Overall State Funding for Health and Human Services Will Increase, Despite Reductions for Some Programs
Overall spending for health and human services programs would increase "by an undisclosed percentage" under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) fiscal year 2005-2006 state budget proposal, although funding for some health care and welfare programs would be reduced, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Drucker, Los Angeles Daily News, 1/9). Schwarzenegger's budget proposal also would reduce funding for education, but health care and welfare programs would "take even bigger hits," the AP/Tallahassee Democrat reports.
Democrats and others who oppose the budget cuts say the governor's proposal "is only the opening salvo in a long debate" over spending in FY 2005-2006, according to the AP/Democrat (Chorneau, AP/Tallahassee Democrat, 1/9).
Democrats have made it "clear" that they likely will oppose any program reduction they believe would be harmful to the elderly and disabled or to public schools, the Daily News reports.
Schwarzenegger, who opposes raising taxes, said he does "not like this budget at all," adding, "It does not solve our ongoing structural problem because our deficit (in the following fiscal year) will be even worse." He said the proposed 2005-2006 state budget is to serve as a temporary, one-year solution.
H.D. Palmer, Schwarzenegger's chief budget spokesperson, said, "He would like to provide more for education. But the alternative would have meant very deep reductions to health and human services, many of which affect children" (Los Angeles Daily News, 1/9).
Assembly member Rick Keene (R-Chico) said Republicans are "resolved to live within our means" and will support the budget proposal regardless of proposed funding reductions (Chorneau, Associated Press, 1/10).
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, said, "All we know is that it will be ugly. There's nowhere else to cut to get the savings that they need" (AP/Tallahassee Democrat, 1/9).
Assembly Budget Committee Chair John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) said that Democrats would look to obtain more federal funds and close tax loop holes rather than reduce spending. He said, "My priorities will be to try to bring people together to see if we can't approach some of these issues in a bipartisan manner. The governor has only been successful when he's been bipartisan" (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 1/10).