Schwarzenegger’s Budget Plan Shelved by Legislative Leaders
On Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) proposal to address California's multibillion-dollar budget shortfall stalled after lawmakers said they would not act before Gov.-elect Jerry Brown (D) takes office next month, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Democratic leaders of the Senate and Assembly budget committees held brief hearings earlier in the dayÂ in which they criticized Schwarzenegger's plan. The committees then adjourned without scheduling any additional meetings this month on the governor's proposal.
Details on Schwarzenegger's Plan
On Monday, Schwarzenegger convened a special legislative session to address the state's budget deficit, which is estimated to be about $6.1 billion for the current fiscal year. For the next fiscal year, the budget shortfall is expected to grow by an additional $19.4 billion.
On the first day of the special session, Schwarzenegger released a proposal that aimed to close the deficit by $9.9 billion over the next 18 months (McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 12/10).
His budget plan calls for $7.4 billion in spending reductions, primarily targeting health and human services programs. The proposal also would generate $2.5 billion through funding changes and other revenue.
The governor's budget plan would cut about:
- $51.6 millionÂ in spending onÂ Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program; and
- $984 million in spending on Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
In addition, the governor's plan aims to reduce state spending by about $1.4 billion by eliminating CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work program, effective July 1, 2011 (California Healthline, 12/7).
Reaction From Democrats
Democrats have criticized Schwarzenegger's proposal, saying it includes harsh cuts that the governor has proposed in the past.
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said Democratic lawmakers are looking past Schwarzenegger's plan and instead areÂ focusing on the budget proposal that Brown must release by Jan. 10.
Legislative Analyst Weighs In
Mac Taylor, the state's legislative analyst, said regardless of whether lawmakers act this month or next year, they will need to "look across the whole budget" to reduce spending. Taylor noted that this might involve possible cuts to health and social services programs (Van Oot, Sacramento Bee, 12/10).
On Thursday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the budget committee hearings and the governor's proposal to combat California's budget deficit (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 12/9).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.