Schwarzenegger Signs Budget, Vetoes Funds for Prostate Cancer Program
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday signed the state budget after using the line-item veto to eliminate about $190 million in spending from the $117.4 billion spending plan, including funding for a program that provides treatment for low-income men with prostate cancer, the Sacramento Bee reports (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 7/12).
The fiscal year 2005-2006 state budget will:
- Increase funding for nurse training by an additional $20 million for loan forgiveness to graduate level students, simulators to create regional simulation laboratories and more nursing slots in the state community college system;
- Allocate $12 million for local agencies to expand mosquito control efforts to stem address West Nile virus;
- Provide more than $100 million to implement the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, which begins Jan. 1, 2006; and
- Provide $2 million in rent subsidies and $400,000 to counties to develop projects that promote stable housing for homeless state residents with mental illnesses using funds from Proposition 63, which state voters approved in November 2004.
Before signing the budget, Schwarzenegger closed enrollment to the Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer program for low-income state residents (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 7/12). In a line-item veto, Schwarzenegger eliminates $3 million to expand the program (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/12).
In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said that overhead accounts for 45% of the program's budget and that more money should be dedicated to patient care. Administration officials said that the 341 patients enrolled in the program will be able to continue receiving care but that 104 patients currently on the waiting list will not be enrolled in the program. Officials said men denied access to the program can receive care at county hospitals.
However, Mark Litwin, a University of California-Los Angeles professor of urology and IMPACT director, said that overhead costs account for 15% of the program's budget, adding that most counties do not have the resources to care for those denied access to IMPACT (Los Angeles Times, 7/12).
Schwarzenegger eliminated $1.4 million in funding for the Community Care Licensing Division, which inspects care facilities, including assisted living facilities (Sacramento Bee, 7/12).
Schwarzenegger also vetoed $3.8 million in funding for the UC-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, which sponsors research on a variety of topics, including health care (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/12).
In addition, Schwarzenegger used the veto to limit annual salaries for the seven-member California Medical Assistance Commission to $50,000, rather than allowing annual salaries to increase from $99,000 to $110,800 in December.
CMAC members, who are appointed by the governor and Legislature, "are often criticized for receiving high pay for little work," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/12).
A summary of the budget is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the document.