Friday the Post had a chance to sit down with Porterville’s City Manager, John Lollis to start a dialog regarding Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to dip into California’s property tax revenues from counties and city – if “Props 1A through 1F” don’t pass.
According to Lollis, the state - under the 2004 voter-approved Proposition 1A - is permitted to withhold up to 8% of the property taxes which cities and counties collect as long as the money is repaid, with interest, within three years. Continuing, “They can withhold another 8% if they pay the first loan off … within 10 years” – which made little sense to the Post.
Here’s the problem. Let’s say the state is able to “borrow” 1 million dollars from the City of Porterville. Knowing that they have to pay that money back, with interest, within 3 years is not fiscally responsible. If said interest is 1%, the state would need to repay the city of Porterville, $10,000. Easy right ? Now multiply that by 58 counties and thousands of cities. The state’s only recourse will be floating more state bonds to cover their borrowing, and then blame the people for not helping their state pay back the monies they borrowed from their counties and cities. I think you get the picture.
Here’s another Problem : The state can withhold monies from those cities and counties who may or may not have money. Each county and city will then have to pony up the books to the Arnold’s state agencies so they’ll know exactly how much they can grab - making the day-today duties in the finance department’s overwhelming.
Question : So, will the additional costs of these extra duties be billed to the state or will the local governments have to eat that as well ?
Third Problem : It could very well be that some counties and cities, who are already on the brink of bankruptcy, could file a legal exemption … because of their economic hardship. By inference, the state is supposed to equally target all chartered cities and counties.
Question : Can the state withhold these monies causing some cities to declare bankruptcy ? And if they do, what federal agency can they petition ? Will they loose their charters ? Will they be allowed to run their local government’s or will those duties be defered to a new "Prop 1A" state / federal employee ?
"At a time when the economy is in recession, and small businesses are barely keeping the lights on, Walter Roundtree shared with the Post, I bet you two-times-to-a-donut, they’ll go after the small businessman here in town and after that, the city and or school boards will have no other option except to increase those taxes that Arnold Schwarzen-fibber steals. It’s not right and it’s not ethical.”
Porterville’s city manager - who’s looking further into the legal side of the state withholding county and city moneys – told the Post he would entertain further discussions after he spent some more time on this issue.
PRAYER : LORD, please grant our city manager and the finance department wisdom in these troubling times. We ask that you give them eyes to see issue clearly and ears to listen to the people. And finally, we ask our Christian community to pray for Porterville. We do know that you have told many Christian’s that Porterville will be used in the last days to fulfill the Great Commission. And we also know that You Keep Your WORD ! Our Prayer is we can become honest with You, Dear LORD, so we can become honest with our neighbors and ourselves. In JESUS CHRIST Name I Pray.