In 2009, as the Great Recession bore down on California, lawmakers cut coverage of eyeglasses, podiatry, speech therapy and other benefits from the state’s low-income health program. A decade later, California will restore many of the cuts.
State lawmakers have approved a new budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year that seeks to make health care accessible and affordable to more people, including undocumented young adults.
Supporters of California’s 60,000 foster youth want the legislature and governor to create a statewide hotline that foster parents and children can call to receive immediate help. The hotline would operate 24 hours a day and be staffed by professionals trained in resolving and de-escalating conflicts.
Californians are not too fond of Gov. Jerry Brown so far and they don’t quite understand the state’s budget mess, but they seem to like the ideas that Brown has put on the table for solving the state’s fiscal predicament, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal calls for deep cuts in health and social service programs that form California’s safety net. Brown wants to cut $1.7 billion from Medi-Cal, 1.5 billion from CalWorks, and $750 million from the Department of Developmental Services. Brown would limit access to Medi-Cal services, including prescription drugs and place stricter time limits on welfare. He also proposes to limit reimbursements for home care for people who need help with daily living so they can remain in their homes and not in an institution.
California’s fiscal outlook is even worse than legislators and most Capitol observers assumed when lawmakers patched together a budget in October 100 days after the start of the current fiscal year. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s office, widely respected for its work on budget issues, projected Wednesday that the state will face a $25 billion shortfall in the budget for the fiscal year that begins next July. And the problem could be worse, if court cases break against the state or Congress and President Obama extend estate tax relief that would indirectly cost California’s treasury nearly $3 billion.
Democratic lawmakers and advocates for the poor harshly criticized Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over the weekend after he vetoed nearly $1 billion from the state budget, much of it from programs intended to aid low-income families. Schwarzenegger sliced $962 million from the spending plan sent to him by the Legislature 100 days after the start of the fiscal year July 1.
After weeks of inaction, get ready for a flurry of activity Tuesday on the state budget. And then more inaction.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger caused a stir in the Capitol Monday when he told reporters he wouldn’t sign a budget that didn’t include long-term reforms, even if it means the state goes without a new spending plan until he leaves office in January.
If state revenues are climbing next year, why does California face an $18 billion budget shortfall? For a couple of reasons: mainly the need to retire this year’s deficit and cope with costs that are programmed to rise automatically in the year ahead.