Brown To Release Budget Plan; Major Program Cuts Anticipated
On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) will release a budget proposal that is expected to include steep cuts to numerous state programs, the Los Angeles Times reports (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 1/9).
California faces a $6 billion budget shortfall for the current fiscal year, in addition to an estimated shortfall of more than $19 billion for the fiscal year that will begin July 1.
Brown has released figures estimating that the deficit could grow to $28.1 billion by June 2012 because the state is expected to lose $2.7 billion from changes to federal estate taxes (Williams, AP/Ventura County Star, 1/10).
Brown is expected to propose spending reductions for a wide range of state programs, according to sources familiar with the governor's budget plan. Some of the expected cuts would target:
- Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, by requiring patients to provide copayments for services, limiting physician visits and reducing rates paid to health care providers;
- Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program, by eliminating vision care and increasing premiums and copays;
- In-Home Supportive Services, by reducing the number of hours that IHSS workers can care for elderly and disabled residents;
- First 5 California, by asking voters to amend Proposition 10 to allow the state to use tobacco tax funds currently being used by First 5 commissions;
- Mental health services, by using voter-approved funds from Proposition 63 to replace general fund appropriations currently going toward mental health care;
- SSI/SSP, by reducing grants to the federal minimum for low-income elderly, blind and disabled residents who participate in the program;
- HIV/AIDS treatment, by requiring higher copays for HIV/AIDS drugs;
- CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work program, by cutting grants and eliminating child care for children ages 11 and 12; and
- Developmental services, by imposing deep cuts to the state's system of 21 regional centers that manage care for developmentally disabled residents (Sacramento Bee, 1/9).
Realignment of Services
In addition to the expected program cuts, Brown has said he will seek to restructure the state government.
The governorÂ is expected to propose shifting responsibility for several state programs to counties and cities (AP/Ventura County Star, 1/10).
Brown also is expected to push for several revenue-raising measures to be included on the June ballot. Such measures could include an extension of 2009 increases to sales, vehicle and income taxes.
If voters approve the measures, the taxes could generate between $8 billion and $10 billion over the next 18 months to help local governments cover the cost of realigning state services (Sacramento Bee, 1/9).
Brown will need support from at least some Republican lawmakers to meet the required two-thirds threshold for putting tax increases on the ballot (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/9).
An Orange County Register editorial states that Brown's budget proposal is expected to reduce state costs "partly by shifting some functions to local governments, such as housing juvenile and low-level adult prisoners in local jails, some welfare and Medi-Cal costs and parole and probation operations."
The editorial continues, "This means arguments over how much to pay for these functions may, too, be shifted to local venues" (Orange County Register, 1/7).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of Brown's budget plans are provided below.
- "In California, New Governor Faces Budget Woes" (Myers, "Morning Edition," NPR, 1/10).
- "The Countdown Begins: Governor Brown To Present Budget Plan" (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 1/10).