Brown Seeking GOP Support for Budget Revision, Tax Measures
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is working to muster GOP support for his May budget revision, which assumes that lawmakers will vote in favor of tax measures to close California's $9.6 billion deficit, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The governor said he is "reaching out to Republicans" and already met with some of them last week (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 5/17).
Earlier this year, lawmakers approved $11 billion in spending cuts, many of which targeted health and human service programs.
On Monday, Brown 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 remaining deficit. The May revise would:
- Extend a fee on hospitals to 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; and
- Shut down several state boards, including the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which runs Healthy Families and other programs.
In addition to seeking spending cuts, Brown is promoting 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 (California Healthline, 5/17).
The governor hopes to pass the tax measures through the Legislature and then put them before voters for ratification (Weintraub, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/17).
Brown would need the support of at leastÂ four Republicans to obtain the two-thirds majority necessary to pass his tax measures (Contra Costa Times, 5/17).
However, Republicans are not backing Brown's tax plan. They contend that the $6.6 billion that California has received in unexpected revenue means that Brown can stop pushing for more taxes (Halper/York, Los Angeles Times, 5/18).
GOP Voice Support for Spending Cap
Despite their lack of support for the governor's tax plan, some GOP lawmakers have praised Brown for expressing a willingness to hold a referendum on a state spending cap.
Republicans said Brown's openness toward a spending cap could be a positive first step as lawmakers resume budget negotiations in the coming weeks (Christie, Reuters, 5/17).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.