Two Assembly Members Unveil Budget Proposal With Reductions for State Health and Human Services Programs
As expected, Assembly members Joe Canciamilla (D-Pittsburg) and Keith Richman (R-Northridge) yesterday introduced a fiscal year 2003-2004 budget proposal that calls for reductions to state health and human services programs such as Medi-Cal and a temporary tax increase to help cover an estimated $38.2 billion state budget deficit, the Sacramento Bee reports. The budget proposal, drafted but not signed by a bipartisan coalition of Assembly members, calls for a $1.4 billion reduction in funds to state health and human services programs. The proposal would reduce reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal providers by $405 million and reduce grants to seniors, the blind and the disabled to the minimum federal requirement to save an additional $497 million. In addition, the proposal includes a one-time, $500 million reduction in the amount that the state pays local governments (Hill, Sacramento Bee, 6/18). The proposal also calls for a half-cent sales tax increase to raise additional revenue. Supporters hope that the proposal can "bridge the divide" between Assembly Republicans, who oppose new tax increases to balance the state budget, and Democrats, who have promised not to "cut deep" into state services, the Los Angeles Times reports (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 6/18). Last month, the Assembly Budget Committee approved a budget proposal that would eliminate several reductions to health and human service programs proposed by Gov. Gray Davis (D) in his FY 2003-2004 revised budget proposal. In addition, the committee approved a proposal to raise several state taxes, including the state tobacco tax, to raise more than $8 billion in additional revenue (California Healthline, 6/17).
Davis said of the budget proposal introduced yesterday, "I applaud this bipartisan effort. I appreciate anyone who undertakes the difficult task of putting together a detailed, balanced budget." However, Davis said that he was "not prepared to respond to specifics in the plan" (Sacramento Bee, 6/18).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.