Gov. Brown Expected To Deliver Positive State of the State Address
On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is expected to deliver an optimistic State of the State address following the release of a fiscal year 2013-2014 budget proposal that would balance state spending, the Los Angeles Times reports (York, Los Angeles Times, 1/23).
Details of Brown's Budget Proposal
Upon releasing his budget plan, Brown said that -- if implemented -- it would leave the state with a budget surplus of $851 million. The plan projects $98.5 billion in revenue and transfers. It estimates $97.7 billion in spending.
Brown's plan includes an expansion of Medi-Cal to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Â The expansion -- included in the Affordable Care Act -- is expected to add up to 1.5 million newly eligible adults to the program.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Additional health and human services-related items in the proposal include:
- A 4.9% increase in funding for In-Home Supportive Services -- which provides services for the elderly and people who are blind or have disabilities -- and an assumption that the state will be able to implement a 20% reduction in service hours on Nov. 1 to obtain $113 million in savings;
- Increases in Supplemental Security Income and State Supplemental Payout grants for low-income elderly, blind and disabled beneficiaries of $20 per month for individuals and $30 per month for couples; and
- A $142 million increase in funding for Cal-WORKs, the state's welfare-to-work program.
- The budget proposal also allocates $1.6 billion for a court-appointed federal overseer to manage continued improvements in the state's prison health care system (California Healthline, 1/16).
Brown, Democrats Might Differ on Spending Efforts
In related news, Brown and Democratic lawmakersÂ might be at odds over state spending efforts in coming months, the Contra Costa Times reports (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 1/23).
Democrats in the LegislatureÂ have said that the state should use any extra revenue to increase spending on health and welfare programs.
Recently, the Legislative Analyst's Office said that California will collect about $4 billion more in January income tax revenue than forecasters predicted (California Healthline, 1/23). In addition, the state has received more than $6 billion in new annual revenue from Proposition 30 -- a tax hike on high-income individuals -- and a sales tax increase.
Brown has told Democrats that they should avoid spending the funds and conserve new revenue.
Ben Tulchin -- a Democratic pollster and political strategies -- said, "There is definitely a debate to be had," adding, "I just can't believe all Democrats will sit there and go, '[Okay,] I'm happy with Prop. 30, and I'll settle for the fact that deeper cuts were not made -- but we can't restore essential services.'"The Times notes that Democrats have super-majorities in the Assembly and Senate and can override any veto by Brown (Contra Costa Times, 1/23). 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.