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Governor Signs Legislation Signaling New Era in State-Local Government Finances

California State Association of Counties - July 22, 1999

SACRAMENTO - California's counties have declared the signing of AB 1661 an historic first step in restoring local government services while paving the way for a new era in state-local government relationships and finances.

AB 1661, a budget trailer bill authored by Assembly Member Tom Torlakson, calls for capping the level of property taxes shifted from local government to the state. The bill also mandates that the state pay the schools' share of property tax administration. These changes will be tied to the passage by California voters of a yet-unwritten constitutional amendment restructuring local government.

"On behalf of California's 58 counties, I would like to thank the Governor for his support of local government in the 1999-2000 budget," said Jerry Eaves, president of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and San Bernardino County supervisor.

Capping the growth of the property tax shift would amount to approximately $234 million in general purpose revenues for local government. Counties would also save $150 million annually, with the state -- rather than county government -- paying the schools' share of the property tax administration.

"Counties are very pleased that Governor Davis has joined with the Legislature in taking the next step in the process of restoring the fiscal health of local governments, especially of counties," said Steve Szalay, CSAC's executive director. "This is crucial since counties are the state's primary local government partner in the delivery of services."

With AB 1661 now signed, CSAC will turn its focus to working with the state to write a constitutional amendment that is expected to go before the voters statewide in 2000.

Steve Perez, CSAC first vice president and Kern County supervisor, said, "We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature in crafting a constitutional amendment that improves the relationship and finances between the state and local government."

For more information, contact: Pat Leary, Legislative Representative 916/327-7500, Ext. 514 or Steve Keil, Legislative Coordinator, 916/327-7500, Ext. 521

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