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SAN GABRIEL VALLEY DIGEST

Alhambra : Budget Suit Draws Support

March 21, 1993

Twenty-two cities and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have asked the state Supreme Court to hear Alhambra's lawsuit against Gov. Pete Wilson and the state over California's 1992-93 budget.

Alhambra is asking the court to declare unconstitutional the diversion of property taxes from the cities to fund public education. The city is also asking the court to return to cities their former redevelopment fund allotment and cigarette tax revenues.

"We expect the outpouring of support to continue," Mayor Michael A. Blanco said. He said Alhambra has lobbied other cities to write to the Supreme Court.

The state's $57-billion budget, passed last September after months of negotiations, took a chunk of the cities' property tax revenues, in addition to redevelopment funds and cigarette tax revenues, to make up a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall.

Much of these local revenues were shifted to public schools and community colleges. The League of California Cities estimates cities will lose 21.7% of their property tax revenue or more than $2 billion in the 1993-94 budget year.

City Manager Julio Fuentes said Alhambra stands to lose $1.2 million in property tax revenue next year, while the redevelopment agency could lose as much as $1.4 million.

Ed Fong, a spokesman for the state controller's office, said Alhambra's lawsuit is the first of its kind filed by a city. He said a Ventura taxpayers' organization has filed a similar lawsuit.

Cities from the San Gabriel Valley that have written to the court include Arcadia, Azusa, Glendora, San Gabriel and La Verne.

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