Last week, on June 27th, Governor Jerry Brown signed a $93 billion state budget that sharply cuts government services and relies heavily on revenues that are expected if voters approve Governor Brown’s tax initiative in November.
State-funded programs that specifically target immigrants were by and large spared, but the cuts enacted by the Governor will impact low income families throughout the state. Unfortunately, Brown used his veto power to make $154 million dollars in additional cuts, $50 million of which will further devastate child care.
The budget closes a $15.7 billion budget gap, with most of the $8.1 billion in cuts to our state's safety net. This includes $469.1 million to CalWORKs, $1.2 billion to Medi-Cal, $52.2 million to IHSS, and $2.5 billion in other solutions.This comes on top of $15 billion in cuts to health and human services programs since 2008.
This budget assumes $6 billion in expected revenue from Governor Brown’s proposed tax initiative, to be voted on this November. If that tax initiative fails, $6 billion in cuts will be triggered, largely affecting public education.
California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) – Both programs were preserved with no cuts in this budget round, but may be targeted in the future if there are additional budget shortfalls.
CalWORKs/Child Only Grants – The budget reduces the time limit for cash assistance from 48 months to 24 months, but approximately 20% of the caseload may have the time clock extended if they meet specified criteria. Further, the “Earned Income Disregard” was restored to $225 from $112, which means that families get to keep more of their income while still receiving maximum aid payments. Child-Only cases will have a reporting change from semi-annual to annual, which saves the state $26 million. There were no grant cuts within the program.
Healthy Families – The Legislature adopted the Governor’s proposal to shift health coverage for children in the Healthy Families Program into the Medi-Cal Program, which will be phased in over the course of a year with safeguards built into the planning process. This shift will affect over 880,000 children in California.
Access to Medi-Cal for Immigrants – This is preserved in the budget signed by the Governor, and no “trigger” cuts are expected in this area. However, this provision of the budget will expand, from four to eight counties, a pilot project that generally shifts seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in both Medi-Cal and Medicare into Medi-Cal managed care plans. At the same time, the budget also adopts the Governor’s proposal to seek federal approval to impose two new copayments on Medi-Cal beneficiaries: $15 for each non-emergency use of the ER and a little over $3 for some prescriptions. Last year, a more draconian proposal relating to copayments was rejected by the Obama administration.
As challenging as this year’s budget negotiations were, immigrant safety net programs are still intact, thanks to much hard work by supporters and advocates. We were also able to hold the line on further cuts to CalWORKs at a time when our state’s safety net is needed the most. It is now up to all of us to begin a dialogue within our communities and with our legislative leaders so that we work to win the revenue solutions we want to see in 2013 and beyond.
CIPC will continue to monitor these legislative developments. Please visit our Budget Advocacy Toolbox for additional links to budget trailer bills and other information related to the 2012-2013 California budget. If you have any questions, please contact our Government Affairs Manager, Ronald Coleman, at (916) 448-6762, or firstname.lastname@example.org.