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Calif. Budget Faces Two New Lawsuits

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The larger of the two legal challenges comes from school districts and superintendents. They say the legislature and Governor Jerry Brown are under-funding education by $2 billion, violating voter-approved Proposition 98.  Carlos Garcia is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

Garcia: "There is no easy way out of this financial crisis, but they cannot continue to put the burden of this crisis on the future of California - its children.  And we're standing here to say, we're not gonna sit here and put up with it anymore."

The other suit is in federal court and it's much smaller - around $100 million.  It's filed by advocates for people with disabilities like Tony Anderson with The Arc California:

Anderson: "We are very concerned, we are deeply concerned about the stability of the service system for people with developmental disabilities, and we feel that this is an important and necessary step."

H.D. Palmer with the governor's Department of Finance says the budget won't take any short-term hit from either suit while the challenges are argued in court.  As for the long-term…

Palmer: "There will always be the specter of litigation on any number of different aspects of the budget and the state. And there are cases that the state will lose. There are cases that the state will win.  And on the major cases that are before us right now, we believe the state's got it on solid legal footing."

…including, Palmer says, on the other major budget lawsuit, challenging the state's plan to shut down local redevelopment agencies.  That suit could drive a separate 1-point-7 billion dollar hole in the budget.

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