Orange County Board of Supervisors Approves $106 Million in Budget Cuts
The Orange County Board of Supervisors yesterday approved $106.4 million in spending cuts for fiscal year 2003-2004, including budget cuts to county health and social service programs, the Los Angeles Times reports. The board agreed to stop paying for discretionary programs and said budget concerns would keep it from compensating health and social services programs that lost funding from the state or other sources. The board's budget plan would save $14.8 million by reducing or eliminating funds for substance abuse programs for drug offenders, psychiatric treatment beds for adults with severe mental illnesses and medical beds at Theo Lacy Branch jail. In addition, the county Health Care Agency would lose $8.4 million in funds for clinics, children's and mental health services and other programs. The cuts were necessary because the state budget crisis will cost the county "tens of millions of dollars" next year, in addition to a downturn in property tax revenue and "massive" debt the county incurred during its 1994 bankruptcy, according to local officials. The cutbacks -- the first to be proposed in the county's five-year financial plan following bankruptcy -- are intended to keep the county "out of the red" for five years, the Times reports (Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 3/5).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.