Lawmakers Approve Billions in Spending Cuts, Avoid Tax Vote
On Wednesday, the California Legislature approved about $7.4 billion in state spending cuts and adjustments, including shifts and reductions in funding of health and human services programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
However, lawmakers did not vote on whether to let voters decide in June if they want to temporarily extend some taxes to generate $14 billion in revenue (Buchanan/Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/17).
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) proposed spending reductions and an extension of taxes as part of his plan to close the state's $26.6 billion budget deficit over 18 months. The plan includes more than $6 billion in cuts to health care and welfare-to-work services for low-income residents.
Brown had set March 10 as the goal for the Legislature to approve his proposal. He then asked for the vote to be delayed so he could try to secure more GOP support (California Healthline, 3/16).
Details of Cuts, Shifts
Lawmakers did not sign off on an official budget plan for the next fiscal year but addressed pieces of legislation within the budget package (Goldmacher/McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 3/17).
Several of the cuts approved by lawmakers affected health care and human services programs, including:
- Increased copayment requirements for beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program;
- Cuts to welfare-to-work grants; and
- Cuts to services for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Lawmakers also decided to shift funding for mental health care and childhood development programsÂ to address the budget shortfall.
After the floor votes, Brown said that more cuts are needed (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/17).
About two more weeks remain for lawmakers toÂ place the tax issue on the ballot in a June special election (Sacramento Bee, 3/17).
Democrats still lack the votes in either house to approve the tax extension measure, the Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/17). The governor and Democratic lawmakers are working to secure Republican support for the measure (Los Angeles Times, 3/17).
The tax issue could be reconsidered as early as Thursday (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/17).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.