Thursday, September 02, 2010

Cash-Strapped Calif. County Approves Hospital Tax

From the

Voters in a rural California county are in such a dire financial condition that it's seeking a state bailout.

The vote gives Modoc County, in the state's northeastern corner, a much-needed infusion of cash and likely means it will avoid bankruptcy.

Voters approved two measures - one to impose a $195-a-year parcel tax to keep their struggling hospital, and another to create a hospital district to oversee its operations. The tax required two-thirds voter approval.

Local officials said they needed the tax because the hospital's operating costs have overwhelmed county finances. They had hired a bankruptcy attorney and have requested a $12.5 million loan from the state.

State finance officials are considering the request and said they want to be assured the county could repay the loan. The vote results make that more likely.

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