Davis Administration Orders State Agencies To Identify Ways To Reduce Budgets by 20%
Gov. Gray Davis' (D) administration on Friday ordered all state agencies to identify ways to reduce their budgets by 20% next year to help offset part of an expected $7.9 billion deficit in the fiscal year 2004-2005 budget, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In a letter to all state agencies, officials from the Department of Finance wrote that the "current fiscal condition of the state can only afford to continue funding the most critical and essential functions," adding, "The programs, functions and departments that provide relatively lesser value must be considered for elimination." According to the Chronicle, the order could force some state agencies to make some "tough choices." Stephen Green, a spokesperson for the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, said the state's prisons may be forced to cut drug treatment programs for inmates. However, Green said the YACA under court order and state law cannot cut health care programs in prisons. Steve Peace, the director of finance under Davis, said some state agencies, including health and welfare departments, have already "trimmed their departments so much" that a 20% reduction could mean cutting some smaller departments' funding by as much as 50% to 100%. State agencies have until Sept. 26 to submit proposals on how to reduce their budgets. Final budget decisions are expected to be released early next year, the Chronicle reports (Schevitz/Salladay, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/10).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.