Budget and Special Election
The long-awaited budget vote having been wrapped up, attention in Sacramento now turns to the Special Election to be held on May 19.  I am sure elections officials are very busy right now preparing for that election, and I am equally sure many counties have some angst over the costs that will be imposed – estimated at $80 million statewide.

CSAC worked hard – and continues to work – to keep those costs in the minds of legislators as they passed the budget package.  While funding was not included in the solution, Governor Schwarzenegger noted in his signing message (copy attached) that “I am signing this measure with the understanding that the Legislature will reimburse counties for the cost of the election as soon as possible.”  CSAC will continue to press for full funding, supported by the Governor’s message.  We expect this issue will be addressed in any adjustments made necessary by the June Revise.

There are seven (7) measures slated for the Special Election, six (6) related to the budget and another that had previously qualified.  CSAC has not yet taken a formal position on the ballot measures.  A special joint meeting of the CSAC Health and Human Services and the Government Finance and Operations Policy Committees will take place this week wherein those committees will consider the measures and make a recommendation to the CSAC Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee has scheduled a special meeting for Monday, March 9 to consider the package and will determine whether to move those issues to the Board of Directors for formal action at its meeting on March 19.  I have attached a memorandum prepared for the CSAC Officers explaining the process and outlining the measures.

For further information on each ballot measure, you can read them on the Secretary of State’s Webpage (May Ballot Measures).

NACo Legislative Conference
NACo’s Annual Legislative Conference begins this weekend in Washington DC. (link) The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (the “stimulus package”) and the economy will take center stage during the conference.  Featured guest speakers include U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd. (NACo Press Release)

During the five-day conference, county officials will learn more about what is in the stimulus package and how they can best utilize the federal resources. They will participate in educational workshops to explore strategies to cope with the economic downturn back home. Workshop titles include:  Safe Investments and Deposits; The Neighborhood Stabilization Program; Housing Stimulus and the New Congress; The Economy, Wall Street and Main Street – Impact on the Public and Counties; Maximizing Funding Opportunities for Your County in the New Farm Bill; NACo’s Prescription Drug Discount Card Program:  Best Practices to Help More County Residents During Tough Times; Leveraging One Stop Centers to Address Unemployment; and Connecting Social Services with the Communities You Serve.

I hope to see you in Washington DC.

Paul McIntosh
Executive Director
California State Association of Counties