LAO: Funds From Health Care Accounts Could Help Cover Budget Gap
On Thursday, California's non-partisan legislative analyst urged lawmakers to consider shifting funds from voter-approved initiatives to fund health care efforts to help address the state budget deficit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The budget gap is projected to hit $40 billion by mid-2010.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Republican lawmakers have proposed asking voters to approve reallocating money from Proposition 63, which provides funds for mental health services, and Proposition 10, which helps fund early childhood health care and education programs.
In a report, Mac Taylor, the state's legislative analyst, also recommended that lawmakers consider asking voters to sign off on letting the state tap into funds from Proposition 99, which increased the state tobacco tax to help fund health care programs, and Proposition 49, a 2002 initiative backed by Schwarzenegger that provides funds for after-school programs (Yi/Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/9).
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said that redirecting funds from Proposition 63 is a "non-starter."Â Steinberg was an author of the initiative.
Taylor recommended holding a special election as soon as April to seek voter approval for the revision of the ballot initiatives, as well as proposals to borrow against future proceeds of the state lottery (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 1/9)
Borrowing ProposalsIn addition, Taylor expressed doubts over Schwarzenegger's plan to borrow roughly $10 billion to close the deficit because of the tight credit market and potential legal hurdles (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/9). 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.