Democrats Send Main Budget Bill to Assembly, Senate Floors
On Thursday, California Democrats sent their main fiscal year 2012-2013 budget bill to the Assembly and Senate floors for consideration, the Contra Costa Times reports (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 6/14).
Democrats on Thursday passed the legislation out of committee (Williams, AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/14).
Friday is the state constitutional deadline to pass a balanced budget plan (California Healthline, 6/14).
Democrats' Budget Close to Brown's Proposal
Democrats' budget plan largely matches Brown's $91.4 billion revised fiscal year 2012-2013 budget plan, with a difference of about $300 million in proposed cuts.
Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said, "We're coming very, very close" to an agreement with Brown, adding, "It remains a very small differential."
Although Democrats sent the main budget bill to the Assembly and Senate, they are holding back several trailer bills containing proposals that differ from Brown's budget plan (Contra Costa Times, 6/14).
Details of Brown's Revised Budget Plan
Brown's revised budget plan calls for cutting:
- $1.2 billion from Medi-Cal -- California's Medicaid program -- by merging services for beneficiariesÂ eligible for both Medi-Cal and Medicare and reducing payments to hospitals and nursing homes;
- $225 million from In-Home Supportive Services -- which provides services for the elderly and people who are blind or have disabilities -- by eliminating domestic assistance for beneficiaries in shared living environments and reducing worker payments by 7%; and
- $64 million from Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program, by moving children out of the program.
Details of Democrats' Revised Budget Plan
On Wednesday, Democratic legislators released a revised version of their original fiscal year 2012-2013 budget proposal. The revised budget 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 proposal also would:
- Accept Brown's Medi-Cal overhaul plans; and
- MaintainÂ Brown's proposal to reduce hours to IHSS beneficiaries byÂ 3.6%.
Democrats' revised plan also would incorporate a compromise tax hike plan supported by Brown that would raise the sales tax and increase taxes on high-income earners. Last month, Brown began submitting voter signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot (California Healthline, 6/14).
Democrats, Brown Differ on CalWORKs Rules
One point of disagreement remaining between Democrats and Brown involves CalWORKs, the state's welfare-to-work program.
Democrats seek to continue a policyÂ started two years ago that suspends work requirements for welfare recipients, which would save $428 million by requiring the state to provide less child care, transportation and job training for the recipients.
However, Brown wants to reduce the four-year suspension of work requirements to two years, which would save the state $880 million (Contra Costa Times, 6/14).
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said, "We are continuing to talk to see if we might find middle ground" on CalWORKs.
Steinberg said Brown has not commented on the Democrats' revised budget plan.
GOP Boycotts Senate Budget Committee Hearing
On Thursday, Republican lawmakers boycotted a Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Democrats' budget legislation.
Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet) in a statement said, "We have made repeated requests for an honest and open budgetary process and for the budget measures to be in print for 48 hours, to allow public review." He added, "We can't in good conscience vote for bills we have not seen" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/14).
In addition, Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) called on state Controller John Chiang (D) and Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D) to determine if the Democrats' budget actually is balanced (Contra Costa Times, 6/14).
According to Steinberg, passing the Democrats' main budget bill by Friday's midnight deadline will meet the constitutional budget requirement (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/14).
The governor then has 12 days to decide if he will veto the entire budget, veto individual line items or approve the spending plan (Contra Costa Times, 6/14).
Broadcast CoverageOn Thursday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on Democrats' efforts to pass a budget plan by the Friday deadline (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 6/14). 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.