Schwarzenegger Unveils $131.1B Budget
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Friday released a revised $131.1 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2006-2007 that increases funding for children's health insurance, emergency preparedness and mental health care, the Sacramento Bee reports (Furillo, Sacramento Bee, 5/13).
Overall, the revised proposal increases the Department of Health Services' budget to $36 billion -- $700,000 more than was proposed in January (DeFao, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/13).
The budget proposal includes:
- $22.8 million to help counties provide health insurance to 24,000 low-income children (Sacramento Bee, 5/13);
- $75 million annually in Proposition 63 funds -- a measure approved by voters in 2004 to fund mental health services -- to build more than 10,000 housing units for homeless people with mental illnesses;
- $65 million to restore a 5% provider rate reduction for Medi-Cal managed care plans that took effect in 2004 (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 5/13); and
- $43.8 million to rescind a freeze on cost-of-living increases for elderly, blind and disabled residents who receive Supplemental Security Income (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/13).
The budget proposal includes $400 million in one-time spending for hospitals and public health agencies to provide medicine, equipment, special staff and emergency beds in the event of an avian flu outbreak or other natural disaster (Halper/Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 5/13). Schwarzenegger's proposal calls for spending about:
- $100 million for 7,200 ventilators;
- $53 million for 3.7 million courses of antiviral medicines;
- $50 million for special respirator masks for health care providers; and
- $12 million for two tent-based mobile hospitals, each of which could accommodate 200 hospital beds.
The revised budget proposal includes $14.5 million to help hospitals develop such policies (Lin/Chung, Los Angeles Times, 5/13).
The deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget is June 15. The governor must sign a budget by June 30 for the fiscal year that begins July 1. However, budgets have been signed after the deadline eight times over the last decade (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 5/13).
Headlines and links for additional coverage of the revised budget proposal appear below.
- "Schwarzenegger Offers Capital Idea" (Miller, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/13).
- "Crowd-Pleasing $131.1 Billion Budget" (Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/13).
The revised budget proposal is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the document.
KPCC's "Patt Morrison" on Friday included a discussion of Schwarzenegger's revised budget, including funding for children's health insurance programs, trauma and emergency departments and existing mental health programs that do not receive funding under Proposition 63. Guests on the program included:
- Tamara Keith, Sacramento reporter for KPCC;
- Assembly Budget Committee Chair John Laird (D-Santa Cruz);
- H.D. Palmer, deputy director of the Department of Finance;
- Dan Weintraub, author of the "California Insider" column for the Sacramento Bee; and
- Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles County supervisor (Morrison, "Patt Morrison," KPCC, 5/12).