Legislative Analyst’s Report Outlines Possible Budget Cuts, Including Cuts in Some Health Services
Legislative Analyst Liz Hill issued a report yesterday offering lawmakers a series of recommendations for reducing the state's $12.4 billion projected deficit in 2003, including some budget cuts for health programs, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report outlined $1.4 billion in overall cuts, including $10 million by "reducing support for certain mental health programs." It also said the state could save $1 billion in part by suspending employee raises, including those for health officials, and additional money could be saved by borrowing from California's share of the national tobacco settlement. Meanwhile, Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday told the League of California Cities that he is "not counting" on the nearly $4 billion the state pays local governments "in lieu of vehicle licensing fees" to balance the budget. While not ruling out local funding cuts, Davis said, "I am going to treat local governments as a full partner, not a scapegoat. I do not intend to balance this budget on the backs of local governments." Davis has already proposed $3 billion in cuts, which lawmakers will consider next month. Several Democratic lawmakers have proposed raising or suspending cuts in the vehicle licensing fees to obviate the need for cuts in funding to local governments. Sen. Dede Alpert (D-Coronado) said, "I think the kind of services that [local governments] provide, including public safety and public health, are really at the top of people's agenda right now. We have to make sure we don't take away revenues that allow them to carry out those tasks" (Tamaki, Los Angeles Times, 12/20).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.