State Legislators May Steal County and City Money to Balance the State Budget

While state officials look for ways to steal county and city tax dollars to fill in the huge State deficit, local officials worry over the impacts. Legislators were supposed to vote on a State budget today.state_capitol_1-12-09

In the Town of Mammoth Lakes, officials confirmed a preliminary figure of a potential cut of gas tax in the amount of $1.5 million – this on top of other local cuts, including the latest one of $624,000.

Mayor Neil McCarroll said Senator Dave Cox and the Town’s lobbyist are both checking on definite impacts. The Mayor said time is needed to carefully plan a response. “We’ll get through this,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem John Eastman feels the unsteady economics call for a total $2.5 million cut from town government. “2.5 million is a responsible number to cut,” said Eastman, who also said the Town needs clarification from the State.

In Mono County government, Finance Director Brian Muir said that the county still has no definite information, but he said if the State suspends Proposition 1A that will mean a grab of 8% of county property taxes. That would mean $1.7 million for Mono and potentially a loss of $1.2 million in gas tax.

Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio was unavailable for comment. Presumably, the same possibilities exist for Inyo – a loss of property tax money and gas tax dollars.

At the City of Bishop, Administrator Rick Pucci continues to look for definite information on impacts to Bishop. He did say a month and a half ago, the State took $84,000 of Bishop’s property tax money.

Apparently, the State officials’ failures over recent years to balance the budget will now cost many around the State.

One more note. The Mono Lake Committee reported that the budget deal apparently includes a $70 million cut to the State Park System but backfills with other funds to produce a net $8 million cut. The Mono Lake Committee concludes that Mono Lake and Bodie will likely remain open and staffed, though probably at reduced levels.


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