Gov. Jerry Brown used line-item vetoes to cut $195.7 million from the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget plan that lawmakers sent to him Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Megerian/Mishak, Los Angeles Times, 6/29).
Some of the cuts involved health spending, according to Capitol Public Radio's "KXJZ News" (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 6/28).
Background on Budget Process
On June 15, lawmakers sent the primary budget bill (AB 1464) to Brown, but they did not vote on most of the trailer bills that included proposals on cutting programs and raising revenue because they had not yet reached a final budget deal with Brown.
The following week, Democrats and Brown announced a FY 2012-2013 budget deal (California Healthline, 6/28).
On Wednesday, Brown signed into law 27 budget bills (Los Angeles Times, 6/29).
Details of Budget Plan
The budget plan:
- Eliminates Healthy Families -- California's Children's Health Insurance Program -- and moves the 880,000 children enrolled in the program to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program;
- Reduces state child care assistance by 8.7%, which would reduce the number of slots available to low-income families by 10,600;
- Reduces In-Home Supportive Services workers' hours by 3.6%;
- Phases in a two-year time limit for new beneficiaries to find work under CalWORKs, the state's welfare-to-work program; and
- Requires higher graduation rates for colleges and universities to qualify for state college aid and reduces financial aid to college students.
The budget plan relies on voters approving a compromise tax hike initiative developed by Brown and supporters of the "Millionaires Tax."
In addition, the budget plan includes a "trigger provision" that would cut $5.9 billion from public schools if the tax hike does not pass (California Healthline, 6/28).
Details of Line-Item Vetoes
Using line-item vetoes, Brown decreased general fund spending to $91.3 billion and brought the overall budget to $142.4 billion (Los Angeles Times, 6/29).
Among the vetoes, Brown cut:
- $10 million from child nutrition programs for school districts, county offices of education and charter schools; and
- $15 million from the Department of Education's Early Mental Health Initiative ("KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 6/28).
Brown did not explain his vetoes publicly, but Ana Matosantos -- Brown's finance director -- said the governor wanted a larger state budget reserve to help protect the state from potential financial problems in the coming fiscal year.
Reaction to Vetoes
Democrats had hoped Brown that would not make significant cuts to the spending plan after weeks of negotiations.
According to the Times, they called the vetoes "disappointing," "gratuitous" and "unnecessary."
Assembly Budget Committee Chair Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills) said, "We moved extremely far to get a budget that reflected [Brown's] position," adding, "There's no way I'm happy" about the vetoes.
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said he disagreed with the cuts but said Democrats had not reached an "ironclad agreement" to prevent line-item vetoes.
He added that the vetoes "could have been worse" (Los Angeles Times, 6/29).