The Senate Democrats’ plan is their response to Governor Schwarzenegger’s revised budget proposal he unveiled last month. Schwarzenegger has suggested eliminating things like California’s welfare to work program. Senate Democrats are proposing that locals take on new responsibilities for administering certain welfare and public safety programs. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says their plan would provide tax money, including a new oil tax, to help foot the bill.
“We picked things that the state is partially doing, but that the counties are also doing. And so we’re going to ask the counties to do more, and to ask them to do more we need to provide them with the resources to carry out those functions.”
The plan would cancel a scheduled cut in the car tax and transfer vehicle license fees to counties. It would also delay corporate tax breaks. Mike McGowan is a Yolo County Supervisor. He calls the Democrats’ plan a step in the right direction. He says local governments are already providing lots of services. But if the state wants them to do more, he says they need to be clearly defined with money to pay for them.
“The list of programs that the county provides is the longest list if any other form of government, from health care, to law and justice, mental health, we do elections, we do tax collection. We do all of that work.”
Aspects of the plan would require Republican votes but both Governor Schwarzenegger and G.O.P. lawmakers have said they will not support any new taxes. Republican Senator Bob Dutton is vice Chairman of the budget committee. He criticizes the plan for doing little to deal with state inefficiencies and relying heavily on what he calls questionable revenue sources.