Schwarzenegger Hopes Work on Health Care Will Aid Budget Talks
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) strategy for reining in the state's budget deficit will rely on support from Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups who are backing the governor's efforts to reform California's health care system, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
California's budget deficit is projected to reach $14 billion by July 2009.
Schwarzenegger's strategists are hoping his agreement with Democrats on health care reform will help prevent opposition toward budget cuts he will propose on Thursday as part of his spending plan for fiscal year 2008-2009.
Democratic interest groups, however, are opposing funding reductions for current health care services.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, said, "We're going to fight" the governor's budget cuts.
During his State of the State address on Tuesday, Schwarzenegger will announce proposals to reduce the budget deficit, according to his aides.
Democrats are proposing tax increases to help reduce the budget deficit, but the governor will seek to balance the budget with across-the-board spending cuts, Schwarzenegger aides said.
Schwarzenegger also will declare a fiscal emergency this week, forcing lawmakers to agree on a spending plan within 45 days. The governor hopes that Republican lawmakers, who have opposed his health care reform efforts, will support his spending cuts.
Meanwhile, the governor also is expected to promote health care reform during Tuesday's address (Kurtzman, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/7).
Schwarzenegger has maintained that the budget deficit or spending cuts would not interfere with ABX1 1, the compromise health care reform bill negotiated by the governor and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) (California Healthline, 1/7).