San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon got called up to Sacramento earlier this week in his capacity as president of the California State Association of Counties, a group that represents the interests of all 58 counties statewide.
Gordon, who was elected president of the organization in November, met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger along with other officials for a sober discussion of a projected state budget shortfall for the coming year of roughly $10 billion or more.
Schwarzenegger is considering across the board 10-percent reductions for all state departments for the coming fiscal year. Gordon said it’s not yet clear what this will mean for the county budget, which is already in trouble.
The county can expect to see some decline in state funding for county programs such as mental health or food stamps as a result of the state’s budget problems, he said. County Manager John Maltbie has been asked to perform an inventory of all county programs that rely in part on state funding.
Of course, county officials already announced earlier this month that they are grappling with a looming $25-million deficit.
On a lighter note, this was about the fourth time the supervisor has met Schwarzenegger and his impression has been generally favorable. This latest meeting lasted about an hour.
“Number one, he commands the room,” Gordon said of the Governator, whom he described as “smart” and “engaged.”
“He’s not just reading the script,” Gordon said. “He clearly understands the policy questions that are being raised and discussed.”
Is he smart enough to keep California’s economy and budget running smoothly in the face of a reeling housing market? We’ll find out.