Knabe Statement On Proposed 2009-2010 Los Angeles County Budget

Supervisor Don Knabe, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, issued the following statement on the 2009-2010 County Budget proposal:

The Chief Executive Officer’s plan for the Los Angeles County 2009-2010 Budget reveals that our County is not immune to the financial shortfalls and challenges that are facing other levels of government, but fortunately, Los Angeles County is on better financial ground right now than many cities and counties because of our purposeful planning and financially conservative budgeting practices.

Even so, our conservative budget planning is not enough. Revenue is declining dramatically and we do not have enough money to pay for ongoing services and programs. So far, the County has been able to absorb many of the hits to our budget in the current year without resorting to any personnel reductions or reductions in services.

Unfortunately, the upcoming fiscal year will require some cuts to departments to help close our General Fund operating deficit and we will have much more work in the months ahead in order to close our financial shortfalls. The County is not immune from the perils of our current economy and additional cuts may be needed to continue on an ongoing basis until our economy recovers.

Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors will adopt a budget that will be balanced and on-time, just as it is every year. The County does not have the luxury the Federal or State government has with continued deficit spending. The County must, by law, adopt a balanced budget ever year on time. We will do that again this year, but it will require some creative ideas and shared sacrifice. For example, many of the County’s partners in delivering service, our public safety labor groups, have already signed a one-year extension to expiring contracts with no increases to salary or benefits. More of this type of shared sacrifice will be required going forward to ensure our balanced budget protects critical programs and has the least possible impact to services.