Bass Warns of Deeper Spending Cuts if Special Election Measures Fail
Addressing the California Grocers Association Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Temecula) said that next steps in the state budget process will depend on the outcome of the May 19 special election, MediaNews/Contra Costa Times reports.
The ballot will include six ballot measures that the Legislature approved as part of a budget agreement that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) approved in February.Â Two of the measures deal specifically with funds for health care programs (Harmon, MediaNews/Contra Costa Times, 3/31).
Proposition 1D would temporarily shift $608 million from First 5 programs to fund services for children, including programs for foster children and kids with developmental disabilities. First 5 was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
Proposition 1E would shift $226.7 million from mental health care programsÂ funded byÂ Proposition 63 to the existing Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program for low-income children for two years.
In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which increased the state income tax on high-income Californians to fund mental health services (California Healthline, 3/27).
If the measures are approved, California likely will face an $8 billion budget deficit.Â The state budget deficit could be as much as $14 billion if voters reject the initiatives.
Lawmakers Voice Concerns
Bass said, "We're all tired of initiatives, but in this situation we need these resources."Â She added, "I'm deeply concerned that if we don't have these resources what will the quality of life look like after May 19 when we have to go back to the chopping block and chop $14 billion more out of education, health care, transportation and human services."
Hollingsworth criticized the budget agreement and said that Republican legislators would work to improve the business climate in California (MediaNews/Contra Costa Times, 3/31).
Legislators Preparing for the Worst
According to the Los Angeles Times, elected officials and their staff members have begun drafting ideas for additional budget cuts if the ballot measures fail.
Capitol sources say health care, education, prisons and transportation could see additional cuts (Bailey, Los Angeles Times, 4/1).
Maldonado Takes on Poizner
In a two-page letter, Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) criticized Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) for opposing the budget-related measures on the May 19 special election ballot, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Maldonado provided a key Republican vote to approve the budget deal.Â
Poizner is pursuing the Republican gubernatorial nomination for 2010.Poizner dismissed Maldonado's criticism and challenged his support for tax increases (Hecht, Sacramento Bee, 4/1). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.