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Bi-partisan solution for negative bailout closer
Vito Chiesa

Hope is the ability to see a positive future in times of trial. In Stanislaus County we have not given up hope.

For more than 30 years, county officials and our elected state officials have been working for a solution to a long-standing issue called "negative bailout." This complex tax issue is most simply explained as Stanislaus County being accidentally penalized on an issue where the state had intended to help us. As a result, the county has lost more than $70 million that could have gone to critical local services; and that number that continues to grow.

After Proposition 13 and its enabling legislation passed, the state intended to "bail out" all counties in California for the property tax they would no longer receive. As a result of a problem in the funding formula that was supposed to help counties, Stanislaus County did not receive bailout money, but it was determined that the county actually needed to be paying the state going forward - thus the term "negative bailout." All parties recognize this was unintended consequence of the legislation, but fixing it to get Stanislaus County treated like the other counties has been nearly impossible.

Past and present Stanislaus County Boards of Supervisors have advocated on finding a solution. Past state elected officials Gary Condit, Sal Cannella, Dick Monteith, Dennis Cardoza, Jeff Denham, Dave Cogdill, Bill Berryhill and others all attempted to find resolution to this issue. Several bills even made it all the way through the Legislature only to vetoed by several former governors. But our hope continued and we fast-forward to today.

We are extremely fortunate to have a united, bi-partisan delegation of Democrats and Republicans working hard to find a solution to this problem. State Senators Cathleen Galgiani, Anthony Cannella and Tom Berryhill, alongside Assemlymembers Kristin Olsen and Adam Gray, have banded together in a united front to prioritize this issue and find a solution. They have worked individually and together to find a solution. Other counties only dream about what the citizens of Stanislaus County have - a group of elected officials who are willing to stand for what is right and stick together for a common purpose - and we cannot thank them enough.

The Governor's May budget revision includes a recommendation to fix the "negative bailout" problem going forward. This is a landmark moment in the history of finding a solution.

We are extremely appreciative of Governor Jerry Brown and State Director of Finance Michael Cohen for making this a priority for the state. Their leadership has been essential to finding a solution for our county.

We are close, but not out of the woods. In the fickle world of politics in Sacramento, it will take all the strength of our team and the Governor's office to get this resolution through to the finish line during the budget process.

But, our hope is now more resolved than ever, as we are one step closer to leaving this long season of trial.

Vito Chiesa is a Hughson grower who represents District 2 on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. He may be reached at