Top State Lawmakers, Governor Make Progress on Budget Plans
On Thursday, California legislative leaders announced a breakthrough in budget negotiations to reduce a $19 billion deficit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The announcement came from Los Angeles where top Senate and Assembly lawmakers met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who has been unable to travel to Sacramento because of an illness (Buchanan/Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24).
Aaron McLear, spokesperson for the governor, said negotiators have reached "a framework of an agreement" on a budget plan (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 9/24).
Sources close to the negotiations said lawmakers agreed to a $7.5 billion reduction in spending. The sources added that the framework relies on substantial funds from the federal government, though the funds have yet to be guaranteed.
Plans for the budget also depend on a $1.4 billion assessment by the Legislative Analyst's Office. Lawmakers expect another $1.2 billion from selling state buildings (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24).
The budget developmentÂ came one day before California set a new record for a late budget. The latest date California has gone without a budget was Sept. 23, 2008 (Los Angeles Times, 9/24).
Without a budget in place, some businesses and organizations have gone without pay they usually receive from the government. Some health clinics that serveÂ poor residents have not been paid since July 1 (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24).
Schwarzenegger has said he would not sign a budget plan unless it adjusts costs related to public pensions. He also has said the plan must place controls on other state spending. Sources said these issues could be put before voters.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have said it is unlikely that the new budget plan would broadly increase taxes, though they expect that funding could be reduced for a number of government services (Los Angeles Times, 9/24).
Final Agreement by Monday?
McLear said that budget negotiations will return to Sacramento and that state leaders will work on specific details over the weekend.
He added that negotiators are aiming to reach a final agreement on Monday (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24).
On Thursday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the developments in budget negotiations (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 9/23).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.