Brown Releases Updated Budget Plan With Major Health Changes
On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) released the May revision of his budget plan, which seeks to use $6.6 billion in higher-than-expected state revenue to help close California's deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports (Halper/York, Los Angeles Times, 5/16).
The state deficit has shrunk to $9.6 billion as a result of the unexpected tax revenue and earlier cuts to health and social service programs (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 5/17).
Earlier this year, lawmakers approved $11 billion in spending cuts to address a $26 billion deficit. Many of the cuts targeted health programs and other services for low-income residents, children and the elderly.
Lawmakers also shifted about $2 billion away from mental health services and First 5 early childhood health and education programs (Los Angeles Times, 5/16).
Health-Related Changes in May Revise
Brown's revised budget plan assumes that the state will not receive $1 billion from local First 5 commissions because of pending lawsuits. The May revise also would:
- Continue for a full year, rather than a half year, a fee on hospitals that would bring in $320 million for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program;
- Shift beneficiaries of Healthy Families -- California's Children's Health Insurance Program -- to Medi-Cal;
- Shut down 43 state boards and commissions, including the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which administers Healthy Families and other programs; and
- Eliminate the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (Sacramento Bee, 5/17).
Brown Continues Push for Tax Extensions
Despite the higher-than-expected tax revenue, Brown is continuing to promote his plan to extend sales and vehicle taxes for five years. The governor also aims to reinstate a 0.25% income-tax surcharge over four years, beginning in 2012 (Sacramento Bee, 5/17).
Brown hopes to pass the tax measures through the Legislature before putting them before voters for ratification (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 5/16).
The governor said he would seek to put the tax issue before voters "as soon as possible," adding that a special election could occur this fall (Buchanan/Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/17).
For additional coverage of Brown's May revise, see today's Capitol Desk post.
Headlines and links to editorials on the governor's revised budget plan are provided below.
- "California's Broken Budgeting Process" (Los Angeles Times, 5/17).
- "Brown Seeks To Claim Fiscal Middle Ground" (Sacramento Bee, 5/17).
- "The Big 'ifs' Brown Must Answer" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/16).
- "Gov. Jerry Brown Gets a Boost on the Budget" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/17).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of Brown's May revise are provided below.
- "May Revise Reactions Break Down Along Party Lines" (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/16).
- "Governor Releases Budget; Reaction Swift, Partisan" (Adler/Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/16).
- "Gov. Brown Revises Budget for $6.6 Billion in Unexpected Revenue" (Martin/Myers, "The California Report," KQED, 5/16).
- "Gov's 'May Revise' Forces Switch to Budget Tax Plan" (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 5/16).