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California Lawmakers To Vote On $125 Billion Budget

June 15, 2017 2:50 p.m.

California Lawmakers To Vote On $125 Billion Budget

GUEST:

Ben Adler, Capitol bureau chief, Capital Public Radio

Related Story: California Lawmakers To Vote On $125 Billion Budget

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Our elected representatives are busy today finalizing the state budget. In Siena who, protesters are expected to picket a conference of Christian ministries trying to change sexual orientation. This is KPBS Midday Edition . I am Allison St. John. This is Thursday, June 15. The top story on midday addition, elected representatives in Sacramento oh Brodin on the state budget. To give us an insight in the points we should be aware of is been Adler. This is with our partner in Sacramento. Thank you for being with us.
This is a general fund spending plan. It was negotiated by Jerry Brown who is a Democrat and leaders have a Democratic majority. This was a relatively equitable process, right?
Yes. It was reasonable and they will get most, if not the entire package voted on today. That is the budget deadline. The spending plan is not that controversy oh relatively speaking. They have things they like and it and they got priorities such as, they wanted to raise reimburses -- reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal. That had been a long push of doctors and even plant parenthood. That is subject to the approval of the Tromp administration. It is a technical waiver that is approved by administrations in the past. I think on the spending plan, there is not great amounts of disagreement where there is the fury from the Republicans, it comes on the side pieces of the budget known as trailer bills. There are a company pieces of legislation.
That is a big unknown. How would an increase in funding in the case of federal changes refunded?
Proposition 56 increase was approved by voters last fall. That brought in $1 billion in revenue. It gradually decreases because in theory, smoking would go down because of the increase tax. The money is intended to come from proposition 56 revenues to go into Medi-Cal payments, supplemental payments. Some money will go to increasing the state general fund coverage of account. The cost of Medi-Cal is going up under the expansion of Medi-Cal. The state needs to pick up some of the cost that the federal government has been paying for for the expansion. There is disagreement between the governor and lawmakers about the what best use of prop 56 money would be. This planet.
The last time you run a program, you talked about the UC system not looking good. How does the budget address funding for the University of California?
This is an unprecedented move. You may recall there are autonomy's, the legislature and governor cannot pass laws saying do this or do that. The only real power over you see that the governor has is the power of perks. They are doing a couple of things. One, they are taking a chunk of $50 million and say you will get this once you meet certain conditions such as implementing the auditors recommendations and other priorities that have been agreed to in past years. The governor feels UC has made insufficient progress. The real unprecedented thing is that the legislature is going to budget for that UC president office in a separate line item.
Really, what it means is the legislature and governor are going to split apart the president office budget from the rest of the University. It would in theory allow the legislature to take a closer look at the budget which is under the criticism with the audit and with questions from the legislature about the the president office is spending money.
Expand on the side issues that you mentioned.
There are two pieces of this package that were made public on Monday.
Three days before the vote, they are very sweeping and far-reaching changes. You have one which is an overhaul of the equalization. That is a date pretax collection agency. You have the implement development Hartman which hands out payments on unemployment and family leave and disability and collects taxes. The board of equalization, which collects sales tax and gas tax, etc. The BOE was established by the California Constitution before those taxes were collected. It had for elected members for property tax appeals. What will happen, this authority of the PLE will be moved into a new revenue department under the governor. In the executive branch apart from the officials. It is because of reports that have questioned the political influence of the members and whether they are using civil servants for political means.
Many other questions surround the BOE.
The other change is to the recall process.
Call -- California as you know from the action of Arnold's work in a, there is a process wears they can be recalled. There is an effort to recall Josh Newman from the San Bernardino County. He voted to raise the gas tax a couple of months ago. If this process moves forward, there is a special election this year and it would be likely a special election and Newman would have a hard time holding on to his seat. If Newman loses, the Democrats would lose the two thirds majority in the state Senate and they do not want that to happen. This proposal would stretch the recall process out by adding extra or arbitrary steps for the recall process. It would ensure the recall election would be held in the primary it which Democrats figure they have a stronger shot at winning.
Interesting. Thank you.