The California budget mess continues…

The budget news got worse this week with a new LAO report: “California’s Fiscal Outlook: The 2010-11 Budget.” It states:

Our forecast of California’s General Fund revenues and expenditures shows that the state must address a General Fund budget problem of $20.7 billion between now and the time the Legislature enacts a 2010–11 state budget plan. The budget problem consists of a $6.3 billion projected deficit for 2009–10 and a $14.4 billion gap between projected revenues and spending in 2010–11. Addressing this large shortfall will require painful choices—on top of the difficult choices the Legislature made earlier this year.

Readers of this blog will know the painful cuts already made, but here’s a Health Access handout that includes a full list of the health cuts made in just the last year, from the elimination of dental and 10 other benefits for adults in Medi-Cal, to the zeroing out of state funding for community clinics.

It’s hard to imagine the severity of the cuts that are left, a point I make in this Sacramento Bee article by Kevin Yamamura. Do we go back to eliminating the Healthy Families program that covers 900,000 children, a mere few weeks after a big-deal signing ceremony trumpeting the saving of the program? What else?

Jean Ross of the California Budget Project is right that we need to raise revenues, and start with repealing the corporate tax breaks that were granted in the last budget. The LAO agrees that the budget needs to include revenues, not just cuts.

Much more to come…

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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