Placer County supe Holmes, McClintock at odds over fed spending cuts

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Fresh from a Washington, D.C. trip, Supervisor Jim Holmes criticized U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock on Tuesday for trying to cut spending he said could impact federal funding for Placer County. Holmes issued a short diatribe during Tuesday board meeting rapping McClintock, R-Roseville, for what he said is a “very disappointing” lack of support of some county programs in need of federal funds. But McClintock has fired back, saying Tuesday that he’s surprised Holmes is criticizing him when the federal government is in dire need of spending solutions like the ones he has proposed. McClintock added that he questions Holmes’ need to schedule a visit with him in Washington when it easily could have taken place in his district office. Speaking at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Holmes pointed to three amendments McClintock is attempting to include in a mid-year federal spending bill. Holmes said the amendments would jeopardize or kill potential funding for county wastewater treatment upgrades, a biomass project that would use forest fuels, the Placer Parkway transportation link in South Placer and the Placer County Conservation Plan. “It was very disappointing that we don’t have the support of our local congressman for any of our progressive programs in Placer County,” Holmes said. Holmes, Supervisor Robert Weygandt and County Executive Officer Tom Miller traveled to Washington, D.C. for four days last week and, during their rounds of government offices, met with McClintock on Wednesday. County staff estimated the cost per person for travel, accommodation, food and other expenditures was between $1,200 and $1,500, when supervisors approved the trip in January. McClintock said Tuesday that he thought the meeting was productive. “But I don’t know why they have to travel to Washington, D.C. when I was available in my office in the district every week,” McClintock said. “But they must have more money than the federal government at the moment.” McClintock said he was surprised Holmes would attack him on budget amendments targeting spending. “He must be unaware that the federal government is not only broke but borrowing 40 cents on every dollar we spend,” McClintock said. “We’re going to have to make dramatic spending reductions to avoid the fate of countries like Greece and Portugal.” Holmes told Tuesday’s meeting during time allotted for supervisor reports that the Placer County contingent met with McClintock for 15 minutes. He added that the congressman was “very busy” with resolutions to amend the budget. “By the time we left (Washington, D.C.), there were 600 resolutions and Congressman McClintock had 49,” Holmes said. McClintock said he introduced 42 resolutions and that Holmes was misinformed on several points, including the numbering of the resolutions and his characterization of one that the congressman described as a cut to fossil-fuel energy programs. Holmes told supervisors “You’ll like this one” before describing what he said was a McClintock resolution to “prohibit any of the funding under the Department of Energy’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to be used for biomass and biosystems.” ”So those are the funds that the Department of Energy under Sen. Feinstein has given to the Placer County biomass program,” Holmes said. “It would kind of put a halt to moving forward with our biomass program.” McClintock said he was attempting to cut unnecessary energy subsidies with the amendment. “It’s part of the billions of dollars going to energy companies to pay for expenses that they ought to pay for with their own funds,” McClintock said. “If Jim thinks that it (a biomass plant) is important, I’m surprised it’s not at the top of the priority list to fund from county resources.”