Updated Budget Plan Likely To Include Deep Health Care Cuts
This week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is expected to release an updated budget plan that likely will include significant cuts to health and social service programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/10).
Previous Budget Proposals
In January, Schwarzenegger released two budget plans: one that included the $6.9 billion in additional federal funding the state had requested, and one that did not.
If the state secured the federal funding, the governor proposed $2.9 billion in cuts to health and human services.
If the additional funding was not secured, the governor proposed instituting a trigger mechanism that would allow him to make $4.6 billion in program cuts and $2.4 billion in tax adjustments (California Healthline, 1/11). The plan would eliminate California's In-Home Supportive Services program and Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance program.
Last year's budget package cut about $3 billion from health and social services (Theriault, San Jose Mercury News, 5/9).
On Friday, State Controller John Chiang (D) reported that California's latestÂ tax revenues are $3.6 billion short of projections, which could mean that the state's budget deficit could be even higher thanÂ the previously estimated shortfall of $20 billion.
The Department of Finance also reported that California has secured only $3 billion in additional federal funding, which is significantly less than the $6.9 billion that Schwarzenegger originally requested.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have said they do not intend to raise taxes to bridge the budget gap, meaning that program cutsÂ could be necessary (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/10).
Majority-VoteÂ Ballot Initiative
In related news, supporters of a proposal that would allow California's budget to pass with a simple majority vote have collected enough signatures to put the initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The Majority Vote Ballot Initiative would retain the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases and would withhold legislative pay if the budget is not passed on time.
The ballot initiative is supported by:
- Assembly Speaker John PÃ©rez (D-Los Angeles);
- Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento);
- State Treasurer Bill Lockyer;
- The California Nurses Association; and
- Other union groups (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 5/7).