Law­mak­ers reach a deal on bud­get is­sues

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Chris Mege­rian chris.mege­rian @la­ Twit­ter: @chris­mege­rian

A fi­nal vote may come Mon­day, set­ting up a po­ten­tial con­fronta­tion with Gov. Brown.

SACRA­MENTO — With the dead­line to ap­prove a new bud­get ap­proach­ing, Demo­cratic lead­ers in the Se­nate and the As­sem­bly have reached a deal on a range of is­sues in­volv­ing public health­care, child care and uni­ver­sity fund­ing.

The com­pro­mises were vet­ted by the joint bud­get com­mit­tee Tues­day, and a fi­nal vote in the Leg­is­la­ture is ex­pected Mon­day.

How­ever, an agree­ment with Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to be reached, set­ting up a po­ten­tial con­fronta­tion over the state’s fi­nances.

As in pre­vi­ous years, the dis­agree­ment re­volves around how much money is avail­able for spend­ing.

The law­mak­ers’ bud­get plans are built with num­bers from non­par­ti­san leg­isla­tive an­a­lysts, whose rev­enue es­ti­mates are higher than the Brown ad­min­is­tra­tion’s.

Af­ter the Leg­is­la­ture passes the bud­get, the gover­nor can still veto spend­ing that ex­ceeds his $115.3-bil­lion gen­eral fund pro­posal.

Some of the law­mak­ers’ plans wouldn’t kick in un­til 2016, re­duc­ing their ef­fect on the next bud­get but lead­ing to higher costs in fu­ture years.

For ex­am­ple, rate in­creases for health­care providers who treat Medi-Cal pa­tients would be phased in, with den­tists get­ting the ear­li­est boost in July and other doc­tors re­ceiv­ing more money in April.

That leaves $40 mil­lion in new costs in the next bud­get and about $130 mil­lion an­nu­ally in the fol­low­ing years.

Law­mak­ers’ plans also in­clude $40 mil­lion to pro­vide health­care to im­mi­grant chil­dren who are in the coun­try il­le­gally, a pared­down ver­sion of an ear­lier pro­posal by Sen. Ri­cardo Lara (D-Bell Gar­dens).

Child care would get a $245-mil­lion boost in the bud­get, less than some law­mak­ers had orig­i­nally pro­posed.

The money would not be drawn from the state’s ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing for­mula, a step that had been op­posed by the teach­ers union and other or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Un­der a com­pro­mise reached be­tween the Se­nate and the As­sem­bly, law­mak­ers would keep the mid­dle class schol­ar­ship, a pro­gram that Se­nate leader Kevin de León (D-Los An­ge­les) wanted to elim­i­nate.

How­ever, some changes would be made, such as a four-year limit for as­sis­tance and an as­set test to en­sure the schol­ar­ships are not ben­e­fit­ing wealthy fam­i­lies.

Those changes, com­bined with lower-than-ex­pected en­roll­ment in the pro­gram, would free up an ad­di­tional $70 mil­lion for the Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity sys­tem.

Rich Pedroncelli As­so­ci­ated Press

SARYAH MITCHELL, 4, sits with her mother, Teisa Gay, left, at a rally call­ing for in­creased child-care sub­si­dies. Law­mak­ers plan to give child care a $245-mil­lion boost in the bud­get, less than some leg­is­la­tors had orig­i­nally pro­posed.

David Bu­tow For The Times

SEN. DE LEÓN wanted to elim­i­nate a schol­ar­ship pro­gram.

Los An­ge­les Times

SEN. RI­CARDO LARA pro­posed money for chil­dren’s health­care.

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