Many local government leaders don't like California's new budget

Southland government leaders say they don't like the new state budget legislators in Sacramento passed this morning. Across the region, officials cautioned that the budget would hit counties and cities hard, for a variety of reasons. KPCC's Frank Stoltze reports.

Frank Stoltze: A range of emotions greeted the news that state lawmakers had finally passed a budget.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: We, obviously, here in Los Angeles are relieved that the legislature has finally done its job.

Stoltze: But Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa warned that the state's decision to borrow $11 billion to cover some of its $42 billion shortfall would end up hurting local transportation and other projects.

Villaraigosa: These loans, they're going to have to get paid back. So what's going to happen, more than likely? The bonds that we passed, that were supposed to go to transportation, they're going to use them again to balance their budget.

Stoltze: State legislators say they plan to borrow against the value of the California lottery, and hope to avoid some borrowing by using federal aid in the stimulus package.

The head of the Orange County Transportation Authority, though, is already projecting a $536 million reduction in public transit funding statewide, with Orange taking a $21 million hit.

Supervisor John Moorlach: Well, I happen to be on the Republican side of the equation.

Stoltze: Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach said the budget's tax increases offended him most. He said it's wrong to raise the sales tax by one cent on the dollar, and to nearly double the vehicle license fee, when people are struggling to make ends meet.

Moorlach: Well, I think the state still needs to figure out how it can contract, and how it can reduce some of the programs that it's added year after year after year.

Stoltze: Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a Democrat, said those programs help the very people who are struggling. He said number crunchers in the counties are still figuring out the budget's full impact, but he took issue with its $15 billion in cuts, many of them in social services.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: There will be hits on our clients. We do know that there's gonna be a suspension of cost of living, of COLAs, for people who are on public assistance. That's the least of the pain. If you have to do something, that's something to do without totally tossing a segment of the population under the bus.

Stoltze: Frank Griggs works at the North L.A. County Regional Center in Van Nuys. He helps people with developmental disabilities – autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy – through a state-funded program.

Frank Griggs: Regional centers, for the last decade, have been suffering continual cuts and decreases, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to fulfill our mandate.

Stoltze: The latest budget, he said, cuts again to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

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