Governor’s Arguments in Line-Item Veto of Health Funds Due Today
Today, the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will file its response to a lawsuit challenging his line-item vetoes of $487 million for health care and other programs, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Theriault, San Jose Mercury News, 10/4).
When he signed the budget revision package in July, Schwarzenegger used line-item vetoes to cut:
- $60.5 million from Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program;
- $52 million from HIV/AIDS programs;
- $50 million from Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program;
- $6.2 million from the Department of Aging; and
- $4 million from the Department of Mental Health (California Healthline, 9/28).
Health care and social services advocates filed the suit last month, arguing that the governor's line-item veto authority applies only to new budgets and is not in effect for revisions to existing budgets, which they say the July budget was.Â Major counties and legislative leaders joined the suit.
Aides to the governor argue that the governor can use his line-item veto authority whenever the Legislature sends him a spending package.
Plaintiffs will have two weeks to file their rebuttal to the administration's arguments, and attorneys said a trial date likely will be scheduled soon afterward.If the court rules against Schwarzenegger, H.D. Palmer, a spokesperson for the Department of Finance, indicated that the administration would appeal the ruling to the California Supreme Court (San Jose Mercury News, 10/4). 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.