Democrats, Brown Close to Deal on CalWORKs Cuts, Sources Say
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Democratic legislatorsÂ are closer to reaching a deal on a fiscal year 2012-2013 budget plan, according to sources close to negotiations, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The sources said that Brown and Democrats are working on a compromise for cutting CalWORKs, the state's welfare-to-work program.
The welfare cuts have become one of the biggest points of contention in the negotiations, according to the Bee (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 6/21).
Background on Budget Negotiations
Last week, California Democrats passed a $92.1 billion spending plan for FY 2012-2013 that includes seven budget bills. Friday was the state constitutional deadline to pass a balanced budget plan.
Lawmakers sent the primary budget legislation (AB 1464)Â to Brown, but they did not send most of the more than two dozen trailer bills that include proposals on cutting programs and raising revenue.
Steinberg said, "We did not pass all of [the trailer bills] because we want to finish our negotiations with the governor before we vote on those measures."
Details of Democrats' Spending Plan
The Democrats' spending plan largely matches Brown's $91.4 billion revisedÂ FY 2012-2013 budget plan, with a difference of about $300 million in proposed cuts.
The plan would replace some of Brown's proposed cuts to programs for low-income residents with a lower state reserve fund and accounting changes.
The plan also would:
- Accept Brown's overhaul plans for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program; and
- MaintainÂ Brown's proposal to cut hours toÂ In-Home Supportive Services beneficiaries byÂ 3.6%.
In addition, the plan would incorporate a compromise tax hike plan supported by Brown that would raise the sales tax and increase taxes on high-income earners.
Brown has until June 27 to veto, sign or alter the Democrats' main budget bill.
About CalWORKs Negotiations
DemocratsÂ were seeking to continue a policyÂ started two years ago that suspends work requirements for welfare beneficiaries, which would save $428 million by requiring the state to provide less child care, transportation and job training for the beneficiaries.
However, Brown sought to reduce the state's four-year suspension of work requirements to two years, which would save the state $880 million (California Healthline, 6/19).
Details of Potential CalWORKs Compromise
Sources said that the CalWORKs plan being crafted by Brown and Democrats would reduce suspension of work requirements to two years for most individuals but would exempt parents of young childrenÂ and individuals who meet other criteria, such as living in counties with high unemployment rates.
According to sources, Brown and lawmakers still are negotiating how broadly the exemptions would apply (Sacramento Bee, 6/21).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.