Funds for Hospitals Influence State Bond Negotiations
An Assembly-House conference committee on Thursday reviewed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) $222.6 billion public works plan and competing bond bills, including proposals to provide funding for seismic safety upgrades for hospitals, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports.
Schwarzenegger wants the bond proposals to fund upgrades to public transit, prisons and courts, schools and levees. Democrats say the proposal should include funds to help provide affordable housing and assist hospitals in paying retrofit costs. Some Democrats also say they are concerned that a bond could lead to future cuts in health care programs, education and environmental programs.
According to the AP/Times, Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders want to reach an agreement on the bond package in time to place a measure on the June statewide ballot, but committee members "indicated that reaching a compromise won't be easy."
The secretary of state has until March 10 to place a measure on the June 6 ballot (Lawrence, AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/17).