Local News

Oct 8, 2010 9:11 PM by Ariel Wesler

Local agencies get long-awaited funding after state budget passes

California Lawmakers have finally passed a state budget after a record 100 day impasse.

The state senate passed the budget 27-9, bridging a 19 billion dollar budget deficit. The budget package contains no new taxes or fees, but the plan also *delays nearly two billion dollars in payments to K-12 schools and California's Community Colleges.

What seems like an annual tradition has put a major strain on our community. Dr. Betty Miller is Vice President of Administrative Services at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria.

"From July through September, we've had about $9 million of cash payments withheld," Miller said.

The school says it should receive that money by the end of the month, which will help with some administrative expenses.

"We were relieved that the growth funding was maintained. We really didn't expect that that would survive the process," Miller said.

That's another $400,000 that will help keep its current level of student programs and services, but the package also delays two billion dollars in education payments statewide.

"We had close to $7 million being withheld. This will increase this number to about $9 million," Miller said.

So, they'll be slightly short until July.

"We've all had to dip into our lines of credit and other means to survive these hundred days," said Joyce Ellen Lippman, Director of the Area Agency on Aging.

The agency expects to receive a million dollars in federal funding. The money had to first go through the state, which couldn't release it until they passed a budget.

Still, educators and social service providers know their not safe yet.

"The cuts to the medical program, the cuts to the in home supporter services, these of course will affect seniors, and we're all concerned to see the final details," Ellen Lippman said.

and hoping the numbers will add up.

Legislators admit the plan does make some optomistic assumptions. They're counting on receiving $5 billion from the federal government, far more than it's received so far. It also plans on an economic recovering generating another $1.5 million. If both plans fall short, the new governor will face another deficit in January.

The governor has said he planned to use his veto power to cut another $965 million from the budget before giving his approval.

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