Counties director Matt Cate thinks California is righting its course

No one can accuse Matt Cate of avoiding the hard jobs. During his four years at the helm of California’s state prisons, he guided the system through some of its toughest times, including historic budget cuts and the implementation of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial 2011 realignment plan, which shifted tens of thousands of offenders to local jails and parole supervision.

He left that position in 2012 to take on another formidable post with the California State Association of Counties, the advocacy voice for the state’s 58 very diverse counties. We sat down with him recently to talk about some of the difficulties those counties are facing.

Comstock’s: California’s economy now appears to be in its best shape in years. What’s your take on how we are doing?

Cate: We still have a number of counties trying to work their way out of the recession. The recovery hasn’t hit every county at the same pace. So when you ask counties how the economy is doing, you get 58 different answers. From a county’s perspective, if the state gets a cold, counties are the ones sneezing. Or vice versa. We’re the implementers of state programs, so as we’ve seen property taxes and sales taxes start to bounce back, counties are seeing funds available to run their programs. (click to continue reading)


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