President Carter and his budget director yesterday told Californians to expect no "special" federal assistance to cushion the blow the property-tax rollback they voted on June 6 will deliver to local services.
Carter said at his press conference he had neither the means nor the "inclination to single out California for special federal programs just because they have lowered property taxes."
"Looking to Washington for a bailout isn't going to be a viable or sensible solution," James T. McIntyre Jr., director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in a speech to the Advertising Council here.
The warnings came as California and White House officials held their first meeting to assess the possible effects of the Proposition 13 tax rollback, which becomes effective July 1, on existing federal-aid programs.
Josiah Beeman, who heads California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr.'s Washington office, said a preliminary calculation showed $5.2 billion in current federal aid could be in jeoparity.
Beeman said California receives $11 billion in current assistance in programs with a percentage-matching requirement for state and local contributions. An additional $1.1 billion of federal aid is contingent on states and localities meeting the "maintenance of effort" requirement - that is, not cutting back their contributions to these programs.
The $7 billion property-tax rollback could impair California's ability to meet those requirements, Beeman said, and result in cutbacks in federally financed public-service jobs, and transit, evironmental and youth-employment programs, among others.
He met with presidential assistant Jack H. Watson Jr. yesterday to develop more specific information on the fallout, and, at the same time, the California congressional delegation named a special task force to study the problem.
In his press conference yesterday, Carter acknowledged that up to 50,000 public-service jobs in California "may be in danger" of being ended. But he said the $5 billion state surplus, which Brown has pledged to use to offset the property-tax rollback, should deal with the crisis "for several months in the future." Beyond that time, he made no commitment but to say that he would help "the communities of California on the same basis as we helped communities around the country."
In Sacramento, Brown responded to McIntyre's comments by saying California should be "rewarded, not penalized," by the federal government for cutting its property taxes.
As a result of Proposition 13, which will reduce property taxes and thus property-tax deductions, federal income taxes from Californias will increase an estimated $2.5 billion annually.
Staff writer Lou Cannon contributed to this article.