CNS – State budget cuts could hurt Los Angeles County even more than previously anticipated, with home healthcare workers and immigrants taking hits, according to a report released May 15. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger released his revised budget the day before the report, proposing more spending cuts and new funding solutions to address the state’s projected $17.2 billion deficit—which becomes a $24.3 billion deficit when shortfalls in the current fiscal year are taken into account. Schwarzenegger, who became governor after voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis from office, ran on a platform of “tearing up the credit cards” but is now presiding over one of the largest budget deficits in state history.
According to his revised proposed budget, Los Angeles County—which already faced a loss of $276.3 million in state funding, including $113 million to the CalWORKs financial aid program and $50.7 million to Medi-Cal Administration—would lose an additional $55.4 million, county CEO William Fujioka said in a report. The new cuts include a $48.6 million reduction in state funds for In- Home Supportive Services wages, Fujioka said. The program pays people to care for the elderly and disabled in their homes, and currently uses a combination of federal, state and county money, according to Kelly Brooks of the California State Association of Counties. If the state reduces funding, the county Board of Supervisors would have to pick up the slack or cut caregivers’ wages.
“It would put counties in a terrible fiscal and policy place,” Brooks said.
Schwarzenegger’s revised budget proposal also eliminates the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants, which could result in the county having to pay $13.7 million more under its County General Relief Program, Fujioka said.
The program helps elderly and disabled legal non-citizens who are ineligible to receive Social Security.