State Senate To Hold Weekend Negotiations on Budget Deficit
Members of California's Senate plan to meet throughout the weekend to work out a compromise to close the state's remaining $9.6 billion deficit as the June 15 budget deadline nears, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
For every day past the June 15 deadline that a budget is not passed, lawmakers could lose their pay (Hoang, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).
Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) released a revised spending plan that aims to close the state's budget gap through tax measures and spending cuts. The governor's plan would:
- Extend a fee on hospitals to bring in $320 million for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program;
- Shift beneficiaries of Healthy Families -- California's Children's Health Insurance Program -- to Medi-Cal; and
- Shut down several state boards, including the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which runs Healthy Families and other programs (California Healthline, 6/8).
Brown is asking lawmakers to temporarily extend current sales and vehicle tax rates until voters can weigh in on the issue in a fall special election (Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/9).
To obtain the two-thirds majority necessary to pass his tax extension plan, Brown would need votes from all Democrats and two Republicans in each house of the Legislature. So far, no Republicans have expressed support for the governor's tax plan (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).
However, some GOP members negotiating with Brown say they are close to hammering out a deal on a special election, depending on whether they reach an agreement on pension changes, a spending cap and other issues (Harmon, San Jose Mercury News, 6/9).
The Assembly does not meet again until Monday, meaning that the chamber likely will wait to review any budget that the Senate passes and then vote on that plan (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).
Since Brown and Republicans are unlikely to support a tax measure that sidesteps voter approval, "the next best thing is to maintain the higher rates until voters weigh in," a Los Angeles Times editorial states. It continues, "State and local agencies will still have to make contingency plans for smaller budgets in case the ballot measure fails, but that's better than having to make painful cuts in July that prove unnecessary in the fall" (Los Angeles Times, 6/10).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.