Lawmakers Again Fail To Agree on Budget; Medi-Cal an Issue
Lawmakers on Monday failed to reach an agreement on a $145 billion state budget for fiscal year 2007-2008, prolonging the stalemate into its eighth week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
California's budget has been overdue since July 1. The Assembly on July 20 approved a spending plan, but Senate Republicans are demanding deeper spending cuts that would eliminate an operating deficit.
Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman (R-Irvine) said, "We thought we had some tentative agreements (on Monday), and they didn't pan out."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) promised to use his line-item veto authority to cut $700 million and balance the budget, but Senate Republicans questioned some of his proposed vetoes, including a $160 million Medi-Cal accounting shift.
The budget deadlock has forced state officials to withhold more than $1 billion in Medi-Cal payments to nursing homes, adult day care centers and other providers. The delayed payments have caused some community clinics to reduce services (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/21).