Budget Cuts Dampen Mood in California
As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) toured the state this week trying to drum up support for his budget proposals, the mood in California was turning markedly gloomy, according to a new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Schwarzenegger's proposal to cut state services across the board -- including reductions for "vulnerable Californians" in health care and education -- are causing state residents to lose faith in the government, according to the PPIC survey released this week.
The governor's approval rating dropped below 50%, and the Legislature fared even worse with only 30% of those surveyed approving of the way state lawmakers are doing their job. The governor's approval rating fell 13 points from 57% in December, and the Legislature's fell 11 points.
PPIC researchers said Californians are less willing to balance the budget with cutbacks especially those affecting the most vulnerable of the state's population. The survey found growing willingness to consider new taxes.
In light of the poll's findings, it's not surprising that Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts proposed by Schwarzenegger and approved by the Legislature came under fire this week. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) drew attention by threatening to sue the state if Medi-Cal cuts went into effect in July as planned.
Still more Medi-Cal proposals -- including some that would scrap dental services, optical care and other optional services for adult Medi-Cal beneficiaries -- remain on the table.
Lawmakers didn't act on those proposals last week, but here's a look at how some other health care measures fared.