Senate Republican Says Health Initiative Funds Could Cut Deficit
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) proposed addressing California's budget deficit by cutting services and borrowing from financial reserves for three voter-approved initiatives, including those funding mental health care, and early childhood health and education programs, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Cogdill estimated that $6 billion is being held in reserve for three initiatives:
- Proposition 63, which provides funds for mental health services statewide;
- Proposition 10, which provides funds for early childhood health and education programs; and
- Proposition 42, which provides funds for transportation projects.
Cogdill said that he will oppose any tax increases but that he would consider proposals to eliminate some tax loopholes.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) estimates that the budget deficit is near $20 billion, but Cogdill projects that the deficit is closer to $16 billion.
Senate Democrats are expected to oppose Cogdill's plan, according to the Bee.
Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), the incoming leader of the Senate, said it would be "unlawful" to address the budget deficit using funds from Proposition 63, which he sponsored. Steinberg said there is "no way" he will let that happen.
Assembly Speaker-elect Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said she believes the deficit cannot be closed through cuts alone (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 5/7).