California Assembly OKs Budget; Health Care Funds Intact
The Assembly on Thursday approved a state budget proposal for fiscal year 2007-2008 that cuts $1.3 billion from the original $104.4 billion general fund budget proposal backed by Democrats, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The budget proposal, passed on a bipartisan vote, still is $700 million shy of a $2 billion across-the-board cut that was proposed by Senate Republicans.
Republicans backing the $2 billion cut argue that it is necessary to balance the budget with projected revenue in the new fiscal year, without using reserves from fiscal year 2006-2007 (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/20).
The proposal approved by the Assembly would provide sufficient funding to most public health programs to handle growing caseloads, according to the San Francisco Chronicle (Chorneau/Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/20).
However, Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) criticized the proposal because it included up to $500 million in tax breaks for research and development, jet fuel and movie and television production.
Perata said Democrats already have made concessions in the budget and cut new funding for education, postponed benefit increases for the state's low-income residents and blocked cuts to K-12 and higher education (Lin, Sacramento Bee, 7/20).
Budget negotiations began in May after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) unveiled a $103.8 billion general fund plan for FY 2007-2008.
The governor's overall budget proposal would increase general fund spending for health and human services by $239 million. Federal matching funds will account for some funding increases (California Healthline, 7/19).
Schwarzenegger was hoping to use momentum created from the Legislature's agreement on a new budget to help him achieve a compromise on health care reform, according to the Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/20).
Audio of Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez's (D-Los Angeles) comments on the budget agreement are available on his Web site.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.