Sunday, July 26, 2009

State Lawmakers Save Parks and Spare Cities

By Robert Gammon
Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 8:04 AM

After months of bitter negotiations, the state legislature approved a budget that saves state parks and spares local governments, but falls short of closing California's $26.3 billion budget gap. As a result, the state's budget problems will continue next year — even if the economy recovers, according to the Chron. In reaching the budget compromise, Sacramento lawmakers used a series of accounting gimmicks, along with deep cuts to state services. The governor also plans to use his line-item-veto powers to achieve more cuts and balance the budget overall. In addition, lawmakers put off making a decision on how to implement $1.2 billion in cuts to the state Department of Corrections until next month.

After intense lobbying from big-city mayors, the Legislature decided to table a proposal to raid local government coffers and take nearly a $1 billion in gas tax funds. The move could also bring an end to any plan by local governments, including Alameda County, to sue the state. The budget deal also sets aside the governor's plan to close nearly all of the state's 200-plus parks.

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