Legislature To Vote on Budget Thursday
The Legislature on Thursday will vote on a more than $117 billion state budget for fiscal year 2005-2006, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to sign the budget next week if it is approved, the Sacramento Bee reports (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 7/7).
Under an agreement reached Tuesday, general fund spending for health care, schools, prisons and other programs would increase by 10.3% to $90.1 billion in FY 2005-2006 (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/7). In addition, the proposed budget would allot an additional $20 million to increase nurse training programs, maintain the state's contribution to wages for in-home support services workers and shift some Medi-Cal beneficiaries to HMO plans (California Healthline, 7/6).
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the state's contribution to In-Home Supportive Services workers, who provide home care for elderly residents and those with disabilities, was among "the biggest concerns" in Bay Area counties.
For example, Santa Clara County, which has 8,000 residents in the program, would have had to pay $9 million to maintain IHSS workers' wages under a contract that expires in October.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Jim Beall said the wage concession "was a big victory." He added that many of the IHSS clients would have been transferred to nursing homes if the state's contribution to wages for IHSS workers had been reduced.
San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie said, "We weren't as concerned about the financial impact on us, but about the morality of what was being done to" workers and clients (Woolfolk, San Jose Mercury News, 7/7).
Schwarzenegger on Wednesday said legislative leaders "said as soon as we sign the budget we should start immediately with our talks and negotiations, sitting down and trying to come up with ways of how we can go to the ballot together" in November.
The ballot includes three health-related initiatives: two for prescription drug discounts to low-income state residents and one that would require parental notification prior to performing an abortion on unmarried minors.
Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) said, "We've got some distance to go, but it would be a real shame, and unnecessary, if we could not quantify and package what we've done [Tuesday] on other issues facing the state. There clearly is a willingness there" (Folmar/Gladstone, San Jose Mercury News, 7/7).