What COVID-19 Budget Cuts Mean for Public Safety Spending

The first purpose of government is to protect lives and property—but NOT in California.  Over the past few days we have seen on live TV police watching as rioters break into stores and loot—then walk with six feet of the cops with the stolen goods—and the police stand still.  Watching.

With the legalization of theft of under $950 worth of goods, no cash bail allowing jails to be turnstiles for criminals to recommit crimes.  Regressive Guv Newsom is not only opening the prisons, but wants to close down three prisons.  Into all of this his budget is going to demand more crime, he wants to cut State funds to counties for law enforcement by 24%  He is cutting one fourth the money to protect us—while worrying people are going to church, no concern about the destruction of cities by rioters and looters.

“Probable cuts now loom over local budgets as well, and spending on local public safety may fall significantly.  Although lower jail populations during the pandemic could create budget savings, there may also be a higher need for re-entry and community-based services as released individuals return to communities.

In 2011, California enacted sweeping changes to its correctional system to address federal court orders to alleviate severe overcrowding in the prison system. This public safety realignment shifted correctional responsibilities for tens of thousands of offenders, from state prison and parole systems over to county sheriff and probation departments.”

What COVID-19 Budget Cuts Mean for Public Safety Spending

Brandon Martin, Magnus Lofstrom, PPIC,  5/22/20  

State funding aimed at programs and supervision for some jail inmates in jails and others on probation will drop sharply as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. While spending on the state correctional system will decrease less than 1% under recently announced cuts to the California state budget, funding for counties may drop 24%.

Probable cuts now loom over local budgets as well, and spending on local public safety may fall significantly.  Although lower jail populations during the pandemic could create budget savings, there may also be a higher need for re-entry and community-based services as released individuals return to communities.

In 2011, California enacted sweeping changes to its correctional system to address federal court orders to alleviate severe overcrowding in the prison system. This public safety realignment shifted correctional responsibilities for tens of thousands of offenders, from state prison and parole systems over to county sheriff and probation departments.

To fund the shift, the state created the local community corrections account, with money drawn from a dedicated portion of state sales tax revenue. Voters issued a constitutional guarantee for that portion of tax revenue when they passed Proposition 30 in November 2012. But while the percentage of revenue was guaranteed, the actual amount of sales tax collected can vary. The amount is now changing because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Counties were meant to use these funds to provide supervision and programming to individuals who were realigned from the state to the counties. More specifically, the state expected counties to fund cost-effective, evidence-based programming that improved offender rehabilitation and public safety in local communities. Such programming might include day reporting centers, expanded jail training programs, or specialized courts that handle individuals with drug dependency or mental health disorders.

Each county had the freedom to implement programs that best suited their situation. Community Corrections Partnerships (CCPs)—headed by the chief probation officer, with representatives from law enforcement, health and human services, and community organizations—provide realignment plans and recommend where to allocate funding.

Realignment funding grew 47% from $930 million in 2012–13 to $1.37 billion in 2018–19. In state budget estimates from before COVID-19, sales tax revenue rose steadily, with the local community corrections fund expected to increase to $1.54 billion for fiscal year 2020–21.

However, the pandemic weakened the economy—in updated state budget estimates, the governor predicted a drop in sales tax revenue of more than 27% for 2020–21. The local community corrections account is now estimated to receive only $1.17 billion—a 24% decrease from the earlier estimate and 14% below the 2018–19 fiscal year.

Because revenues are paid to counties monthly, local agencies will feel the effect of sinking revenues almost immediately. The fiscal situation undoubtedly poses challenges for successful community re-entry programs; it is more important than ever to evaluate policies and programs that to lead to cost-effective solutions.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Really??? says

    The Rebelkkon of the Confederate Democrats continues.

    It is not just the prisoner re-alignment issue. This is across the board Blind Political partisanship.

    Anyone that wants a functioning government needs to make life miserable for every Democrat in the State.

    The Santa Barbara County Supervisors yesterday approved $40K of your tax dollars to “study” a bike path in Santa Maria. Money that should have gone to fix streets etc.

    The Social Welfare Budgets State Wide are obscene. We are talking 109’s of millions annually. This while basic services beg for support. When does it stop?

    Did Slick, head Confederate Democrat, cancel funds for the Broken Choo Choo when CV-10 hit the fan? No.

    Did Slick, head Confederate Democrat, declare that catch and release of criminals (no bail jail) would be cancelled and push for that in the legislature? Nope.

    Did Slick state that he wold order an immediate cleaning of the voter roles and investigation of those allowing illegal registrations? Nope.

    The budgets of the Rebellion Democrats is just touched on with the public safety issues.

  2. Cycleman says

    California has so many duplicate bureaucracies and it takes two or three public employees to do what one person does in the private sector, thanks to the union. The police and firefighters do not have to be cut back but everything else should be.

    California’s state government could be cut back by 50% easily. If you Google ‘how many agencies does California have’, they have them all listed in alphabetical order and each letter has 15 to 20 bureaucracies.

    • The last time I checked there were over 500 different agencys and departments in this state. There were at least 10 that had say over the san francisco bay. This is more than a little excessive.

  3. What this state really needs is a repeal of the top two primary. As long as that is the law the dems will rule everything

  4. I’m curious how much sales tax revenue dropped. Purchases shifted, sure, but went up in other areas…

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