Encinitas During the December 17 Encinitas City Council meeting, the city’s state lobbyist, Jonathan Clay from the Carpi and Clay government relations firm, gave a year-end legislative summary to the council.
“The governor, because of the budget, ended up vetoing a lot of bills that typically would have gone through the legislative process. In terms of the budget, there was no good news coming from Sacramento this year. It was definitely not a pretty process. Normally, a budget is passed, per the constitution...July 1st is the deadline, and it was late September this year before we finally got a budget approved. Roughly three weeks after they got the budget approved, they called a special session to try and redo the budget because at that point they were already $5 billion in the hole. As of today, the state stopped funding for a variety of infrastructure projects, to the tune of about $600 billion dollars.”
For local governments, however, the bad news could have been much worse, said Clay. Many people in local government were expecting the governor to divert some property-tax revenues that would usually go straight to local municipalities.
The biggest hit to local government, according to Clay, came from the $350 million cutback to local redevelopment agencies, which he said might balloon to $400 million by the time the special legislative session is over. Other cuts that might come from the special session: $30 million in booking fees (money returned to cities for fees paid to the county to book suspects into county jails), and about $250 million from the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program.
As for 2009, Clay gave his prognosis to the five Encinitas councilmembers: “Ultimately, at the end of the day, we don’t see any fundamental change to make things better. The partisan divide has gotten pretty large, and we don’t see a lot of productive things coming out of Sacramento. The problem we’ve had with this budget process is it’s rumor, innuendo; it’s us dumpster diving, looking for information. Unfortunately, that’s how they’re running the budget process.”
Watch Clay’s presentation, full of bad news, by clicking on archived meetings and selecting the December 17 City Council meeting, at ci.encinitas.ca.us.