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Local reaction to Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget

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Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 5:55 am, Wed Jan 12, 2011.

News-Sentinel reporters queried several local officials for their reaction to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget. The responses are below.

Lodi, Galt city officials: Budget both a help and hindrance

"Numbers are on a gross, statewide level, so it will be a little more work to find out what the impact will be, dollar by dollar, on the city," City Manager Rad Bartlam said.

Because Lodi does not have a redevelopment agency, Bartlam said the proposed budget might actually benefit the city.

Brown plans to get rid of redevelopment agencies and then use the tax revenue for other services. Once the agencies' debts are paid off, Brown plans to use the $3 billion that would go to the agencies for state and local services.

Bartlam said from what he has read that money will be distributed evenly, regardless of whether a city has an agency, so that could mean additional money for Lodi.

"It's kind of like robbing Peter to pay Paul, but in this case, we are Paul," he said.

Galt does have a redevelopment agency. The city used $4 million from the agency for a $20.5 million senior housing project in downtown Galt that will provide 80 apartments. While City Manager Jason Behrmann said that project is already underway and funded, there are others that could be affected.

"Our ability to do those types of projects will be gone. We won't be able to eliminate blight and restore these parts of our community. That's a huge blow," Behrmann said.

Some of those projects include the city setting aside $50,000 to repair and upgrade the exterior of older businesses in downtown. It also is planning to use redevelopment to make the area near the railroad tracks more appealing.

Behrmann said it is hard to judge the impact because it is the first proposal and will be picked apart.

"It will be a tough year to balance between cuts and tax increases. Unfortunately, the state has made poor decisions in the past, and we don't want the state to balance the results of those poor decisions on the backs of the cities," Behrmann said.

One of the main proposals that could affect Lodi and Galt is a recommendation by Brown that cities and counties take over services currently handled by the state like juvenile justice and short-term inmate incarceration.

Lodi is in a better position than some cities to meet these mandates because it already has a jail, Bartlam said.

Bartlam plans to participate in a conference call with the League of California Cities on Tuesday to find out more about how the budget will affect local governments.

Local school officials: Uncertainty continues

"Obviously education has taken a massive hit over the last few years. Any more cuts would have a tremendously negative impact on class size and student achievement."

— Jeff Johnston, Lodi Education Association president

"While the governor's proposal offers hope to help our district stay the course for all students, we will continue to grapple with the uncertainty due to the state tax election timeline. It is paramount to our state's future that districts are supported to keep student achievement a priority. The state's economic crisis has resulted in tremendous GJUESD employee sacrifice, courage, and collaboration to sustain critical efforts for our children."

— Karen Schauer, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District superintendent

"The governor's budget is scary in the sense that it doesn't give a clear direction. ... It's very difficult to plan for the future and very difficult on employees to know what's going to happen to our organization."

— Doug Barge, outgoing Lodi Unified School District chief business officer

Supervisor Ken Vogel: Shift to local agencies a question mark

"I'm impressed that he's willing to take on the large cuts. I am concerned about how the realignment of services to counties and cities are going to work.

"I am disappointed that he wants to do away with the enterprise zone. We've worked so hard in San Joaquin County to start the enterprise zone. We pay so many fees. It seems like fewer incentives for businesses to be successful.

"He proposes deeper cuts in University of California and California State University system. I'm afraid it's going to be harder for people to attend these institutions if they don't get scholarships."

— San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel

Business reacts: Enterprise zone a key tool

"It's disappointing. The enterprise zone is one of the key tools for business attraction we use here in the region. (Note: Brown proposes to drop the zones.) It's a successful tool. There are companies here and part of their decision-making to locate here was dependent on benefits provided by the enterprise zone. It also helps retain businesses as well. Besides attracting new business, we have to focus on who is in our own backyard as well.

"The enterprise zone provides tax credits to companies that hire local workers. With the county's unemployment rate more than 17 percent, we need all the help we can get.

"I think Brown is targeting whatever he can right now. There is no doubt that California has problems and he's looking at all the avenues, but cutting enterprise zones is a concern."

— Shelley Burcham, vice president of client services for the San Joaquin Partnership

State legislators: More work to be done

"On the bright side, Gov. Brown's budget does start a conversation about real cuts that need to be discussed. However, I am disappointed that the governor did not lay out a plan for a balanced budget in the event voters do not approve his proposal to extend the current tax levels.

"I agree with the governor that the legislature needs to act within the next 60 days, and I hope the governor works with me to start reviewing programs and departments for sunset review."

— Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills

"We've got to see some real permanent reduction before we can talk about any of the other ways to enhance revenues. We'd like to see a full reduction without tax increases.

"We're still talking about $28 billion upside down. We're still spending $100 billion, give or take a billion. The devil's in the details. We've relied on gimmicks so long. We're going to have to see what those cuts really are before putting any (tax increase) on the ballot."

— State Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Oakdale

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  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 11:51 pm on Tue, Jan 11, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Jerry Bransom posted at 3:21 pm…
    01… have setup my own non-tax supported retirement fund for when I do decide to retire

    •02...some "Double Dipper" is going to get paid when I have to give up all the money I put into Social Security so far! It is not right!

    Jerry… I agree that there is much greed in the areas that you addressed. I have illustrated 2 of your statements that I hope you can clarify.

    01… What is a non- tax supported retirement plan? The only thing I can think of is some type of plan that you cannot deduct on your taxes, and the interest is taxed as earned… but I am not sure…
    02. Why did you have to give up your social security contributions? That does not seem fair.

  • Jerry Bransom posted at 3:21 pm on Tue, Jan 11, 2011.

    Jerry Bransom Posts: 363

    The first thing I want to hear about is cuts to retirement entitlements. Only in the Guvmn't or Wall Street can you get multiple retirements. I personally am not in favor of such greed and have setup my own non-tax supported retirement fund for when I do decide to retire. And it really angers me that some "Double Dipper" is going to get paid when I have to give up all the money I put into Social Security so far! It is not right!



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