Budget Noose

June 15, 2009

In the wake of voters STAMPEDING rejection of Propositions 1A- 1E in the May 19th election, fiscal consequences are already brewing. As everyone knows, there have been a number of different budget proposals put forward in recent weeks. There are plans to decimate health care and family planning, cut education funding and to sell state parks. There are also a variety of plans that would borrow or take money from local government including borrowing perhaps 8% of local government property taxes, taking virtually all of the local share of the gas tax in FY 2009-10 and 72 % going forward, taking half of the Vehicle License Fee. These cuts will diminish the ability of some cities to provide basic services including police and fire protection. This whole plan resembles a cow patty.

Although, it will not create a crisis for Woodside, (unlike cities such as Oakland where bankruptcy has even been “bandied about”). Nonetheless, Woodside will not be immune from cuts. According to the San Mateo Daily Journal, Woodside’s “contribution” could be $178,635. However, Town Manager Susan George said at a recent COWncil meeting that the true figure could be more than fifty thousand dollars more, coming to between $225-$235,000!

COWncil member Debra Gordon asked for information about this from Ms. George. Unfortunately, it seems that Susan George isn’t that concerned with the money grab, saying that the Town has adequate reserves to fill that hole. Even if the Council is prepared to weather the cuts, our quality of life is impacted by the condition of the communities that surround us. COWs need to know exactly how the direct and indirect impact will be felt in Woodside and whether our COWncil is weighing in on the debate.

The League of California Cities is leading opposition to financing the budget at the expense of cities. More than 90 towns and cities around the state have already declared a state of fiscal hardship, with our neighbor San Carlos likely to join that list.

The League sponsored a Budget Action Day in Sacramento on June 3rd. We have asked and just received a response that none of our COWncil attended. The League has now rolled out www.SaveYourCity.net, a website dedicated to informing policy makers and the public on how this money grab will affect local communities. The web page also has a presence on Facebook. The site lets anyone register and submit a video, so that citizens can speak directly to the power brokers in Sacramento.

It is no secret that COW believes in letting government know your point of view, and we strongly encourage all COWs to participation in the discussion over the state cash drain. For that reason, COW will make our film equipment available to anyone who wishes to make a video for the site. After any event at which MOOtube films (generally all COWncil meetings and General Plan Update meetings) our camera operator will be happy to film your statement of your point of view, whatever your view point is, and we will upload it, as filmed, to the Save Your City site!

See you at a meeting!

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