Reporter Roundup: Big Cuts from State Budget

Reporter Roundup: Big Cuts from State Budget

[Music] Hello, I’m Juan Devis, Chief Creative
Officer at KCET and PBS SoCal, and I’m joined by the newsroom of KPCC and
LAist on a daily Reporter Roundup. How is everyone today? Well, thank you. -Great, doing well. -So the governor presented his revised budget today. How did he
prioritize what to cut and what to increase in the budget? -This was a really
tough state budget for the governor. This state is facing over the next fourteen months
an estimated shortfall of revenues of about fifty four billion dollars, so
there would have to be some pretty significant cuts involved, so the
governor in writing this budget decided to set three priorities. One was public
health, the other was public safety, and the third, the one that I’m focusing most
on, because this is my beat, is public education. -So, what are the effects in the
cuts to public education, and how is that going to affect schools in California, in
LA, and students? -Yeah, so there’s a little bit of good news in here because this
was one of Newsom’s priorities, so, the schools are likely
to see something like a ten percent cut in what’s called the local control funding
formula, which is the primary way the state funds K-12 education: about six point five
billion dollars, but the good news is that the state is sort of backfilling
what would otherwise have been some pretty severe cuts with some temporary
funding sources. The state is going to defer some payments. This is something
that we got familiar with in schools during the Great Recession, which is sort
of a cash flow tactic. It’s essentially like putting a months of payments on the
credit card. That’s gonna happen and help save some of the short-term pain. Some
federal money that schools hadn’t previously been counting on is now going
to go to the schools so that they can pay for their really high costs of
coronavirus response, and there will also be an ongoing cut of state revenues that
will be diverted into schools going forward, so some bad news with an overall
cut, but also some temporary revenues to make sure that that cut isn’t quite as
deep as it could have been. -We’re also seeing some cuts to health
care services and Roberts been looking at those numbers for us. -With no end in
sight to the pandemic, governor Newsom’s revised budget protects a lot of
healthcare funding. Southern California will receive a significant amount of
federal coronavirus relief, and some of that will go to public health
departments. The City and County of LA are slated to get nearly 2 billion
dollars of that money, but Newsom said without more federal help, he’ll have to
pull back on several fronts. That includes the amount of dental benefits
adults can get under medical. Then other moves are being shelved regardless, like
his plan to expand medical to include mothers going through postpartum
depression; that’ll be shelved. The state says it’s actually expecting an
additional two million people to be on medical by July because of the continued
economic fallout of all of this. -And Josie looked really closely at what this
revised budget means for the social safety net. -Right, so Newsom kept his
plans to extend the California Earned Income Tax Credit to more low-income
workers. These would be folks in households making under thirty thousand dollars. Certain families with children under the age of six could get an additional one thousand dollars, so
that’s all gonna stay put. What the governor did not do is extend the tax
credit program to undocumented workers, as advocates had lobbied him hard.
Another group that lost out is older undocumented immigrants. The governor
wants to drop plans to give them full scope medi-cal, and that would have meant
getting coverage not just for emergencies, but a range of services,
including dental and eye care. This would save over a hundred million dollars for
the state, but supporters of this expansion say it’s not worth the cost to
these seniors health, especially in a pandemic. -And finally today, Jacob
followed up on what this revised budget means for our ability to respond to
natural disasters and wildfires. -Yeah, as everyone knows, over the past decade, it’s
gotten particularly bad when it comes to wildfires, and it’s clear that the
governor and his associates recognize that. They’re putting in an additional
ninety million dollars just to Cal Fire for them to hire six hundred additional
people, and they’re gonna be picking up some extra equipment too: Cal Fire’s twenty six
extra fire engines, wildfire fire engines, specialty things, and some Black Hawk
helicopters, which they’ve already started distributing. The first one’s up
north and it lets them fly at night, possibly
carry some more water, fly faster, that sort of stuff. The governor seems to
recognize that this is a major problem, and they’re putting a lot of money
behind hopefully helping Californians recover from these disasters, which are
inevitable. -Well, thank you so much at the newsroom of KPCC and LAist,
and thank you for tuning in. Take care of your health, take care of your family, and
we will see you tomorrow. [Music]


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