Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Chair of the San Diego Board of Supervisors took a defiant stance against the state government last night. Dianne Jacob delivered the annual State of the County speech at Cuyamaca College in El Cajon. KPBS reporter Katie Orr has details.
Jacob began her speech by saying San Diego County is in a good position to handle the challenging economic times ahead. But she says the county’s facing a triple financial whammy. Revenues have dropped by 90 million dollars. The pension fund has taken a 2.5 billion dollar loss in the stock market. And the state is planning to defer payments to counties for social service programs. Jacob says that would mean 63 thousand at risk children in San Diego County would not receive assistance checks.
Jacob: On Friday, we’ll mark the first scheduled delay of payments by the state. Our county is joining 23 other counties to file a law suit in response to keep the state from shirking its responsibility to these 63 thousand children that I mentioned earlier.
Jacob and other members of the board will go to Sacramento this week to meet with representatives of other counties. They want to show they won’t be responsible for the state’s poor budget decisions. About 75 percent of San Diego County’s operating budget comes from the state. Supervisor Pam Slater- Price says state lawmakers are not acting in the public’s interest.
Slater- Price: And right now they’re playing games up there and they’re just holding onto the money because they’re into a scuffle between the right and the left. And that is not fair to all the people who depend on those services. And the county itself can not afford to back them up.
In the coming year, the county will also begin looking at how to reform its pension system. Board Chair Dianne Jacob says the current benefits are not sustainable. She says increasing the retirement age or asking employees to contribute more to their plans are both ideas that should be considered. Jacob also says county government will become smaller and provide fewer services to residents in the future.
Katie Orr, KPBS News