California Democrats reached a budget deal late Sunday agreeing to pay for undocumented immigrants living in the country illegally to have full health benefits, while abandoning the $140 million water tax on residential customers.
Undocumented immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25 will be eligible for Medi-Cal, California’s health insurance program for the poor, disabled, and now for those living in the country and state illegally.
State officials estimate about 90,000 additional people will quality at a cost of $98 million per year, AP reported.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his plan in January to bring back the Affordable Care Act for Californians — Obama mandated health care — as well as cover the health care of young undocumented immigrants. “Newsom’s plan to reinstate the individual mandate to force healthy people to buy the state health insurance, is one way to fund this,” California Globe reported. The individual mandate imposes a hefty tax on those who choose not to buy health insurance.
Unresolved is Newsom’s plan to provide $800 million in tax refunds for low-income people – a state EITC – earned income tax credit, which provides an earnings subsidy to low income families with one child. To pay for this refund, Newsom proposed adopting some of the Trump federal tax code changes – and limiting deductions for business losses. Trump’s 2017 tax law cut the corporate tax rate, reduced personal rates across the board, and did away with the State-and-Local-Tax deduction known as the SALT deduction.
Public schools are always one of the state’s biggest budget slices. In Newsom’s budget California public schools will receive $102 billion next year. “When all funding sources are accounted for (federal, state and local), the budget package includes $97.2 billion for TK–12 education,” the California Department of Education reported last year.
Gov. Newsom proposed in his May Budget Revise $650 million in additional grants to homelessness agencies and local government to help fund emergency shelters, housing assistance, and new construction, adding up to $1 billion in spending on the homeless in the Golden State. This was approved by lawmakers in Sunday’s budget committee meeting.
The budget conference committee however, sent their approved budget bill package to the governor somewhat unfinished and with placeholder language, the way they do with spot bills.
“The Budget Conference Committee held lengthy meetings on Monday and Tuesday of last week to close out the differences the two houses had on the budget. Then the Governor’s office, through the Department of Finance, the Speaker of the Assembly and the President Pro Tem of the Senate spent the next few days hammering out various compromises with practically no input from the minority party,” wrote Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) Monday in his official blog.
California Globe understands there will be much negotiating and horse trading before the fiscal year end of June 30.
This is the new budget process that took on a life of its own once the majority vote budget and deadlines took place under Proposition 25 in 2010. Prop. 25 ended the requirement that two-thirds of the members of the California State Legislature had to vote in favor of the state’s budget in order for the budget to be enacted. Prop. 25 also requires state legislators to forfeit their pay in years where they have failed to pass a budget in a timely fashion, but this has never happened as lawmakers now send an unfinished budget to the governor, and negotiate until years’ end.
Once lawmakers realized that they could pass major state policy – not through the proper committee process which include public hearings, public oversight – but through a $1,000 appropriation in a trailer bill, too many of the big changes in the budget are now buried in massive quantities of text and decided behind closed doors.
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