved Prop. 1A by more than 80%."
"The State seems to keep coming up with more innovative ways to avoid its obligation to adopt a structurally balanced budget by diverting local revenues," Segala said. "Already, the State has taken more than $3.5 milllion from Suisun City."
Under the current proposals in Sacramento, Suisun City stands to lose $1.2 million in the current budget year, including:
- $250,000 in transportation funds, which pays for road maintenance and Public Works operations
- $250,000 from the General Fund, the equivilent of 2 police officers, or 10% of our sworn police force
- $700,000 from the Redevelopment Agency, or 98% of our unencumbered budget that we use to support businesses, community amenities, neighborhood reinvestment and economic development
The City Council unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday night that reads, in part,
"The City Council of the City of Suisun City hereby opposes any and all efforts by state government to 'borrow' or seize local tax funds, redevelopment tax increment and transportation sales tax funds by the state government to finance state operations. Such a move would be fiscally irresponsible for the state and hamper effective local services and infrastructure investment."
The City Council also led a ceremonial cutting of the "Bank of Local Government" credit card that the State continually uses to finance its lack of discipline.
YOU CAN HELP
Contact your state representatives to let them know how you feel about how the State handles its budget problems. In Suisun City, our legislators are