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Oh yeah, the Budget…

Amid all the movement in Sacramento around the High Risk Pool, Section 1115 Waiver Renewal, Health Benefits Exchange, and even the Single Payer bill, it is easy to forget about the state budget. If you recall, the state is currently in a $19.1 billion budget deficit (in a total budget of +/-$100 billion).

As you know, the Constitutional deadline has come and gone, and we’re now 7 days into the new fiscal year without a budget. While we’re still a long way from the record (the 2008-09 budget was signed on Sep. 23rd – 85 days past the deadline), with all the other business in the Capitol, including the broiling minimum wage fight and the fast-approaching mid-term elections, it looks to be another long, hot summer on the budget in Sacramento.

As a quick refresher… in May, Governor Schwarzenegger released his revised budget proposal. The Governor’s proposal includes some dramatic cuts and changes to Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and the mental health safety net. For more, be sure to read ITUP’s summary and analysis.

Just last month, the Democratic majorities in the state Senate and Assembly responded to the Governor, announcing their Principles for Finalizing Budget.

Some highlights:
• No further erosion of the critical services for vulnerable children, the disabled, the elderly, and the ill, including proposals that call for elimination of CalWORKs, child care, community mental health, and the draconian reductions in IHSS and Medi-Cal.
• Funding schools in accordance with Prop 98.
• Now is not the time to implement major new programs or to implement new tax breaks.
• Closing loopholes, like the oil drilling loophole, and maintaining existing tax rates that will not negatively impact the economy.
• Reject the scapegoating of state employees.

How and when all of this will unfold, and how the final budget may or may not affect the implementation of reform in California, is almost impossible to say at this point. Stay tuned to the Blog as the saga unfolds…