Brown Lobbies for GOP, Democratic Support for New Budget Proposal
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) began selling his budget proposal to Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the state Legislature, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Brown is seeking lawmakers' support for his plan to reduce state spending by $12.5 billion and extend temporary increases in income, sales and vehicle taxes.
The governor aims to secure a two-thirds majority to put the tax extension issue before voters on the June ballot. If he is unable to obtain the two-thirds majority, Brown has not ruled out a possible legislative maneuver to establish the ballot initiative with a simple majority (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 1/12).
To obtain the two-thirds majority, Brown would need at least four Republican lawmakers to vote in favor of placing the tax measure on the ballot. So far, GOP lawmakers have opposed extending the tax increases (York/Mishak, Los Angeles Times, 1/12).
On Monday, Senate GOP Leader Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) said Brown's proposal had "zero" support in his caucus (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 1/11).
Although many Democratic lawmakers previously opposed broad cuts to social services, they appear inclined to work with the new governor on his budget plan.
Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said he has some reservations aboutÂ the newÂ budget proposal, but added thatÂ Brown's "tone is better" than that of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
Sen. Lori Hancock (D-Berkeley) said Brown "has set out a framework that can set the stage for economic renewal, and it does not eliminate any programs like the Schwarzenegger budgets did, so social rebuilding is possible" (Richman, Contra Costa Times, 1/11).
Health Care Stakeholders Weigh In
Meanwhile, health care stakeholders are expressing concern about the possible effects of Brown's budget plan, particularly the proposed changes to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. Brown's proposal would cut $1.7 billion from Medi-Cal in various ways, including:
- Reducing reimbursements by 10% for physicians and nursing homes;
- Limiting annual physician visits and monthly prescriptions;
- Capping spending on certain health-related products; and
- Raising certain copayments.
C. Duane Dauner, president of the California Hospital Association, said, "It is unlikely that most Medi-Cal patients will be able to afford this increased cost-sharing. As a result, hospitals will face greater losses when they treat Medi-Cal patients" (Miller, Vacaville Reporter, 1/12).
Headlines and links to editorials on Brown's budget plans are provided below.
- "Budget Proposal Is Painful, but Some Pain Is Needed for State's Health" (Los Angeles Daily News, 1/11).
- "Sobering Plan for State Budget Is Just the Start" (San Jose Mercury News, 1/12).
- "Something for Everyone To Hate" (Ventura County Star, 1/11).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of the governor's proposal are provided below.
- "Brown's Countdown: Two Reactions to the Budget Proposal" (Callison, "Insight," Capital Public Radio, 1/11).
- "State Budget: Social Services Impact" (Clark, "The California Report," KQED, 1/11).
- "State Budget: Jerry Brown's Proposal" (Myers, "The California Report," KQED, 1/11).
- "Democratic Leaders in California Legislature Willing To Cut Programs To Reform" (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 1/11).