Brown Budget May Cost Los Angeles County $2 Billion

Wednesday, 12 Jan 2011 07:53 PM


(Updates with Ryan Alsop comments from third paragraph.)

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Los Angeles County may face $2 billion in additional costs under the budget proposed by California Governor Jerry Brown, according to a report.

The nation’s largest county, with more than 10 million residents, may see state welfare funding cut for more than 37,000 families and a shift of 13,550 felons from state prisons to county jails under the proposed budget, according Ryan Alsop, assistant chief executive officer. The county’s assessment of the proposed spending plan’s effects was released today.

“The realignment the governor is proposing is a great big cost-shift,” Alsop said today in a telephone interview. “You can understand why we’re a little bit nervous about what’s happening. The cost-shift without the additional revenue would bankrupt all counties in California.”

Brown, 72, proposed closing a $25.4 billion deficit over the next 18 months by shifting $5.9 billion in costs to counties and making them responsible for services the state currently provides. The governor said his “historic” realignment plan would cover the counties’ extra costs in part by getting voters to extend certain taxes through a special election in June.

“Government will be closer to the people,” Brown said in a Jan. 10 press briefing about his budget. “We’ll give them the money, but they make the tough decisions on how to manage it.”

Meetings Planned

William Fujioka, the county’s chief executive officer, and department heads will meet tomorrow with Brown in Sacramento, the state capital, to discuss the proposed budget, Alsop said. The governor, a Democrat, outlined the spending plan Jan. 10, a week after taking office.

Under Brown’s plan, the task of monitoring 30,000 parolees would be given to Los Angeles County’s probation department, Alsop said. “They’re murderers, gang members and rapists that we’ll now have to monitor,” he said.

The report pegs the cost of the additional parolees to the county at $185.3 million, while the shift in prisoners would cost about $450.5 million.

Brown’s budget calls for eliminating $5.8 billion in state spending for health and human services in addition to the $5.9 billion shift in costs.

Swelling Welfare Rolls

Many of those who may lose benefits because of proposed changes in eligibility for state welfare may apply for a county- run program that provides $221 a month in cash assistance, Alsop said. The number of people getting help from the program, known as general relief, has increased 60 percent in the past two years, he said.

The county needs to look for ways to spend money more efficiently, Gloria Molina, a member of its Board of Supervisors, said yesterday at a meeting. As an example, she said the county might stop paying for 24-hour camps that supervise juvenile offenders who could be monitored at home.

“This state has to get its fiscal house in order,” Molina said. “If you aren’t part of the solution, then get the hell out of the way.”

--Editors: Ted Bunker, Pete Young.

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: William Glasgall at wglasgall@bloomberg.net

© Copyright 2015 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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