As he makes his first state of the county address, Sacramento County Supervisor Hume conveys honesty on budget matters

Readers of the site undoubtedly note the frequent criticism of elected officials. Although these elected officials are loath to admit it, the criticism they receive is typically based on their words, actions, or policy decisions.

However, now and then, an elected official inadvertently tells the truth. Sometimes when they speak or write the truth, it is embarrassing.

But then there are times when they give factual information on things that otherwise are distorted by our elected officials. With this in mind, we sincerely thank Sacramento County District 5 Supervisor Pat Hume.

His honesty came in his July email newsletter. A couple of lines from his newsletter caught our attention.

After going through his first budget process for the county, Hume noted much of the county's budget is dictated by state and federal mandates. Hume said, "Most of the programs administered by the county are actually funded from the State and Federal governments, and the funds merely flow through the county."

This is a point most taxpayers are not cognizant of. Hume noted that only $3.9 billion of the county's $8.4 billion budget is discretionary.

The more critical point that Hume makes is about a balanced budget. Hume wrote, "Sacramento County is required by the State of California to balance its budget each year by July 1."

Hume's words cannot be emphasized enough. When campaigning for office, Californian elected officials regularly tout they alone produced a balanced budget.

The little secret elected officials always omit when campaigning is state law dictates a balanced budget. Taking credit for balancing a budget is no different than bragging that you paid your taxes - everyone has to do it before they face the legal consequences.

Tomorrow Mr. Hume will make a state of the county address in Elk Grove. While he will undoubtedly deliver a boilerplate presentation meant to bolster his political standing, we nonetheless appreciate his clarity on how government budgets work in the state of California.

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