Budget Deficit Grows as Corporate Profits Fall
California's already-bleak budget outlook got bleaker this week with reports that tax receipts dropped nearly $1 billion last month, mostly due to declining corporate profits.
A report released by the state Department of Finance showed overall tax revenue about $912 million below the estimate for March that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) used in his January budget proposal. Corporate taxes, accounting for most of that plunge, were about $869 million below expectations.
Already facing a $16.5 billion deficit, this week's tax news will make rough going even rougher for legislation that would require new spending.
Given the budget situation and the collapse of California's health care reform proposal, lawmakers issued a shotgun blast of specific health bills trying to bolster the scope of health insurance coverage without incurring new costs for the state.
The bills aim to add to the list of services that health plans are required to cover, a move that has drawn heated opposition from the California Association of Health Plans.
CAHP puts the total cost of such legislation at $2.7 billion annually, warning that those costs would be passed on to consumers and that coverage could become unaffordable for more than 85,000 Californians.
Six of the bills made it through the Assembly Health Committee this week. Here's a rundown of how some other bills have fared.