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Archived News Release from 2003

For Immediate Release

Redwood City Expresses Disappointment With Governor's Veto

Redwood City, CA - February 4, 2003 - With Governor Davis' veto this afternoon of ABX 4, the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) restoration bill, Redwood City joins the League of California Cities in expressing its extreme disappointment. The VLF was lowered in 1998 as a "tax cut" to California vehicle owners, with the reduced amount being backfilled to local governments by the State. In the midst of the budget crisis, neither the State nor local governments can afford to fund this backfill. The legislation vetoed by the Governor would have restored the VLF to its original level, and avoided an estimated $4 billion cut to local governments over the next 18 months, with an increasing cut in future years.

“The Governor has chosen to once again look to local governments to shoulder a ridiculously disproportionate share of the budget pain’” said Jeff Ira, Vice-mayor of Redwood City. “Apparently it’s not enough that the State is already taking $5 billion annually in local government funding, since the last State budget crisis in 1992-93. Now, the promise made in 1998 to restore the VLF in bad economic times has been broken.”

If the Governor’s VLF proposal is enacted, Redwood City would suffer a loss of an estimated $1.5 million this fiscal year, and an estimated $3.3 million next year, followed by commensurate annual losses on a permanent basis. Other cities will suffer similar losses, despite the promise made by the legislature that the VLF would be fully restored, with those funds going to local governments, in the event that the economy prevents the State from making those reimbursements to local governments.

Instead of restoring the VLF as promised in 1998, the Governor chose to veto the legislation, and thereby remove these ‘backfill’ funds from local governments. These are local government funds, being taken away to contribute to the State’s financial woes.

Visit Redwood City's website at www.redwoodcity.org for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business. Redwood City news releases are also available online, at www.redwoodcity.org/news.

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Contact: Ed Everett
City Manager
650-780-7300

February 4, 2003

The Honorable Gray Davis
Governor, State of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: 916-445-4633

Subject: Your veto of AB4 X

Dear Governor Davis:

I am writing to express my extreme disappointment with your veto of ABX 4, the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) restoration bill. It is incomprehensible to me that you don’t share the foresight of the legislature that put this bill before you.

Instead, you have chosen to once again look to local governments to shoulder a ridiculously disproportionate share of the budget pain. Apparently it’s not enough that the State is already taking $5 billion annually in local government funding. The condition of the State’s budget is of the State’s own doing. It is unconscionable to demand that cities and counties give up the local revenues they are due, toward this shortfall that is the result of mismanagement at the highest level.

You had the opportunity to support the restoration of the VLF, which would have assisted in the State’s budget situation, while sparing local governments the pain of a $4 billion funding cut. Neither the State nor local governments can afford to backfill this funding gap, and the restoration of the VLF was the only logical action.

You have effectively broken the promise that was made in 1998: that if the State could no longer afford to fund the VLF reduction, it would be restored so vital city and county public health and safety services would not be threatened. Your choice is to threaten these critical services, and the well-being of the citizens who are dependent upon them.

Sincerely,

Jeff Ira
Vice Mayor

cc: Members, City Council
League of California Cities



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