Lawmakers Approve $131 Billion State Budget
The Legislature on Tuesday approved a $131 billion fiscal year 2006-2007 budget that includes $29.3 billion for health and human services programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/28). Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to sign the budget on Friday (Joseph, Orange County Register, 6/28).
The budget passed 30-10 in the Senate and 54-22 in the Assembly.
Democrats had removed from the budget two proposals to fund children's health insurance programs after Republicans said they would not support a budget that would extend health benefits to undocumented children.
One of the measures would have provided $23 million to eliminate waiting lists for Healthy Kids programs in 18 counties. A separate proposal would have expanded eligibility for Healthy Families and was estimated to cost $300 million in 2008, mainly for services to undocumented immigrants.
Lawmakers said they would introduce separate legislation to expand the programs.
The budget also includes $220 million for disaster preparation. Schwarzenegger originally requested $400 million for emergency preparedness, but lawmakers "are said to have concluded that a larger amount of money ... could not be prudently spent in one year," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/28).
The emergency preparedness funding will provide emergency medical items such as mobile field hospitals, ventilators, protective equipment and supplies to hospitals (California Healthline, 6/26).
The budget uses a $7.5 billion surplus to pay down debt, fund education and increase reserves (Orange County Register, 6/28).
The following newspapers also published articles addressing the state budget:
- "$131 Billion State Budget Approved" (Halper/Rau, Los Angeles Times, 6/28).
- "$131 Billion Budget Ok'd" (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 6/28).
- "Legislature Passes Budget Heavy on Education Funds" (Harmon/Garcia, San Jose Mercury News, 6/28).