Lawmakers Pass State Budget

Democrats in Sacramento forced a vote on a state budget proposal Wednesday. By closing time (5 p.m.) both the California State Assembly and the Senate approved a document they said "will avoid inflicting additional harm to the state’s slowly improving economy and solve more than 60-percent of the structural deficit."

The votes will allow lawmakers to continue to draw a paycheck. If they didn't vote by the constitutional budget deadline of June 15, which happens tonight at midnight, they would stop getting paychecks thanks to a recently passed state proposition.

Republican lawmakers are not on board with the plan, but that didn't matter this year because only a simple majority is needed to get the budget passed.

The budget will now head to Gov. Jerry Brown's office.  It is not what the he wanted, but he may be forced to sign it, according to political watchers.

The new plan takes into account a higher tax revenue for the coming fiscal year from a recovering economy.  It also calls for a temporary extension of tax increases, a special election to make those increases permanent, and lots and lots of cuts.

Here's how the proposed cuts break down as best we can figure from a flurry of press releases:

  • $3 billion delay (or deferal) in payments to schools (K-14)
  • $400 million from community colleges
  • $1.3 billion from UC and CSU ($650 million each)
  • $1 billion from Corrections
  • $350 million from Courts
  • $21 million from State Parks. This means closure of 70 state parks.
  • $5 billion from health and human services including:

-$300 million from child care for low income families. That would mean one out of every 5 children now enrolled will lose their slot.

-$1 billion from CalWORKS

-$486 million from In-home Support services. This will mean reduced hours for 95-percent of all recipients. Nearly 436-thousand elderly, and disabled recipients will lose up to 16.5 hours a month in assistance. 

-$192 million from SSI. This means more than one million elderly, blind or disabled people living in poverty will have cuts in payments totaling about $3600 a year per recipient.

-$1.386 billion from Medi-Cal/Healthy Families This means mandatory co-payments ranging from $5-$200 and a cap of seven doctor visits a year.  Annual premiums for low income families on Healthy Families Program will go up between $168-216 for each child.

-$577 million from Developmental Disability Services. This means the elimination of adult day health care centers

Beyond the dollar cuts, the Democratic plan also revives a Schwarzenegger proposal to sell 11 state properties and lease them back. The new plan comes with one big change because it allows the state to repurchase the buildings when the lease expires.

They also increased the vehicle registration fee by $12 and increase sales tax by .25-percent. The Amazon tax is also in the new plan, which taxes most internet purchases.

More on the impacts of the budget:

Borrowing, Fees and Gimmicks, Oh My

What We're Giving Up to Get an On-Time Budget

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