Governor Appeals to California’s Supreme Court on Furlough Plan
On Friday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) formally appealed to the state Supreme Court to reinstate his furlough program for state workers, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The governor filed his appeal on Friday after the First District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling rejecting the furlough plan (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 8/14).Â
Schwarzenegger has argued that the furloughs are necessary to preserve funding for health and safety programs during the state's ongoing budget impasse.
Background on the Furlough Program
The governor's furlough plan would have required more than 144,000 state employees to take three unpaid days off from work each month.Â
The furloughs would not have affected state employees who work for exempted agencies or belong to one of six state labor unions that previously reached labor deals with Schwarzenegger. Among the exempted unions is the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which represents 1,800 state employees.
SEIU Local 1000 Protests Furloughs
However, the furloughs would have affected many workers who are members of Service Employees International Union Local 1000 (California Healthline, 8/13).
Over the weekend, several members of SEIU Local 1000 protested the governor's furlough plan by picketing movie theaters showing Schwarzenegger's new film, "The Expendables" (Kallas, Ventura County Star, 8/13).
Despite Some Agreements, State Still Lacks Budget Plan
Although California still lacks a budget plan more than 40 days into the fiscal year, both Republicans and Democrats agree on budget proposals that would:
- Cut the prison health care budget by $820 million;
- Reduce state worker personnel costs through attrition and delaying payments for future health benefits; and
- Rely on a few billion dollars in federal funds.
Lawmakers alsoÂ agree on certain spending reductionsÂ for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, including cutting:
- $182 million by shifting seniors and disabled individuals to managed care;
- $85 million by freezing hospital reimbursement rates; and
- $14 million by reducing radiology rates.
However, Republicans have proposedÂ cutting aÂ total of $750 millionÂ from Medi-Cal by reducing services and raising copayments. Democrats have rejected many of the Republicans' most severe Medi-Cal cuts.
Republicans also have proposed cutting $637 million from California's In-Home Supportive Services program, while Democrats favor a $250 million spending reduction for IHSS (Sacramento Bee, 8/15).
On Monday, Capitol Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the budget negotiations, detailing which programs Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) says he will not cut (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capitol Public Radio, 8/16).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.