Arizona Governor Jan Brewer gave out her state budget proposal Monday. Yuma County officials are hard at work figuring out what it would mean to our communities. All three plans have been laid out. While local officials crunch the numbers on the governor's plan, they're very concerned about the senate's.
Governor Brewer's 2010 budget proposal is now on the table and being reviewed, along with the Senate and House of Representatives. County adminstrator, Robert Pickels, says the senate's proposal is most concerning. It would have the counties pay 100 percent of the Arizona long-term care system.
"It's a state program, which the local governments have no say in. They're proposing that the counties assume that financial responsibility, as soon as the fiscal year 2011," Pickels said.
Another proposed shift would require the county's vehicle license tax to pay for k-12 education. Officials say the budget impact will most likely not be felt until the following fiscal year. "It's a drain on our local resources for the upcoming year. It's going to put us in a bad position to start following fiscal year. That is when we would have to start talking about what we are going to cut and where we are going to cut," Pickels said.
Yuma Mayor, Larry Nelson, says the senate's proposal does not solve the budget crisis. It just passes on the burden.
"They tried to sweep our impact fees and have us give them, for instance, to the schools. Well the city's not responsible for the schools, the state's responsible for the schools," Nelson said.
Nelson says one item in the governor's proposal could solve a lot of the problems.
"They're proposing a 3-year, one-cent sales tax, and hopefully that will get the state out of the problem that they're in," Nelson said.
Pickels says the county will get through whatever is thrown their way. "We've positioned ourselves so that we try to account for all possible scenarios, unless it's something very extreme that we haven't planned for," Pickels said.
Pickels admits the biggest issue is timing, since the county's budget has to be balanced by the end of the fiscal year or June 30, the same day it's supposed to be handed down by the state.