Ventura County Administrators Propose Budget Plan With Health Care Funding Cuts
Ventura County administrators on Wednesday presented a $1.3 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2004-2005 that recommends laying off 300 workers and reducing funding for some health and social service programs, the Ventura County Star reports. The budget assumes that lawmakers will approve Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) plan to shift $1.3 billion in property tax revenue away from local governments; that plan would cost Ventura County $10 million in revenue. According to the Star, the administrators' budget proposal would:
- Eliminate 89 positions from the county Behavioral Health Agency, including a 12-member mental health crisis team that counsels people with mental illnesses;
- Eliminate the county's Senior Nutrition Program, which serves 27,000 meals per month to elderly residents; and
- Reduce by 75% the county Veterans Services budget, which will effectively close the program's Oxnard office and require the county's 65,000 veterans to seek help with benefit claims elsewhere.
Overall, the budget proposal would eliminate 689 jobs, including currently vacant positions and 300 layoffs. County Executive Officer Johnny Johnston said that the proposed job cuts and layoffs would bridge the projected $36 million budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. He added that despite the cuts and layoffs, the proposed budget will help improve the county's fiscal situation, the Ventura County Star reports. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors will begin hearings on the proposed budget June 21 (Levin, Ventura County Star, 6/3). 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.