Relatively smooth sailing for the state budget…so far

Lawmakers agreed to expand access to California’s new earned income tax credit for low-income citizens. And they approved $111 million for repairs to the damaged Oroville Dam spillway and other emergency flood projects.

Not all items had a clear nexus to next year’s state spending. Thursday’s action included approval of orientation meetings for new government workers, at which the benefits of public employee union membership could be promoted. Unions began lobbying for the idea after a lawsuit challenged the state’s rules for union dues. The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the lawsuit in 2016.

No unresolved item loomed larger than how to spend $1.3-billion in proceeds from Proposition 56, which increased the state’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack of cigarettes.

Lawmakers (pimping for the feckless California Medical Association) have insisted the money must be used to increase payments made to doctors and dentists who treat patients enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state’s healthcare program for the poor.

Brown, however, has said the state needs the money for existing Medi-Cal commitments.

“We’re trying to balance that with the fiscal prudence that we think is required,” Amy Costa, the governor’s deputy budget director, said during testimony at Thursday night’s hearing.

Source: LA Times


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