CSAC Warns That Extraordinary Costs, Decimated Revenues May Result in Drastic Cuts to County Services Needed Most
May 14, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara Floor, Communications Manager
916-926-8769; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SACRAMENTO – California State Association of Counties (CSAC) issues the following reaction to Governor Newsom’s May Budget Revision, projecting a deficit of $54.3 Billion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the state in unchartered waters, shining a bright spotlight on the essential role counties play as an extension of state government, protecting public health, public safety and delivering safety-net services. It is clear that if additional Federal funding does not occur or funding is not reallocated for critical support services, California’s counties will be forced to make catastrophic cuts to the very services Californians need right now.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of a strong county-state partnership,” said CSAC President and Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. “We are grateful for the Governor’s $1.3 billion allocation of CARES Act funding in the May Revise. These critically needed funds will help each of California’s 58 counties recoup some of the extraordinary costs for the lifesaving public health efforts to protect our communities. Counties remain concerned about meeting the increased demand for safety net services to stabilize our communities.”
The May Revise proposes to reduce state costs by shifting many current state responsibilities to counties already facing $4-6 Billion revenue shortfalls between this year and next. County human services that are most at risk of being cut include benefits for young adults in extended foster care, services for older adults who are victims of abuse and neglect, and reforms that better serve vulnerable children in the child welfare system who have experienced trauma. Avoiding negative impacts from the Administration’s proposal to realign the state’s Division of Juvenile Justice to a county responsibility would require robust discussions and collaboration between counties and the state. The condensed timeline associated with the May Revision complicates an already complex issue that has plagued the state for years.
“CARES act funding is critical to address extraordinary costs but much more is needed to preserve basic and skyrocketing safety net services required to recover from COVID-19,” said CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus. “Counties are suffering huge revenue losses that may eviscerate basic public health, behavioral health, human services, and public safety services.”
California’s counties were swift to act, flatten the curve and protect public health from COVID-19. All of these efforts will be for naught if county public health departments can’t afford personnel to trace and contain COVID-19 as restrictions are lifted. The same goes for the much needed social services and health workers protecting the at-risk elderly, youth, and disabled populations, while also providing shelter and services to those experiencing homelessness.
CSAC and California’s counties look forward to working with Governor Newsom, his Administration and the Legislature to ensure adequate funding of core safety net services continues through the COVID-19 recovery, and beyond.
California State Association of Counties (CSAC) is the voice of
California’s 58 counties at the state and federal level.
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