Gov. Jerry Brown urges Republican ‘penance’ for healthcare vote, warns of the impact on California’s budget


Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday presented a slightly sunnier view of California’s economy than he offered just four months ago, but nonetheless delivered one of his vintage sermons on the evils of overspending when outlining a new state spending plan.

And this time, the man who once trained to be a Jesuit priest singled out the state’s Republican members of the House for their unanimous vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act — a move that alone would result in California losing $18.6 billion in federal funds a decade from now.

“They weren’t sent to Congress just to take orders from that crowd, or from Donald Trump,” Brown said. “I think they made a mistake, and they’re going to have to do penance for it.”

The $183.4-billion spending plan, revised from his first version in January, does not assume any actual loss of federal dollars, given that Congress remains divided over a number of issues on how to rework the Obamacare law. Nor does it offer any assurances that the state has a “plan B” should it come to pass. Brown has insisted that detailed plans must emerge in Washington before the state changes course.

What the new spending outline does do, though, is offer a handful of concessions to lawmakers, local governments and advocacy groups that had criticized Brown’s earlier budget proposal as too meager. The governor abandoned his call to delay expansion of full-day preschool and higher payments for child care providers. He also agreed to expand dental benefits for low-income adults, and reversed a decision to fully transfer a new healthcare delivery system to county governments.

Counties had been particularly vocal about Brown’s winter healthcare proposal, which would have cut annual state spending by $600 million on a program that seeks to streamline the use of medical and in-home support services by seniors and disabled citizens. Instead, the state will gradually reduce its subsidy over a four-year period.

“We think we’ll be able to avoid significant cuts to vital county services as a result of the infusion of cash,” said Matt Cate, executive director of the California State Assn. of Counties.

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Gov. Jerry Brown urges Republican ‘penance’ for healthcare vote, warns of the impact on California’s budget

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