Legislature Passes 2015-16 Budget; Negotiations with Governor Continue

The Legislature voted to pass (Assembly vote- 53-28; Senate vote- 26-13, both along party lines) an on-time budget that includes critical investments in health and human services programs beyond what the Governor proposed in his initial budget and in the May Revision.

The Legislature’s proposed augmentations to health items include restoring Medi-Cal benefits that had been cut (full adult dental, podiatry, speech therapy, etc), beginning to rescinding the cut to Medi-Cal provider rates, and investing in public health programs. The Legislature’s budget also expands Medi-Cal to all children regardless of immigration status and lays the groundwork for a capped program for undocumented adults. As shown in our budget scorecard, the Administration has indicated that it’s opposed to all of these augmentations for fiscal reasons.

Budget negotiations will continue in the coming days until a final agreement is reached with the Governor. Legislators have indicated they expect these negotiations to be complete by July 1, 2015, which is the start of the new fiscal year. The Legislature’s budget relies on the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office’s (LAO) revenue estimates, which assume the state will receive $3 billion more in revenue than the Governor estimates. In addition, the Legislature has dedicated some of this additional revenue to fund investments in health and human services programs, including the health programs mentioned above.

See our previous blog post for details about health items in the Legislature’s budget. Given the Governor’s reservations about making additional investments in health programs, community advocates are mobilizing their networks to urge Governor Brown to support these critical investments.