California Democrats Differ on Safety-Net Spending Priorities
Democratic lawmakers in the state Assembly and Senate differ on which state safety-net programs should receive funding increases during the next budget cycle, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/21).
In March, California Controller John Chiang (D) said that tax revenue for the first eight months of the state's fiscal year outpaced preliminary estimates by $4.5 billion, in part because of higher-than-expected personal income tax revenue.
Democratic lawmakers are seeking to use California's higher-than-expected revenue to restore cuts to safety-net programs.
However, in his State of the State address in January, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for state officials to practice fiscal discipline by using any extra funds to pay down debt and boost reserves instead of restoring funds to social programs (California Healthline, 5/14).
Last week, Brown released his revised $96.4 billion spending plan for FY 2013-2014. The budget would not restore Denti-Cal benefits for adults and does not seek to boost funding for other safety-net programs. Denti-Cal is the dental program for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
After Brown released his revised proposal, the Legislative Analyst's Office released a report finding that California will collect $3.2 billion more in extra state revenue than Brown forecasted (California Healthline, 5/20).
Lawmakers' Spending Priorities Differ
Senate Democrats hope to use extra revenue to increase spending for adult Denti-Cal coverage and mental health services.
Meanwhile, Assembly Democrats are seeking to boost spending on child poverty grants for CalWORKS -- the state's welfare-to-work program -- and child care programs.The Senate and Assembly are scheduled to release their spending proposals in the next few days ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/21). 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.