LAO Identifies Possible Health Program Cuts if Tax Extensions Fail
If California lawmakers and voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) proposed tax extensions, state workers could be required to pay more in health care costs and could face another round of two furlough days per month, according to a review by the Legislative Analyst's Office, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The 11-page letter from the nonpartisan LAO was requested by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who asked the officeÂ about ways to address the state's budgetÂ deficit without $13.5 billion in additional tax dollars (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 2/15).
Jason Sisney, LAO director of state finance, said the office was just offering options, rather than actually recommending cuts.
LAO's alternatives include $1.2 billion in health and human service-related reductions by:
- CuttingÂ state contributions to employee health care by 30%, which would save $330 million;
- SlashingÂ salaries to the minimum wage for In-Home Supportive Services workers, which would save $300 million;
- Eliminating food and cash aid for non-citizens whom courts deemed eligible for benefits, which would save $190 million; and
- Placing stricter income eligibility rules for welfare-to-work recipients, which would save $180 million.
The LAO letter also identified $700 million in savings from cutting state employee pay by 9.24%, which is equal to two furlough days (Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 2/14).
Meanwhile, on Monday, Senate Republicans refused to support sending bills to the Assembly that will be amended in coming weeks to include the state budget.
Republicans have said they want pension reform and caps on state spending to be included in budget proposals (Lin, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 2/14).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.