Legislature Meets State Budget Deadline
$125 Billion Spending Plan Headed to Governor Brown
With a little less drama compared to past years, but no less consequence the California Legislature has passed and sent to the Governor a $125 billion state budget package, several hours in advance of the midnight Thursday constitutional deadline. There was less drama because the budget now only requires a simple majority, Democrats enjoy a supermajority in both houses, and because Proposition 54’s “three-day-rule” required the main budget language to be finished on Monday. But the budget and associated trailer bills remain the most important thing the Legislature does, and the documents the Legislature approved today will impact counties just as much, if not more than, the budgets of the past.
(Read more about the budget in our Budget Action Bulletin .)
“We don’t have lengthy delays or stopping the clock at midnight that have marked past budget cycles,” said DeAnn Baker, CSAC’s Deputy Executive Director for Legislative Services. “But the budget sets priorities for the state and also for our 58 counties that deliver vital public safety and health and human services on behalf of the state across California.”
Because the budget, like all bills, needs to be in print for three days prior to final votes, we know more about what’s in it now than we might have in the past. What follows below are a few of the issues of direct interest to our counties. For more depth, please see the Budget Action Bulletin at the link above.
IHSS – For counties, the largest fiscal component of the 2017-18 budget package is the $400 million general fund appropriation for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) costs and the new county IHSS maintenance of effort (MOE) deal. Contained in AB 106 and SB 90, the deal mitigates the costs associated with the demise of the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI) and the MOE associated with the CCI. The new county IHSS MOE starts with a zero annual inflator in 2017-18, rises to 5 percent in 2018-19, and then to 7 percent in 2019-20 and beyond. Further, Vehicle License Fee (VLF) growth within 1991 Realignment will be diverted for 5 years; 100 percent of VLF growth in the first three years, and 50 percent for two years. The deal also contains additional mitigations for counties, including forgiveness for a Board of Equalization error through 2015-16, a freeze on Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD) rates, and a requirement to reexamine the funding structure during the development of the 2019-20 budget in consultation with counties and other impacted stakeholders. The forthcoming Budget Action Bulletin will have a more detailed explanation of AB 106/SB 90.
CalWORKS Single Allocation – The 2017-18 budget package also contains nearly $109 million to mitigate a cut to each county’s CalWORKs Single Allocation, which is what the state provides to counties to administer the CalWORKs program. Statewide, the Governor had proposed a $248 million cut to the Single Allocation, and counties are grateful to both houses of the Legislature for providing more than $100 million in one-time funding to mitigate the cut. A promise to develop a new methodology for the Single Allocation is also part of the relevant budget trailer bill, SB 89/AB 105.
(More Health and Human Services Budget items here.)
BOE Reform – In response to the DOF evaluation following troubling findings with the State Board of Equalization (BOE), trailer bill language makes sweeping changes to the structure and authority of the BOE that removes nearly all of their duties to newly created departments and offices. CSAC convened an advisory group that reviewed initial recommendations and provided preliminary support to the proposal. The advisory group will continue to provide assistance to the Administration as the new offices take shape before January 1, 2018 deadline.
Union Access to Employee Orientations – Trailer bill language establishes union representatives’ rights to have access to new employee orientations based on locally negotiated terms for the structure, time, and manner of the access. Unfortunately, should the parties reach impasse then compulsory binding arbitration would apply for setting the terms of the employee orientation. CSAC opposed this measure on the grounds that binding interest arbitration places decisions impacting the publics’ tax dollars and county resources in the hands of a third party that is not held accountable for those decisions, unlike the Board of Supervisors.
CSAC’s Budget Action Bulletin is now available.