County Seeks Constitutional Protection in State Budget Discussions

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a joint motion by Supervisors Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas to pursue a State Constitutional Amendment to secure adequate and permanent funding for any services the State moves under local control.  As part of the State’s efforts to manage its $26 billion budget shortfall, the Governor has proposed shifting responsibilities for certain programs and services to counties and local jurisdictions.

In response, the Board of Supervisors instructed the County’s Chief Executive Officer to continue working with the Brown Administration and the State Legislature to pursue Constitutional Protection that provides:

  • A guarantee of revenue that covers realigned program costs including current and reasonable growth for the first five years of realignment;
  • A guarantee of revenue for the realignment of programs for the sixth year and beyond that is at least as much as the revenue generated each year if the revenue sources from years 1-5 remained in effect, and continues uninterrupted;
  • A guarantee that the full increase in the cost of delivering a realigned program due to any State or Federal mandate, statewide judicial action, or the imposition of Federal penalties, be paid by the State for as long as counties have the responsibility for those realigned programs; and
  • A guarantee that if the State does not provide counties with revenue for realigned programs for the sixth year and beyond that is consistent with item b above, counties would be authorized to withhold that amount in property tax revenues.

“We want to work with the Governor and Legislature, but we cannot do so at any cost,” said Supervisor Knabe.  “The biggest issue is that the State cannot shift these programs to local government without funding.  Most of the services we provide are mandated by the State or Federal government and are the final safety net for people in despair.  The State doesn’t have a good track record and has historically underfunded the County for programs we deliver on their behalf and already owe us millions of dollars for similar realignment efforts. We must have a long-term guaranteed source of funding and we will seek a constitutional amendment to guarantee that protection now and beyond the five years of the Governor’s proposal.”