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Governor vows to hijack up to $2M from Manteca if ballot measures go down to defeat
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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s threat to seize more property tax from California cities and counties should Proposition 1A not pass in the May 19 special election could cost the City of Manteca between $1 million and $2 million.

City leaders have indicated it will cost Manteca as much as $2 million depending upon the final formula should the measure lose and the governor goes forward with his threat.

It throws an additional wrench in Manteca’s budget process.

Staff was already planning to have an interim budget go before the council this month for adoption prior to July 1 with the “real” budget being put in place in August after the city has a firm idea of how reassessments triggered by foreclosure property values declines will impact property tax revenue.

Manteca already has whittled down a budget deficit that had been predicted to reach $11.3 million in the fiscal year starting July 1 if they simply did nothing to between $2 million and $4 million.

Staff has indicated that part or the entire remaining gap would have to be covered by either furloughs or layoffs. As recent as two weeks ago, budget and personnel managers were expressing the hope the city could get through the 2009-10 budget year without layoffs if everything went right after slashing expenses, early retirements and, leaving numerous positions vacant.

Even a $1 million hit would have major impacts as it translates into at least 10 municipal employees based on average salaries and benefits and other position-related costs.

More bad news came Thursday with a report issued by the non-partisan legislative analyst based on new revenue numbers that show the state may have a $20 billion deficit in the upcoming fiscal year even if all six ballot measures pass on May 19.

Legislators had cobbled together a budget deal that included the six ballot measures that they originally hoped would reduce next year’s deficit to $8 billion or less.

Polls of likely voters show all six ballot measures trailing.