California Lawmakers Still Far From Closing in on Budget Agreement
As California enters its fourth week without a budget, lawmakers are nowhere close to finding a resolution to close the state's estimated $19.1 billion deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 7/28).
Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed last year's budget, which was passed nearly one month into the state's fiscal year.
Republicans have embraced the budget proposal submitted by Schwarzenegger in May, which includes cuts to social services programs such as Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. Democrats want to avoid cuts to such programs partially by imposing an oil production tax and raising certain corporate taxes.
Lack of Urgency
Some experts say state officials no longer feel a sense of urgency about California's budget.
Daniel Mitchell -- UCLA professor emeritus of public policy and management -- said, "At one time it was thought to be a totally terrible thing if we had a late budget and there were more consequences," adding, "But with litigation saying we have to pay this anyway and that anyway, we've grown to accommodate it so that nothing dramatic happens on July 1 when we don't have a budget."
Clinics Likely To Feel Effects of Budget Stall
If the budget stalemate continues to drag on, community clinics that serve low-income residents might stop receiving state payments as soon as August.
Sean South of the California Primary Care Association said clinics would attempt to sustain services by drawing on reserve funds. However, he added that clinics could face further strain if lawmakers pass a budget package that relies on deep cuts to Medi-Cal (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 7/28).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.