State Lets Counties Go

State Actions may Completely Change County HHS discussion.

There have been recent discussions about the dramatic increase in the number of staff at county Health and Human Services. Those discussions may be moot.

There is a movement in Sacramento to push more services off on the counties. Recently a plan was revealed to send more prisoners back to the counties. Even with a stipend to the counties, the state will save hundreds of millions, if the plan works.

The governor recently proposed dramatic cuts to the budget, cuts that would lose the state $4 billion in federal funds. The cuts would cause suffering to real people.

Tony Oliveira, President of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and Kings County Supervisor is quoted as saying:

"That ground shaking you feel is the impact of the cuts and costs shifts rolling out of the Capitol and landing at the doorsteps of counties and the communities we serve. If this budget becomes a reality, the devastation upon Californians will be on par with the aftereffects of a major natural disaster. Homelessness, hunger, permanent job losses, elimination of mental health and substance abuse treatment, and more Californians driven into abject poverty are just some of the very real possibilities outlined in the Governor's budget."

But other effects might well be beneficial. The state proposes to leave more of the delivery of services in county hands. There are some hastily cobbled together plans to allow counties to raise various vehicle and other fees on their residents to pay for services. That puts control of such services much more in the hands of counties. If the state stopped taking federal foster care money and pushed foster care on to the counties, the number of kids in out of home care would plummet.

Sierra County Supervisor Lee Adams has been pushing for a badly needed discussion on the growth of county services. It is possible we will have such a discussion, instead, on how to continue such services.

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