Assembly GOP Releases Budget Plan With Deeper Health Cuts
On Thursday, Republican Assembly members released a state budget proposal that relies on further cuts to health and human services, funding shifts and a recent spike in tax revenue, the Sacramento Bee reports (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 5/13).
In March, Brown signed legislation to cut state spending by $11.2 billion. The measures included deep cuts to several health programs.
Brown initially planned to close the remaining $15.4 billion deficit by putting a tax extension measure before voters in a June special election, but GOP lawmakers have refused to support the proposal. The governor now is working on a plan to close the state's remaining deficit (California Healthline, 3/3).
Health Care Cuts in GOP Plan
The GOP plan calls for voters to approve a temporary funding shift that would take $2.4 billion away from:
- First 5, California's early childhood health and education program; and
- Proposition 63, a state fund for mental health care services.
The plan alsoÂ includes $1.3 billion in spending reductions that initially were proposed by Brown but were rejected by Democratic lawmakers. Those cuts target:
- Adult day health care centers;
- Certain in-home support services for elderly Californians and residents with disabilities; and
- Grants for CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work program (Hagen, Contra Costa Times, 5/12).
In addition, theÂ Republican plan aims to reduce state spending by:
- $400 million by transferring prison health care services to the University of California or the private sector; and
- $300 million by reducing fraud in Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.Â
The GOP proposal also assumes about $5 billion more in tax receipts than the governor assumed in his January plan. Over the past four months, state tax collections have exceeded earlier projections by about $2.5 billion, and Republicans say they expect the trend to continue (Los Angeles Times, 5/13).
Brown and other Democratic lawmakers said the GOP proposal is filled with gimmicky maneuvers that do little to resolve the imbalance between state revenue and state spending (Sacramento Bee, 5/13).
Gil Duran, spokesperson for Brown, said the GOP plan is "the usual smoke-and-mirrors, head-in-the sand approach, with a short-term fix that will do nothing to get us out of the mess we're in" (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/13).
A San Jose Mercury News editorial states that Assembly Republicans have "provided a valuable service by showing what an all-cuts budget, without tax extensions, would look like." It continues that the GOP proposal to cut an additional $1.3 billion from health care and social services "would throw California back into the Dark Ages" (San Jose Mercury News, 5/13).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of the Assembly GOP budget plan are provided below.
- "Dems Quick To Criticize Assembly GOP Budget Proposal" (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/12).
- "Assembly Republicans Roll Out Budget Framework" (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/12).
- "California Assembly Republicans Offer Counter Budget" (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 5/12).