“Cities remain cautious as they face the most serious financial challenges in decades due to a combination of drastic revenue losses and constant state revenue grabs,” said League Executive Director Chris McKenzie.
California cities are struggling with revenue declines of up to 30 percent, forcing them to consolidate programs, cut services, close parks and reduce staff including police and fire personnel.
The state just forced local redevelopment agencies to pay the state $1.7 billon that effectively kills the most successful economic stimulus program in the state, including the loss of over 100,000 high paying jobs. On top of this raid, the legislature and governor have agreed to force local redevelopment agencies to make an additional $350 million payment to the state in FY 2010-11.
“Unless the courts reverse it,” said McKenzie, “redevelopment agencies will have to pay again next year, costing the state valuable income and sales tax revenues that redevelopment projects generate and killing local infrastructure projects that Californians need and deserve.
The proposed severe cuts to county health and human services programs also raise concerns. Although cities do not typically administer health and human services or county jails, these “safety net” county-provided services are vital to retain minimal health and safety standards for a community.
“County programs and services are very important,” said McKenzie, “We serve our local residents jointly with our county partners. The services counties provide are critical in maintaining safe and healthy communities.”
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.