Calif. lawmakers make deep budget cuts

SACRAMENTO, March 17 (UPI) -- California lawmakers have approved deep budget cuts that would slash welfare programs and curtail health benefits for the poor and working families.

The package of bills that make up the budget plan to relieve the state from a $26.6 billion deficit will go to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.


While passing the budget cuts, both houses of the California legislature shied away from a measure that is seen as the most controversial: putting additional taxes before voters in a June special election, the newspaper said.

In the bills that passed, lawmakers in both houses approved cuts to state welfare programs and aid for developmentally disabled people, and also voted to cut billions from the Medi-Cal and Healthy Families program for the poor.

Cuts and other fund shifts proposed by Brown, including funds for early childhood development and mental health services, total about $12.5 billion, while the tax package, if it were to be placed on the ballot and approved by voters, would bring in $14 billion.

"The Legislature stepped up and made some very tough cuts today," Brown spokesman Gil Duran said. "Some of these cuts are not easy to make, but they are necessary in order to get the state's fiscal house in order."


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