SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB
DATE: July 16, 2004
CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108
COUNTY WINS RIGHT NOT TO PERFORM STATE UNFUNDED MANDATED PROGRAMS
SAN DIEGO - A Sacramento Superior Court, ruling on a lawsuit brought by the County of San Diego, has found that the County will not be required to perform certain state-mandated programs without adequate state funding, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob announced today.
Over the past three years, San Diego County has spent more than $30 million to perform services mandated by State law but without reimbursement from the State.
"The message has been made loud and clear to the State: stop shackling local government to program after program while providing no money to pay for them," said Chairwoman Dianne Jacob.
"In February, the County filed a legal action in Sacramento seeking a court order declaring that the County is not required to continue performing certain designated state-mandated services absent prompt and adequate reimbursement from the state," said John Sansone, San Diego County Counsel and President of the County Counsels' Association of California.
"A separate action is pending in San Diego County Superior Court seeking reimbursement from the State for the County's costs already incurred in performing numerous state-mandated programs," Sansone said.
The State budget proposal for fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2004, recommends that the State continue not paying counties for their costs to perform the State mandated programs. In its ruling this week, the Sacramento court confirmed that the State Constitution prohibits the imposition of an unfunded mandate, and that the state may not defer reimbursement as the state has done during its fiscal crisis. The court rejected the State's contentions that the deferral was an appropriate exercise of legislative discretion.
At issue in the Sacramento lawsuit are programs that require counties, in conjunction with local school districts, to provide certain mental health services to eligible students. Absent adequate State funding, the court's decision permits the County to transfer the performance of these services to the State. The County will work to ensure that clinically appropriate transition plans are developed so that each student's case can be transferred without service interruption.