Budget Deficit Could Force Lawmakers to Cut Programs, Jeopardize Healthy Families Expansion
Faced with a possible budget deficit that "could hit" $14 billion, Gov. Gray Davis (D) may call for "trims or delays" in new programs and expansions approved during the legislative session that ended in September, the Los Angeles Times reports. Davis is expected to ask soon for a second meeting with legislative leaders to discuss the state's budget problems. Jim Keddy, executive director of the PICO California Project, a faith-based advocacy organization for the poor, is concerned that an expansion of Healthy Families coverage to some parents -- passed this year and expected to cost about $60 million, pending federal approval -- "may now be in jeopardy." He added, "We're concerned whether the commitments that were made by the governor and the Legislature are going to hold firm given all the change that's been occurring." The Times reports that Sen. John Burton (D-San Francisco) said that if "money appropriated for programs and projects has not already made its way into the expenditure pipeline, it may wind up being impounded" (Tamaki, Los Angeles Times, 11/7).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.