Lawmakers To Vote on Budget Plans; Stalemate Expected To Continue
On Tuesday, the California Legislature is scheduled to vote on a budget plan proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and an alternate proposal crafted by Democratic lawmakers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Tuesday is the last day of California's legislative session.
Neither proposal is expected to pass, even as the state moves into its third month without a plan to close its estimated $19 billion deficit. If the deadlock continues for eight more days, it will be the second-longest budget impasse in the state's history.
Aaron McLear, spokesperson for Schwarzenegger, said that although the Legislature is unlikely to pass a budget package Tuesday, the governor does not object to the vote.
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) also said that he does not expect to see a budget agreement tomorrow but added that he was "not going to have the legislative session end without a full public debate on the most important unresolved issue of the session."
The governor's plan, supported by many Republicans, would:
- Reduce spending on Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program;
- Make deep cuts to In-Home Supportive Services; and
- Eliminate CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work program.
Democrats have proposed a plan that aims to avert some of the governor's proposed cuts by:
- Suspending certain corporate tax breaks; and
- Introducing other tax increases.
Both plans propose cuts to prison medical care and rely on more than $3 billion in federal aid, which the state has not yet received (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/28).
Effects of the Delay
State lawmakers might need to reconvene to address the budget situation if an agreement is not reached this week. McLear said, "If legislators fail to pass a budget before the end of session, we will call them back to finish their job" (Marois, Bloomberg, 8/28).
In addition, State Controller John Chiang (D) said California could start giving out IOUs in the coming days. The state already plans to delay scheduled payments to certain programs (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/30). Â
On Monday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the final push to pass bills as California nears the end of its legislative session (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 8/30).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.