Budgets are a zero-sum game; when one group wins, that means another group must inevitably lose. As a community, California’s local governments fell into both categories. Counties have taken over dozens of services from the state but will receive billions in funding to do it. Cities have lost revenues and redevelopment, forcing them to continue to find new and cost-effective means for delivering services.

The sting for cities is particularly painful, considering many hoped to be insulated from these sorts of budgetary face-slaps and state raids by means of Proposition 22.

But lost revenues isn’t the only way that cities were injured in this year’s flurry of budget bills. Other bills have advanced that limit local government’s ability to exercise home rule. New limits on municipal bankruptcy have been proposed; new hurdles for privatization are moving through the assembly, and two bills want to eliminate an entire city.

From the Sacramento Bee:

The state budget is a zero-sum game, especially when adding revenue is not an option, as happened this year.

Ultimately, therefore, budget politics dictate that there will be winners, at least relatively, and losers. And details of the just- enacted 2011-12 budget make this year’s winners and losers starkly evident.

The winners are the K-12 education establishment, especially the powerful California Teachers Association; the prisons, especially the powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association; and county governments, which will receive about $5 billion extra to pay for Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet “realignment” program.

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