Budget Brief: Governor Signs 2012 State BudgetJuly 9, 2012
| After almost two weeks of negotiations with legislators, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the 2012 state budget into law on June 27. In addition to a number of reductions previously approved by the Legislature, the final budget includes several new cuts, as well as Brown's line-item vetoes, that are likely to affect young children and their families. These include:
Child Care Brown's plan to realign child care programs to counties was rejected, but the Legislature added an additional $30 million across-the-board cut to the following child care programs: General Child Care, Migrant Day Care, Alternative Payment Program, CalWORKs Stage 3 and Allowance for Handicapped. This brings the total reduction to $80 million. Legislators also suspended the cost of living adjustment for child care programs for the next three years beginning in July; required families with children in state preschool to pay fees similar to those in child care programs and froze income eligibility for child care and preschool programs. Governor's Action: Brown reduced another $20 million from voucher-based child care programs, except those serving current and former CalWORKs families. This, along with the legislators' cuts above, will eliminate a total of 14,000 child care slots, according to the California Budget Project.
Child Nutrition Legislators rejected Brown's elimination of the $10.4 million non-Proposition 98 General Fund support that provides a 15 cent per meal reimbursement to private, non-local education agency (LEA) child care centers, schools and family day care homes. This proposal would have affected about 17,500 sites and about 312,000 children. Governor's Action: Brown eliminated $10.1 million.
Preschool Governor's Action: Brown cut $29.9 million from preschool programs administered by Title 5 centers that contract directly with the California Department of Education. This reduces funding from nearly $511 million to $481 million and eliminates 12,500 preschool slots, according to the CBP.
Cal-Learn The Legislature reduced the Cal-Learn appropriation by $10 million on a one-time basis in 2012-13, allowing counties to ramp-up to full reinstatement of the program for pregnant and parenting teens by April 1. Cal-Learn state funding was eliminated in 2011-12 and the program was suspended for one year. Governor's Action: None.
CalWORKs Cash assistance and employment services will now be limited to 24 months, down from 60 months three years ago. Counties will have some flexibility to allow up to 20 percent of adults to extend their time on the program. The reduction is expected to save the state $469.1 million in 2012-13. Governor's Action: None.
Healthy Families Despite passing a budget in mid-June that preserved the State's Children's Health Insurance Program - known as Healthy Families here in California - legislators later opted to adopt Brown's plan to scrap the program and shift the estimated 871,000 children in Healthy Families into Medi-Cal. The move is expected to save the state $13 million in general fund savings in the first year alone, via a four-phase transfer starting in January. The enacted budget also requires that children moving to Medi-Cal receive dental services through fee-for-service dental care; however, in L.A. County, children would have the option of managed care or fee-for-service.
Health advocates such as Health Access and Children Now have stated that eliminating Healthy Families would endanger the health of millions of California children, both those currently in Healthy Families as well as those already in Medi-Cal and who are already facing difficulties accessing care. The move would also mean the possible loss of $200 million in federal revenue that is available to Healthy Families. Governor's Action: None.
Medi-Cal Brown's proposal to implement copayments was approved, pending federal approval, with expected state savings of $20.2 million. This would translate to a copayment of $15 for non-emergency visits to emergency rooms, and copayments of up to $3.10 for preferred drugs and $5 for non-preferred drugs. Governor's Action: None.
First 5 Funding The enacted budget includes a plan to use $40 million from First 5 California for Early Start programs for children ages 0 to 3 and another $40 million for Medi-Cal programs serving children ages 0 to 5.
The new budget goes into effect July 1. For more information, please contact First 5 LA Government Affairs Officer Ruel Nolledo at RNolledo@First5LA.org.
This article was updated and adapted after originally appearing in a First 5 LA Policy Department Policy in Play alert. To receive Policy in Play, click here.
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