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California Briefing / Sacramento

County officials may hold funds

February 13, 2009|Patrick McGreevy

Angered by what they see as a state raid on cash that belongs to them, top officials from a dozen counties converged on Sacramento on Thursday and warned of a mutiny.

In a contentious meeting attended by half a dozen legislators, the officials threatened lawsuits, vowed to withhold local taxes owed to Sacramento and said they would shut down unfunded state programs -- including those aiding children and the poor -- if the "deadbeat state," as one official put it, does not change its ways.

Their ire stems from money the state owes the counties but has delayed paying amid the ongoing fiscal crisis. Some of that cash could start flowing again if lawmakers finally pass a state spending plan in coming days. State officials may continue to hold back some cash indefinitely.

"It's incomprehensible," said Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, a certified public accountant. He told legislators: "We are not the bank, and you need to find different lenders."

-- Patrick McGreevy

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