Both houses of the legislature approved around one-billion dollars in spending cuts Friday. Governor Schwarzenegger called lawmakers into special session last month to address the budget. Quick action was needed so the state wouldn’t run out of cash. Lawmakers also needed to begin dealing with an anticipated 14-billion dollar budget shortfall over the next 17 months. Among the remedies is a reduction in rates paid to doctors who treat Medi-Cal patients. Republican Senator Sam Aanestad says those cuts will damage the system that serves low-income Californians.
“This is low-hanging fruit, this is easy way to go, but I predict it will be the demise of the Medi-Cal program as we know it…”
Democratic State Senator Sheila Kuehl says the state’s fiscal situation leaves few options.
“I hate these cuts. But I feel I must vote for cuts, because you have to have a balanced budget in California. We don’t print money.”
Other cost cutting measures include delaying payments to schools and other social programs. In a statement Governor Schwarzenegger commended Republicans and Democrats for working together on the decisions. He says they must keep going and immediately tackle cuts in the next fiscal year budget.