Budget Agreement Passed; Schwarzenegger Ready To Sign
Early this morning, the California Legislature approved a budget proposal that includes billions of dollars in cuts to health care, education and other programs after Senate leaders agreed to concessions demanded by Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria), the Los Angeles Times reports.
The budget package also would rely on tax increases and borrowing.
In exchange for Maldonado's vote, the Senate approved measures for constitutional amendments for a statewide ballot (Rau et al., Los Angeles Times, 2/19).Â The proposed amendments would:
- Create an open primary system for California elections; and
- Bar pay increases for legislators in years when the state is running a budget deficit.
The agreement with Maldonado also eliminated a proposed increase to the state gas tax and replaced the revenue with an increase to the state income tax, money from the federal stimulus package and $600 million in line-item vetoes (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 2/19).
The open-primary measure will go before voters on the June 2010 ballot. The budget package also triggers a special election for May 19 that would include a proposal to cap state spending (Steinhauer, New York Times, 2/19).
The ballot for the May 19 special election also would include proposals to:
- Reallocate $227 million from new Proposition 63 programs to fund other state mental health programs.Â Californians approved Proposition 63 in 2004 to increase the state income tax on high-income state residents to fund mental health services; and
- Shift more than $600 million from Proposition 10 programs for early childhood health care and education to existing children's programs.Â Proposition 10, which increased the state tobacco tax, won voter approval in 1998 (California Healthline, 2/17).
Sens. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) and Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) also broke party ranks to vote in favor of the budget package (Buchanan/Yi, San Francisco ChronicleÂ , 2/19).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)Â said he would sign the legislation immediately (New York Times, 2/20).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.