Loretta Kalb and Robert Lewis
The Sacramento Bee
February 5, 2009

Counties in California say they’ve had enough – and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

In what amounts to a Boston Tea Party-style revolt against the state Capitol, they’re threatening to withhold money.

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Los Angeles is considering such an option. And Colusa County supervisors said they authorized payment delays for February.

“We didn’t vote on it, because I don’t think anybody wants to go to jail,” Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann said.

Closer to home, Sacramento County is planning to file a lawsuit this week against the state and Controller John Chiang for withholding millions of dollars – much of it for social service programs.

“The Legislature authorized those expenditures, and (the controller) has decided to withhold it,” said Susan Peters, chairwoman of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. “I believe it’s possible other counties will be joining in the action.”

Riverside County is looking at a similar lawsuit but plans to go one step further. It authorized going to court to relieve it from having to provide state-mandated services without state funding.

Hallye Jordan, a controller spokeswoman, said Chiang “shares the frustration of counties” but was forced to act because of the failure of the Legislature and governor to address the budget deficit.

“It’s an awful situation,” she said. “We understand that many counties are suffering.”

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