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Friday, April 21, 2017

Alameda County's budget deficit is two numbers and neither are particularly rosy

ALAMEDA COUNTY
Alameda County's budget shortfall is either $68 million, a figure slightly lower than last year's $72 million deficit, or a significantly more worrisome $108 million, the county administration announced Wednesday.

The latter funding gap is a result of Alameda County potentially absorbing $40 million to its next fiscal year budget in order to pay for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) previously under the auspices of the state.

In January, the state Department of Finance announced it would end a five-year experiment to curtail state Medicare costs for in-home care services. IHSS allows some indigent patients to receive health care in their homes and is less expensive than staying in a hospital facility.

The arrangement, though, will pass on $625 million in costs for in-home care services to counties. Alameda County's share is $40 million, Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi said last week.

In the meantime, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) remains in negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown's office, said a county official. But as of today, the $40 million has been shifted from the state to Alameda County and "is still very much happening."

Aside from the extra financial burden, Alameda County's budget shortfall was tempered by a continuing surge in property tax revenues, the county said Wednesday.

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