California Democrats warn public safety will suffer if the
taxes the governor wants to extend are allowed to expire at the end
of the month. That's what will happen if the governor can't
get four Republicans to agree to his proposed budget deal.
Democrats insist the extensions of vehicle and sales tax
increases are critical to the state's fiscal stability.
Here's Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg earlier this month:
Steinberg: "It's absolutely
necessary for schools and for public safety agencies to be able to
not lay off the hundreds of people that they would otherwise have
to lay off."
Schools, yes. They get tens of billions of dollars a
year directly from the state. But will the lack of funding
lead directly to layoffs at police and sheriff's departments?
McKenzie: "The state general
fund has zero impact on the funding of police officer positions at
the local level."
Chris McKenzie heads the League of California Cities. He
says it's not the state budget that's forcing cities to lay off
police officers; it's local budgets. Police departments do
get a small chunk of change from the expiring vehicle license fee
(VLF) increase, but…
McKenzie: "It will have the
effect of losing 1% of funding available for local law enforcement
But counties get more from the VLF increase than cities do -
especially small, rural sheriff's departments that rely
disproportionately on those dollars. Ron Cottingham is
president of PORAC, which represents law enforcement unions.
Cottingham: "In the bigger
cities, it may be felt less. But in the medium to smaller
cities, it's gonna be felt more. In the rural counties, I
believe it's gonna have a tremendous impact."
Counties and public safety groups are begging GOP lawmakers to
extend the VLF. But Republicans oppose extending any
taxes. Now that the governor has vetoed the Democrats'
majority-vote budget, he has until the end of the month to find
four Republican votes.