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CA Cities Urge State to Not Take Away Funds

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As the state tries to figure out this year's budget (already two months in), cities are concerned about legislators patching the state's red ink with funding that usually goes towards city services such as public safety and redevelopment funds. Addressing that could-be problem, the state's nine largest cities are sending letters to Gov. Schwarzenegger and the respective Democratic and Republican leaders. Simply said, "Stop balancing the state budget on the backs of cities!" Here's the full letter.

Dear [leader]:

We are writing to express our concern regarding several of the
proposals being considered to balance the state budget. The most
significant of those concerns centers on proposals that would divert
local revenue or remove reimbursements for services mandated by the
State.

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We urge you to refrain from suspending, borrowing, or sweeping the
revenue that cities depend on for critical operations, services and
infrastructure. Today's uncertain economic climate has placed severe
burdens on our own budgets, and we have already made sacrifices through
our own budget process. If the State passes additional costs through to
cities, our ability to deliver basic services, including providing for
public safety, will be at risk.

Proposals to permanently sweep funds from redevelopment agencies
threaten to undermine one of the key tools that cities have to grow the
economy. Since redevelopment funds are highly leveraged, and because
agencies frequently bond against future revenue to assist in the
development of the most catalytic projects, even a small redirection of
local redevelopment dollars to Sacramento would worsen this ripple and
our prospects for economic recovery.

Finally, while we understand the need to discuss procedural reforms
that will help state government enact future budgets, using the policy
goals contained in Assembly Constitutional Amendment 19 as a starting
point for negotiations is shortsighted. Among other considerations, the
provisions of the amendment would statutorily eliminate the right of
cities to generate their own revenue and repeal the state's obligation
to reimburse local governments for state mandated programs. If these
provisions are enacted into law, we would be unable to make the tough,
long-term decisions that were necessary to adopt our own budgets this
year.

We encourage you to examine and exhaust all other options before
turning to cities through the policies described here to help solve the
state budget crisis.

Sincerely,

ALAN AUTRY
Fresno Mayor

RON DELLUMS
Oakland Mayor

GAVIN NEWSOM
San Francisco Mayor

BOB FOSTER
Long Beach Mayor

HEATHER FARGO
Sacramento Mayor

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CHUCK REED
San Jose

ANTONIO R. VILLARAIGOSA
Los Angeles Mayor

JERRY SANDERS
San Diego Mayor

MIGUEL PULIDO
Santa Ana Mayor