California Report: Budget Talks Continue
Nick Warner (03/11/2011)

California’s $25 billion budget deficit, and the development of solutions to close this gap, continues to be at the forefront of priorities for state and local government leaders.

The budget proposal includes the realignment of major components of the criminal justice system including the housing of specified offenders, parole, court security services as well as the extension of a vehicle license fee to fund critical local public safety programs.

While there are significant fiscal, capacity and implementation issues to address, the administration has responded to stakeholder concerns and input by revising the realignment proposal, and progress toward a workable and financially sustainable solution continues.

The March 10th deadline for the Legislature to make the legislative changes needed to put the realignment proposal on the June ballot was not met, but legislative negotiations continue to move forward in Sacramento.

Many of these issues, including realignment, will only identify populations and funds, leaving much of the discussion for implementing legislation to take place between the vote in March and June when the ballot measures would go before the public. 

A number of key items must be addressed, particularly funding protections and local jail capacity, in order to manage these potential realigned populations. A key part of building capacity locally involves looking at repurposing AB 900 (the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007), to provide additional flexibility for the unallocated portions of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 local jail and re-entry funds by eliminating the requirement that counties coordinate a local program with a state reentry facility in order to access local jail construction funds.

Discussions have also included the elimination of the local match requirement for AB 900 jail construction funding to assist counties in AB 900 implementation (see AB 1197).

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