Legislators Approve Main Budget Measure, Withhold Some Bills
On Friday, California Democrats passed a $92.1 billion spending plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the Sacramento Bee reports. In all, Democrats passed a total of seven budget bills (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 6/16).
Friday was the state constitutional deadline to pass a balanced budget plan. In 2010, voters passed a law that calls for legislators' pay to be docked every day after that deadline until a budget is approved (California Healthline, 6/14).
No Republicans voted for the spending plan (Megerian/York, Los Angeles Times, 6/16).
Lawmakers Sent Only Primary Budget Legislation to Brown
Lawmakers sent the primary budget legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), but they did not send most of the more than two dozen trailer bills that include proposals on cutting programs and raising revenue.
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said, "We did not pass all of [the trailer bills] because we want to finish our negotiations with the governor before we vote on those measures" (Sacramento Bee, 6/16).
Details of the Spending Plan
The Democrats' budget plan largely matches Brown's $91.4 billion revised fiscal year 2012-2013 budget plan, with a difference of about $300 million in proposed cuts.
The Democrats' plan would replace some of Brown's proposed cuts to programs for low-income residents with a lower state reserve fund and accounting changes.
The Democrats' plan also would:
- Accept Brown's overhaul plans for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program; and
- MaintainÂ Brown's proposal to reduce hours toÂ In-Home Supportive Services beneficiaries byÂ 3.6%.
The Democrats' plan also would incorporate a compromise tax hike plan supported by Brown that would raise the sales tax and increase taxes on high-income earners. Last month, Brown began submitting voter signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
Democrats, Brown Differ on CalWORKs Rules
One point of disagreement remaining between Democrats and Brown late last week involved CalWORKs, the state's welfare-to-work program.
Democrats seek to continue a policyÂ started two years ago that suspends work requirements for welfare beneficiaries, which would save $428 million by requiring the state to provide less child care, transportation and job training for the beneficiaries.
However, Brown wants to reduce the four-year suspension of work requirements to two years, which would save the state $880 million (California Healthline, 6/15).
Brown Signals That Negotiations Will Continue
On Friday, Brown signaled that he will continue negotiations with Democrat leaders, according to the Times.
Gil Duran -- Brown's spokesperson -- said, "We're still not there yet."
GOP Reaction to Democrats' Spending Plan
Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet) said Democrats' spending plan is "full of borrowing and gimmicks" (Los Angeles Times, 6/16).
Last week, Republicans boycotted a Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Democrats' budget legislation. Emmerson in a statement said, "We have made repeated requests for an honest and open budgetary process and for the budget measures to be in print for 48 hours, to allow public review." He added, "We can't in good conscience vote for bills we have not seen."
After receiving the spending plan, Brown has 12 days to decide if he will veto the entire budget, veto individual line items or approve the budget (California Healthline, 6/15).
On Friday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on passage of the spending plan (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio).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.