Governor’s Vetoes Target Health and Human Services

Californians who rely on health and human services programs received some more bad news this morning when Governor Schwarzenegger signed the revised 2009-10 Budget. The Governor used his line-item veto authority to cut nearly $500 million in General Fund spending from an already pared-down budget – with nearly $400 million of that cut (about 80 percent) coming out of health and human services programs.

Significant line-item vetoes include:

  • An $80 million cut to funding for the Child Welfare Services Program, which responds to reports of abuse and neglect.
  • An additional $50 million cut to funding for Regional Center services for children up to age 5 who have developmental disabilities. In his veto message, the Governor directs his staff “to immediately request” funding from the state First 5 California Children and Families Commission to backfill the General Fund reduction. First 5 uses tobacco tax revenues to fund programs for children age 0 to 5 throughout the state.
  • An additional $50 million cut to funding for the Healthy Families Program, which provides health coverage for low-income children and for which an enrollment freeze has already been implemented. Combined with cuts already approved by the Legislature, the Governor’s veto increases the total Healthy Families reduction to more than $170 million in 2009-10. The Governor suggests that the state First 5 Commission, foundations, and “other interested parties” could use their own funds to make up for this General Fund reduction.
  • An additional $37.6 million cut to funding for the In-Home Supportive Services Program, which helps seniors and people with disabilities live safely in their own homes.
  • Elimination of state funding for AIDS/HIV programs, community clinic programs, and a range of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health programs.

CBP staffers are culling through the vetoes and will be posting additional analyses of the July 2009 budget agreement to our website in the coming hours and days.

— Scott Graves

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