Senate Committee Rejects $1.9 Billion in Proposed Midyear Budget Cuts, Including Funding for Health Programs
The Senate Budget Committee on Thursday "soundly rejected" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) proposed $1.9 billion in midyear budget cuts for fiscal year 2003-2004, including funding reductions to health programs for low-income residents, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Gledhill/Salladay, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/6). Schwarzenegger's plan included a proposed funding reduction of $440 million for the Department of Health and Human Services (California Healthline, 11/25/03). Assembly and Senate budget committee meetings held this week were the first since the governor announced his budget proposal last month. Some Republican committee members tried to get the committee to approve midyear cuts, but committee Chair Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata) said that "the cuts cannot be taken lightly" and cited "life and death" decisions, such as capping enrollment in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the Chronicle reports. However, committee Democrats "left open the possibility of approving some of the cuts after more study," the Chronicle reports. Schwarzenegger administration officials said that the state will lose $405 million over the next two years if the midyear budget cuts are not approved until April 1. Mike Genest, chief deputy of the Department of Finance, told the committee, "We've done everything we can think of ... to bring spending under control," adding, "Our proposal is very well thought through." Lawmakers will continue to meet during the spring, with "serious" work on the budget beginning in May after the governor revises his budget proposal based on personal income tax returns, the Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/6).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.