Budget Gap Is Central Focus of Governor’s State of the State Address
In his annual State of the State address on Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) told state lawmakers that a budget must be approved before the state could address health care, education and other issues, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The governor said, "I will talk about all these things, and more, as soon as we get the budget done."Â He added, "When some of the raw emotions have passed, I will send to the Legislature the package of legislative goals and proposals that a governor traditionally sends" (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 1/16).
The deficit is expected to reach $42 billion over the next 18 months (Gardner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/16).
If action is not taken soon, the state could run out of cash by next month (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 1/16). Furthermore, the state may have to start issuing IOUs in lieu of tax refunds (Yi/Wildermuth/Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/16).
Kim BelshÃ©, secretary of the state Health and Human Services Agency, said, "The longer we wait to address the state's budget problems, the deeper the problems in health reform that we will have to fix.Â That's one of the reasons why the governor is making such a high priority to address our budget crisis" (Weiss, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 1/15).
During Schwarzenegger's speech, dozens of disabled people and their supporters stood at the Capitol protesting his cuts to health and human services programs (Williams, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/15).
Under Schwarzenegger's latest budget proposal, Californians with disabilities and low-income seniors no longer would receive:
- Dental benefits;
- Podiatric care;
- Optical lab services; or
- Speech therapy (California Healthline, 1/12).
Legislative leaders and Schwarzenegger plan to meet on Saturday to discuss the budget (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 1/16).
On Thursday, KQED's "Forum" included a discussion of the governor's speech (Krasny, "Forum," KQED, 1/15).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.