“We have known for some time that there is no single answer to the significant structural deficit faced by the State of California, and I applaud Gov. Jerry Brown for tackling the budget immediately and offering a proposal that seeks to address the $25.4 billion budget gap with a balance of both budget reductions and revenue increases. The shortfall is staggering, but we cannot let the enormity of the deficit lead us to embrace solutions with recklessness. Simply shifting state responsibilities to the counties, especially if such responsibilities are not accompanied by sources of dedicated, stable revenues, will wreak havoc in the communities we serve.
Two components of Governor Brown’s budget proposals are of particular concern to me. The first is the proposal to transfer low-level offenders from state custody to County Probation; the second concerns the proposed elimination of redevelopment agencies.
The proposal to transfer low-level offenders from the state to the county is especially troubling. Probation already anticipates a budget gap in excess of $40 million, and Los Angeles County simply cannot shoulder the costs of housing more probationers or hiring staff to oversee them.
With regard to abolishing redevelopment agencies as proposed by Governor Brown, doing so would eliminate important tools to create jobs, stimulate the economy and develop a higher quality of life in blighted communities.
So our appeal today is to be cautious and prudent, as we explore the options for both cost savings and revenue increases. We understand the nature and extremity of the fiscal crisis facing the state. All we ask of the state is this: don’t make matters worse.”