Local Impact of State Budget

2015

 

December 15, 2015 – After a long wait, IHSS workers will be paid overtime as of February 1, 2016. The new overtime rate will be equal to one and one-half times the regular rate of hourly pay, and will go into effect when their time worked exceeds 40 authorized hours per workweek. Also, starting February 1 IHSS providers will be paid for travel time when they must travel from one recipient’s home to another during the same workday, and for authorized medical accompaniment wait time.

The state Department of Social Services just released a draft all-county letter with the details on the changes, and is accepting comments until close of business on December 21, 2015. (Click here to view the draft and get information on how to submit comments.) The state has already sent out notices about the new time sheets to IHSS providers, and county agencies are scrambling to put training in place prior to the February 1 start date.

August 25, 2015 – Last Friday the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that home health workers are entitled to the right to receive overtime pay and minimum wage rates. However, the overtime will not be implemented for IHSS in California until the appeals process runs its course. Even though the state’s new budget includes $270 million in general fund dollars in anticipation of IHSS overtime pay starting in October 2015, we will have to wait to see if the decision is appealed to the Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court.

In Alameda County, over 19,000 seniors, children and adults with disabilities rely on over 18,000 IHSS workers to help them live safely in the community.

July 28, 2015 – California Budget – Impact on Alameda County Seniors

July 28, 2015 – On June 24, 2015, Governor Brown signed the budget for California’s fiscal year 2015-16. The budget is largely based on the Governor’s conservative forecast of the state’s economy, and continues the fiscal austerity that characterized his previous budgets. (For details, see California Budget & Policy Center’s summary at www.calbudgetcenter.org)

The Governor – in his proposals and negotiations – ignored the urgent need to reverse the deep cuts made over the last seven years to supportive and health care services for seniors. Although legislative and Budget Committee actions proposed a handful of significant increases, and some of those increases made it into the first budget that the Conference Committee sent to the Governor, final negotiations erased almost every gain.

Click here for an SSC report summarizing the items in the state’s 2015/16 budget that directly impact seniors and senior services in Alameda County.

May 4, 2015 – You’d think that California’s surging revenues would spell relief for health and human services programs that have been crippled by half-a-dozen years of budget cuts. But in a strange convergence of economic recovery and voter-approved propositions, the state seems to have painted itself into a corner and may be unable to address the real needs of Californians.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office describes the dilemma in an April 7 report (click here for the report). It’s complicated, but the upshot is this: higher revenues in the current fiscal year go to Prop 98 almost dollar-for-dollar, and increase Prop 98’s share in fiscal year 2015-16 as well. Prop 98 establishes a minimum funding requirement for schools and community colleges that the state has to adhere to – and most of us would agree that adequate funding for education is critical to our communities and our economy. But the complex Prop 98 formulas and their interaction with Prop 2 (the debt payment/budget reserve measure) mean that we’re in a tight spot. To quote the LAO, “The budget’s bottom line would be roughly $1.8 billion worse off beginning in 2015-16, making it harder for the Legislature to balance the budget in 2015-16 and future years.”

A reasonable person could view this as sheer madness. Especially because the rising economy is leaving out significant numbers of low-income Californians – seniors among them – while services that could help them lack capacity thanks to years of budget cuts.

The LAO introduced a number of options that the Legislature and the Governor have to address this dilemma and still balance the budget, and discussions will be intense when the May Revise hits in mid-May. For seniors in Alameda County and those who care about them, it is essential that the choices include new revenue to fund critical gaps in programs and services for older adults.

May 4, 2015 – New funding for Older Californians Act programs and services is urgently needed to address the huge growth in the number of seniors needing supports in order to stay healthy and navigate the challenges of aging. A $37 million boost in funding for the OCA, APS and LTC Ombudsman would begin to build capacity in programs ranging from nutrition and case management to family caregiver assistance. Click here to see the budget breakdown from the C4A.

These services deliver meaningful outcomes and significant cost savings, and we need them in our communities. Especially so, because the Older Californians Act represents one of the few sources of funding for services that “near poor” seniors can access even if they are not yet Medi-Cal eligible.

April 6, 2015 – SSC Letter to Budget Committee Chairs Senator Leno and Assemblymember Weber in support of SSI/SSP restoration

January 22, 2015 – SSC Summary of Governor’s Proposed FY `15-16 Budget

January 22, 2015 – On January 9, 2015, Governor Brown released his proposed budget for California’s next fiscal year 2015-16. While the Governor’s proposal makes a few select increases in education and health and human services, it ignores the urgent need to reverse the deep cuts made over the last seven years to supportive and health care services for seniors. This short-sighted thinking denies seniors effective resources that could help them meet the challenges of aging and help the state save money.

Click here for SSC’s summary of the elements in the Governor’s proposal that would directly impact seniors and senior services in Alameda County.

2014

August 15, 2014 – State Senator Carol Liu chairs the new Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long Term Care. On August 12, 2014, she teamed with Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada to hold a hearing on “Implementing an Ideal Aging and Long Term Care System in California.” Senator Liu’s intent is to produce a legislative and administrative roadmap for the short and long term, designed to implement a “responsive aging and Long Term Care system for Californians.”

The hearing was richly informative and full of thoughtful recommendations. One of the recommendations put forward by SCAN Foundation’s Gretchen Alkima was to establish a standing Senate Committee on Aging and Long Term Care (the select committee is temporary and sunsets in November) to complement and coordinate policy discussion and development with the standing Assembly Committee. This small action would have a huge impact on the legislature’s ability to move comprehensive policy forward.

To watch the hearing recorded on the California Channel and see the agenda, click here. As the materials from the hearing come available, they’ll be posted on SSC’s State Budget web page, here.

July 11, 2014 – On June 20, 2014, Governor Brown signed the state budget for fiscal year 2014-15. The budget is based on a conservative forecast of the state’s economy, and focuses on paying down debt, making several large infrastructure investments, depositing $1.6 billion into the Budget Stabilization Account, and ending the year with a reserve of $450 million.

While the budget makes select increases in education and health and human services, it largely ignores the urgent need to reverse the deep cuts made over the last six years to supportive and health care services for seniors. This short-sighted thinking will undermine the success of the Coordinated Care Initiative, and it denies seniors effective resources that could help them meet the challenges of aging.

Click here for SSC’s summary of how the state’s FY 2014-15 budget will impact seniors and senior services in Alameda County.

July 11, 2014 – California’s Budget for FY 2014-15: Impact on Alameda County Seniors and Services

June 19, 2014 – On June 15 the Conference Committee submitted a budget agreement to the Governor for signature. The news for senior services was disappointing. The conference committee adopted the Governor’s budget for most items, even while making statements that they did so with a certain amount of regret and awareness of the consequences.

While the new budget does not make any new cuts, it fails to restore funding for senior services that was cut from the state’s safety net between 2008 and 2013. The exceptions were good, including a rejection of the Governor’s proposal to ban overtime for IHSS workers, and a rate restoration for PACE. Our request for restorations to Older Californians Act programs, MSSP, and Medi-Cal rates for Adult Day Health Care were adopted by the Assembly but not by the Senate, and those restorations failed to make it into the Conference Committee’s final budget.

Evidently, the Governor thinks that the “new status quo” level of service capacity and funding for senior services is acceptable.

This thinking puts seniors in grave danger.  With the senior population aging, with greater economic insecurity, and with increased acuity levels as the number of people over 80 grows, California has to invest in community-based supportive services now, or be overrun with acute care costs.

Click here for a quick comparison of the Assembly, Senate and Conference Committee decisions on key programs. I’ll share a more detailed impact report in the coming week.

May 22, 2014 – While affordable housing advocates work to get SB 391 out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s suspense file, another solution may address the urgent need for funding for affordable housing. California’s FY 2014-15 budget will likely include over $10 billion in anticipated Cap-and-Trade revenues. Senator Steinberg has released a plan to allocate a minimum of 20% of the Cap-and-Trade revenues to transit-oriented-development of affordable housing.  If this solution includes funding allocations for senior housing much as SB 391 does, it is very much worth supporting.

April 29, 2014 – Now that the years of state budget cuts to aging services are over, a strange phenomenon is setting in. Regardless that the reduced service capacity is woefully inadequate to meet current need, perform the mission, or prepare for future population growth; the “new status quo” has taken root in the minds of legislators and other policy makers. Read more…

April 2, 2014 – SSC Letter to Senate Budget Sub 3 re: Restoration of CBAS rate cut

March 24, 2014 – SSC Letter to Assembly Budget SubCommittee #1 re: Older Californians Act

March 5, 2014 – The Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services is meeting today in Sacramento, looking at the Governor’s proposal to keep SSI/SSP “as is” in the state’s 2014-15 budget. Ahead of the meeting, SSC sent a letter to the Committee Chair, Assemblymember Shirley Weber. We asked that the Committee reject the Governor’s proposal, and instead lift over 1.3 million very vulnerable Californians out of poverty by reinstating the state COLA and restoring the cuts to SSI/SSP. This would make a world of difference for over 53,000 seniors and people with disabilities in Alameda County.

Click here to read SSC’s letter. Click here for the California Budget Project’s website.

March 5, 2014 – SSC Letter to Senate Budget SubCommittee #3 re: SSI

January 31, 2014 – Senior Services Coalition sent a letter to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee last week, ahead of their January 23 hearing on the Governor’s proposed budget. We expressed our dismay that the proposal ignores the needs of low-income seniors. Click here to read the letter.

Concerned about funding for senior services? Click here to check out our Advocacy Alerts page to find out what you can do.

January 31, 2014 – SSC’s Letter to the State Senate Budget Committee

January 28, 2014 – Thanks to an improving economy and additional revenues approved by voters last year, the state is in a better fiscal position than it has been in years. But does this spell relief and reinstatement for senior services? Not according to Governor Brown.

On January 9 the Governor released his proposal for a FY 2014-15 budget focused on improving the state’s fiscal status further, paying down debt faster, depositing $1.6 billion into the Budget Stabilization Account, and ending the year with a reserve of $1 billion. While the Governor proposes transportation and water infrastructure investments and some targeted increases in education and health and human services, nowhere does his budget address the urgent need to reverse the terribly deep cuts made to senior services over the last several years.

Click here for SSC’s summary of the proposals in the Governor’s FY 2014-15 budget plan that would directly impact seniors and senior services in Alameda County.

January 8, 2014 – Have you ever felt ignored? In a proactive move, ahead of the Governor’s budget proposal scheduled for release this week, California’s Assembly Democrats recently released their 2014/15 Blueprint for a Responsible Budget (click here to check it out). The plan responds to the Legislative Analyst’s Office recommendations for keep us on the path of fiscal stability now that we have a structurally balanced budget. It would build reserves and increase investments, and be smart about it. Unfortunately, the Blueprint makes no mention of seniors. Read more…

January 8, 2014 – Governor’s Proposed 2014-15 Budget, Impact on Alameda County Seniors

January 7, 2014 – CA Department of Aging Budget History vs Alameda County Older Population Growth

2013

July 31, 2013 – California’s FY 2013-14 Budget restores some of the Medi-Cal adult dental services that were cut three years ago. The restoration of services will be effective May 1, 2014, when Medi-Cal will begin covering basic exams, fluoride treatments, crowns, root canal therapy, and complete dentures. The restoration totals an estimated $33.8 million in FY 2013-14, and $211.3 million in FY 2014-15 (half state, half federal funds).

In the meantime, people seeking low or no-cost dental care have some options, including several Community Health Centers and the Highland Hospital Dental Clinic. Click here to check out this list of low/no cost dental options from the Alameda County Dental Society.

July 3, 2013 – California’s FY 2013-14 Budget: Impact on Alameda County Seniors and Services

July 3, 2013 – On June 27, 2013, Governor Brown signed the budget for California’s 2013-14 fiscal year. Thanks to a slowly improving economy and additional revenues approved by voters last year, the Budget includes more funding for schools, colleges and UC; modest improvements to safety net services; debt pay-down; a $1.1 billion reserve; and the expansion of Medi-Cal to cover over one million more Californians. (For details, see California Budget Project’s summary at www.cbp.org.)

The wholesale scaling back of public programs and services is behind us, but terribly deep cuts made to senior services over the last several years remain in place. While we can look forward to the restoration of many Medi-Cal adult dental services (scheduled for May 2014), this Budget is not without cuts. The most serious is a cut to In-Home Supportive Services hours that will further challenge seniors and people with disabilities trying to live safely in the community.

The following summarizes the elements of the FY 2013-14 Budget plan that will directly impact seniors and senior services in Alameda County. Read more…

June 18, 2013 – As we begin to sort through the local impact of the state’s new FY 2013-14 Budget, it makes sense to remember that over the past five years, California has dismantled much of its safety net for seniors and people with disabilities. Many programs have lost all state funding, including cornerstones of the Older Californian’s Act. Some programs remain open – at least in some counties – with local and federal funding. Others have vanished completely.  For those programs that still receive state funding, budget cuts have reduced access to services. Read more…

June 11, 2013 – Federal Sequester cuts are hitting California, and threaten the viability of community-based services and supports that help thousands of Alameda County’s seniors avoid the nursing home and emergency room and live successfully in the community. Your call can make a difference. Read more on our Action Alerts page.

May 22, 2013 – On May 14, 2013, Governor Brown released his May Revise, updating his proposed budget  for California’s 2013-14 fiscal year. Even though state legislators continue to push to reinstate Medi-Cal dental benefits and increase provider rates in light of an improving economy and state finances stabilized by Proposition 30, the Governor’s Revise predicts a weaker economic picture for next year and maintains a spending plan characterized by restraint. The Revise budget increases funding levels for education, adds greater detail to the expansion of Medi-Cal as part of California’s implementation of federal health care reform, and proposes a $1.1 billion reserve while paying down some of the state’s $35 billion debt. (For details, see California Budget Project’s summary at www.cbp.org )

Read more…

May 22, 2013 – Governor’s May Revise FY 13 -14 Budget – Potential Impact on Alameda County Seniors

**April 10, 2013 – Update** NSCLC has prepared a notice about the settlement (originally posted about on March 20, 2013) for consumers and providers, download it here.

March 20, 2013 – A settlement has been reached in the law suit to stop the State of California from reducing In-Home Supportive Services hours and services. The cuts had been enacted in the state’s FY 2011-12 budget and FY 2009-10 budget, but were blocked by court injunction. The Governor’s proposed FY 2013-14 budget still assumed the state would win the suit and implement the cuts.

In the settlement, the State has agreed to repeal and eliminate two major cuts to IHSS: (1) the 20% across-the-board reduction in IHSS hours from 2011, and (2) the termination or reduction in IHSS for many recipients based on their functional index score from 2009. Read more here.

January 15, 2013 – Governor’s Proposed FY 13-14 Budget – Potential Impact on Alameda County Seniors

2012

September 20, 2012 – Proposition 30

June 27, 2012 – California’s Fiscal Year Budget: 2012-2013

Summer 2012 – Fact Sheet: Deficit Reduction Plans Threaten to Cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

January 2012 – Lost Capacity: California Budget Cuts from 2008 through 2011

2011

December 19, 2011 – Trigger Cuts and Alameda County Seniors

September 26, 2011 – Cal Budget Impacts for Alameda County Seniors

August 17 2011 – California Budget: Impacts for Alameda County Seniors

July 12 2011 – California Budget: Impacts for Alameda County Seniors

May 23 2011 – May Revise: Potential Impacts for Alameda County Seniors

January 11 2011: Proposed State Budget: Potential Impacts for Alameda County Seniors

2010

May 27 2010 – Alameda County State Budget Update

October 14 2010 – State Budget Impacts Seniors

February 22 2010 – Proposed IHSS Cuts: How does Alameda County Compare

January 13 2010 – Governors Budget Proposal: Impact on Seniors

 

 

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