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California Budget Woes

July 11, 1993

Your article concerning the state budget (July 2) has a graphic showing "How You Could Be Affected." It looks like a "what is missing from this picture" puzzle.

You list the effect on tenants, on students at community colleges and the Cal State and UC systems; you list the cuts to welfare parents and their children; cuts to the blind and disabled and to general assistance and Medi-Cal. You even list the continuation of the sales tax for consumers.

What is missing? Nowhere in the picture is there any effect on tax expenditures--those nice little loopholes that allow the more affluent to deduct mortgage interest payments on second homes and yachts; those deductions for 80% of sometimes very questionable business expenses such as country club dues and posh meals.

No--you did not leave them out. The governor and our state Legislature deliberately left them out; they hardly even discussed them to help balance our state budget. It's much easier to take property tax money from cities and counties and special districts; it's always easier to balance a budget by cutting aid to those most in need. Besides, renters and welfare recipients don't vote. They are silent chickens while those loopholes are sacred cows. Let's start discussing the cows as well as the chickens.



* Sheriff Sherman Block is optimistic because the extension of a half-cent increase in the state sales tax will provide "full funding for his force for the next fiscal year" (July 1). At the same time we read that county library hours are being drastically reduced and some branches closed. When will the people of Los Angeles County and our elected representatives realize that funding for our libraries is equally important for our well-being?

Branch library reading rooms are full of young people who might otherwise be out on the streets painting graffiti or engaging in other undesirable activities. Our libraries must be kept open.



* In response to Bill Boyarsky's column, "Victims of Sacramento's Budget Deal," June 30:

Boyarsky suggests that Los Angeles County has been victimized in the new state budget due to "public safety concerns of middle-class voters." This is ludicrous. Public safety is a prime concern of all Californians. Asians, blacks and Hispanics are as fearful of crime as residents of the enclaves Boyarsky mentions, and have demanded that public safety be given more than lip service.

The new budget will hurt L.A. County, which, since 1978, has received a disproportionate share of the Proposition 13 bailout funds from Sacramento. It will now take a bigger hit. The travesty of the new budget is that the county supervisors have whined and waxed nostalgic for a return to the good old days of unlimited tax and spend profligacy.

The budget cuts could easily be offset if the supervisors brought county personnel costs in line with those of the taxpaying sector of the economy and ceased paying for health care for illegal aliens at a cost of over $200 million per year.

On the Assembly floor, Willie Brown castigated the supervisors for not putting their own house in order and seeking to benefit at the expense of others (June 25). For once, he made some sense. I only wish Boyarsky and the supervisors would take his message to heart.


Long Beach

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