Budget Proposal Increases Health, Human Services Funding
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday outlined a $103 billion general fund budget for fiscal year 2007-2008 but did not include new funds for his health care reform proposal, the Sacramento Bee reports (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 1/11). The total budget totals about $143 billion, including $27.7 billion in special funds and $12.6 billion in bond funds.
The proposal increases spending by 1% and repays some state debt early but does not raise taxes (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 1/11). Overall health and human services spending would increase by 3.7% to $38.1 billion in FY 2007-2008 (Joseph, Orange County Register, 1/11).
Schwarzenegger said the budget would "eliminate" the state's structural budget deficit, although state spending would exceed revenue by $1.8 billion (Sacramento Bee, 1/11).
Some health care provisions in the governor's budget proposal would:
- Spend $32 million to add 73,900 children to Healthy Families (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/10);
- Provide $8.8 million to hire 15 employees to establish a prescription drug program (Steffens, Contra Costa Times, 1/11);
- Contribute $11.3 million to provide the human papillomavirus vaccine to Medi-Cal beneficiaries (Sacramento Bee, 1/11).
- Spend $95 million to create the Governor's Research and Innovation Council, which would provide funds for biotechnology and other research (Zapler, Contra Costa Times, 1/11); and
- Allocate $148.9 million to improve medical, dental and mental health services for inmates as required by a court order (Miller, Riverside Press Enterprise, 1/10).
The governor's budget proposal would reduce funding for some welfare programs by about $500 million, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/11).
Health and social service advocates last weekend criticized the proposal, a move that would help fund the governor's proposed health care expansion and other legislative priorities (California Healthline, 1/8).
The budget proposal estimates that the state would repay the March 2004 refinancing bond by 2009, 14 years ahead of schedule (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/10).
Mike Genest, director of the Department of Finance, said that the proposed FY 2007-2008 budget proposal would result in an estimated budget deficit of about $800 million for FY 2008-2009.
Schwarzenegger will revise his proposal in May, followed by revisions by lawmakers. A final budget must be signed into law by July 1 (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/11).