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June 14, 2021

County leaders wrangle over trigger cuts

In a county supervisors meeting this week, the board decided in a 3-2 vote not to support a possible ballot measure by the California State Association of Counties that would guarantee counties realignment funding through a constitutional amendment.

Supervisor Margie Barrios said that the ballot measure was discussed at the last CSAC meeting, but the officials had not come to a consensus so members were asked to go back to their individual counties to get input before a January meeting. The ballot measure, “The Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Local Services Act of 2012,” would be passed on the November ballot if CSAC decides to move forward with it.

To cover the cost of a campaign to support the proposition, the San Benito County annual dues for CSAC would increase $4,000 for at least five years. The additional dues would cover the cost of replenishing the $3 million estimated as necessary to collect signatures to get a measure on the ballot and another $3 million for a campaign.

In the same meeting, County Administrative Officer Rich Inman said the triggers include a 20 percent service reduction for in-home supportive services as well as an increase in the cost for the state to house youthful offenders. Inman said San Benito County has three offenders in state, which would cost $375,000 at $125,000 per offender. He said staff would look into remanding the offenders back to the county.

“There will also be a Medi-Cal reimbursement reduction to providers,” he said. “Most of the cuts are to the U.C. and state (college) system.”

In the discussion of the proposed CSAC proposition, Barrios said that Gov. Jerry Brown has his own ballot measure planned. The governor’s proposed measure calls for $7 billion in revenue through a temporary sales tax increase and a temporary income tax increase on the wealthy that would help close the $12 billion deficit.

“We will be, I believe, fighting an uphill battle,” Barrios said. “It may hurt us. The state has a lot more money to push a measure.”

She said she believed unions, specifically the teacher’s union, would be in support of the Governor’s measure because much of the money would go to schools.

“I wonder if we are just adding more dirt to the muddy water,” said Supervisor Jaime De La Cruz, who ultimately voted to support the measure with Supervisor Robert Rivas, while Barrios, Anthony Botelho and Jerry Muenzer opposed supporting it. “It raises a lot of questions. Is it worth our time?”

Botelho said he did not think it should be the role of CSAC to campaign against other state measures.

“I don’t think that’s what we want our lobbying (group) to be doing, taking it to the voters,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the correct process. We should play the cards we are dealt.”

Inman noted that the November 2012 election could have as many as 30 propositions.

“I know for myself when I see a long list of confusing ballot items, I vote against them all,” Botelho said. “We should work with the governor.”


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