California Payments to Counties on Hold While Numbers Crunched
Despite the Legislature's approval of a budget, state Controller John Chiang (D) will not immediately make payments to counties that he delayed this month to help preserve state cash, the Sacramento Bee reports (Kalb, Sacramento Bee, 2/20).
Last week, Sacramento and San Diego counties filed a lawsuit seeking to force Chiang to release $270 million in state payments for mental health and other programs counties administer for the state (California Healthline, 2/17).
More than 30 counties have joined the suit (Sacramento Bee, 2/20).Â Calaveras County is one of the most recent to join (Stockton Record, 2/20).
Timeline for Payments
Before payments can be released, the state finance department must release data on the new budget, a step the department is expected to take this week.
Garin Casaleggio, a spokesperson for Chiang, said the controller's office then would devise a plan "to make sure the state meets its obligations and makes good on the payments it has delayed."
Casaleggio said, "We don't know how long payments will be delayed, or if further delays are needed."
Implications for Lawsuit
Sacramento County spokesperson Zeke Holst said a hearing to fast-track the counties' lawsuit is set for today in Sacramento Superior Court.Holst said the county would re-evaluate the lawsuit if Chiang releases the funds (Sacramento Bee, 2/20). 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.