Budget's Local Impact Still Unknown

July 21, 2009 7:47:44 PM PDT
Fresno City and County officials are still waiting to hear how the state's budget plan will affect Fresno, but they do know there will be an impact. "It will hurt counties and cities significantly. It appears they're taking from local government to balance the state government," said Fresno County Administrative Officer John Navarette.                  |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

Under the plan, California would borrow nearly two billion dollars in property taxes. It would also take two billion in gas tax money that it wouldn't repay. "If they take gas tax money, which is what is being proposed, it would impact road repairs and improvements," said Navarette.

Education is also taking a six billion dollar hit. The budget plan includes reductions and delayed education payments and mid-year cuts are still possible. "The one situation is we give you a check, but it's going to be reduced. We give you a check, but it's going to be delayed. And we're going to give you a check but we're going to take some back. Those are the three things that have happened to us, so we don't know we we're at yet," said Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Larry Powell. Powell says for the most part, it will be business as usual at the county's schools this year because of federal stimulus money. But Powell says the problem will come next year when that money runs out.

Those who rely on CalWORKS also face cuts. Though the state's welfare program was spared from complete elimination, it will still take a $528 million dollar hit. "At least we have the safety net still in place, we just don't know what the changes to the employment and childcare services will be," said Steven Rodriguez, the deputy director of the county's Department of Employment and Temporary Assistance.

Local officials expect to learn more about how the city and county will be affected after a vote has been taken and a budget deal is finalized. At this point, the superintendent of schools says he's telling districts not to adjust their budgets just yet because things could still change.

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