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Is It Worth It? Taxpayers, Officials Weigh In On Cost Of Recall Election

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - A recall revelation shows it will cost $215 million to hold the upcoming recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom. The preliminary estimate released Thursday by the state's Department of Finance.

"It seems like a better use of money to hold onto it and wait for the real election," said Sacramento resident, Greg Page

Some taxpayers believe the cost is too high to hold a special election.

"I think that is a big waste of money. There is so much more we could do with it," said Catherine.

"He needs to be out, send someone else to handle our business," explained one Sacramento resident.

The reality-tax payers will foot the bill with the state's 58 counties estimating that's how much it will cost to hold the election to recall Governor Newsom.

"There isn't really words to express how frustrating it is to see our tax dollars wasted like that," explained Steve Smith from California Labor Federation.

Sacramento County will have to pay an estimated $5 million. Steve Smith represents 2.1 million workers under California's Labor Federation who are against the recall. Smith fears the money is being wasted.

"That is $215 million that we could be using, cities like Sacramento, for public safety, health care, for all kinds of public services. Instead, it is going to go to this wasteful, political recall election," said Smith. "We are in recovery mode from a devastating pandemic. Every last taxpayer dollar right now should be going to services, to small businesses," he explained.

Leader of the Recall Gavin Campaign, Orrin Heatlie, believes every dime spent actually saves the state money in the long run.

"The state is bleeding money right now; in order to stop that we need to recall and replace this governor with someone who is more fiscally responsible," he said. "The amount of money that was lost in the EDD scandal alone equates out to 62,000 single-family homes at the price of half a million apiece, that puts it into perspective," Heatlie said.

Heatlie believes the inflated cost could be reduced by changing the voting method.

"This governor about tripled the cost of what it would have been by implementing all mail-in ballots," he said.

UC Davis Political Science Professor Isaac Hale believes the cost could cripple some counties for an election that Republicans might not win.

"If the state isn't going to be ponying up a lot of the cost, State and local governments could really take a hit they cannot afford," he explained.  "It is a really, really uphill battle for a republican candidate to win a statewide race no matter what the electoral context," said Hale.

The estimated cost does not reflect the secretary of state's cost for the special election.

According to Heatlie, preliminary numbers show only 36 people from 45 of the 58 counties in the state have receded their signatures for the recall election.

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