Republican Leaders Say Budget Cuts Loom if Ballot Measures Fail
If voters reject the budget-related measures in the May 19 special election, Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murietta) said Republican legislators will be ready with proposals to use spending cuts to address the state budget deficit, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Hollingsworth said that Republican proposals for spending cuts and scaled-back business regulations "by default" would become more viable.
Of the six measures on the special election ballot, Hollingsworth is supporting propositions 1C, 1D and 1E.
Proposition 1C would let the state borrow against future lottery revenue (Ferriss, Sacramento Bee, 4/30).
Proposition 1D would shift funds from First 5, which was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
In fiscal year 2009-2010, the measure would shift as much as $608 million in Proposition 10 revenue to the state general fund for other state health and human services programs for children who are not older than age five.Â The measure would shift as much as $268 million to the state general fund in each of the next four fiscal years.
The measure also would eliminate funds for statewide media campaigns and permit First 5 to allocate funding only for direct health and human services.
Proposition 1E would shift $226.7 million from mental health care programs that Proposition 63 funds to the existing Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program for low-income children for two years.Â
In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which increased the state income tax on high-income Californians to fund mental health services (California Healthline, 4/29).
Republican lawmakers initially proposed using funds from First 5 and Proposition 63 to help balance the state budget.Â
If voters reject propositions 1D and 1E, Hollingsworth said, "It's a fair argument" that voters do not want to tap into those special funds.
Assembly Leadership Differs
Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines (R-Clovis) is continuing his campaign in favor of the ballot measures, saying that the state likely will face across-the-board budget cuts if the measures fail (Sacramento Bee, 4/30).
New Field Poll
Meanwhile, a Field Poll released today indicates that in general, Californians would rather cut spending than raise taxes to address the state budget deficit, the Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
That said, when presented with 12 areas of state spending, a majority of respondents supported cutting spending for two areas, prisons and state parks (Hecht, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/30).
According to the Field Poll:
- 31% of respondents support cutting state funding for mental health programs; and
- 26% back reducing state funding for health care for low-income state residents and people with disabilities (DiCamillo/Field, Field Poll, 4/30).
Complete findings from the survey are on Field Poll's Web site (.pdf).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.