Possible effects of state take-aways on the city

By Crystal Crawford

Mayor, Del Mar

The state continues to struggle with its growing budget deficit, which at the time of writing is believed to be about $24 billion. The state is considering many draconian cuts to needed programs and all interested parties are acting to preserve their particular programs. The city of Del Mar is no different. We already made many hard choices to balance our budget and we are strongly opposed to any state take-aways.

However, it is clear that expenditure reductions will not be enough to balance the state budget, and many legislators refuse to consider new taxes. Even though California voters passed an initiative designed to safeguard some local revenues, certain circumstances allow the state to either “borrow” or “take” revenues rightfully belonging to cities.

Currently the state is contemplating taking or borrowing the following local revenues: 8 percent of the property tax, all of the Highway Users’ Tax and all of the Proposition 42-Streets and Roads Tax.

Del Mar has joined other cities in declaring that the city will experience a severe fiscal hardship with the state’s [impending] seizure of local property tax funds and the continued adoption of unfunded mandates. On behalf of the city, I have written several letters to the governor sharing how, if the current plan is implemented, Del Mar will be impacted.

Del Mar has already greatly reduced its programs in the fiscal years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 proposed budget. If the state acts as currently proposed, Del Mar will lose approximately $467,000 in revenue. The city would then need to re-open the proposed budget and reduce expenditures by another 5 percent in fiscal year 2009-2010, which would amount to a nearly overall eleven percent reduction compared to the current year (FY 08-09).

I hope you agree that Del Mar simply cannot afford to give up anymore of our revenue! You can help by writing letters to our state representatives asking them to reject proposals that either borrow or take local revenues. Let’s protect our local community and our quality of life in our beautiful seaside village.