Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Governor Brown Unveils Centrist Budget; Obamacare Sign-Up Surge Increases Costs to the State

By Robert Gammon
Wed, May 14, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a decidedly centrist budget proposal yesterday, resisting calls from liberal Democrats to increase spending for social service safety net programs and instead saying that paying down teacher pension debt and creating a rainy day fund reserve were higher priorities. The Chron reports that Republicans immediately praised the governor’s plan, especially the proposal to pay off teacher pension costs. Liberal Democrats, however, criticized the budget proposal, saying it doesn’t go nearly far enough to help low-income residents in need.

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2. A massive surge in Medi-Cal signups through Obamacare is going to cost the state an additional $1.2 billion next year, according to the governor’s office, the LA Times$ reports. About 1.4 million more low-income residents signed up Medi-Cal enrollment through Obamacare than expected. The federal government has agreed to pay the costs of newly eligible Medi-Cal enrollees, but the state must pay 60 percent of the costs of people who were previously eligible for Medi-Cal, but didn’t sign up until Obamacare came on line.

3. The state Assembly reached a compromise deal for reforming Proposition 13, agreeing to modest changes in the law that will result in slight tax increases on business properties that change ownership, the SacBee$ reports. The compromise proposal falls well short of the reforms sought by liberal Democrats.

4. The former head of Pacifica Foundation Radio ended her months-long occupation of her office at KPFA in Berkeley after a judge ordered her to leave, the Trib$ reports. Summer Reese was fired in March but refused to leave the premises.

5. And a federal investigation concluded that no baby shorebirds were shredded to death by tree cutters hired by the US Postal Service last week, the Trib$ reports. Several black-crowned herons were injured by tree trimmers, but none were fed into a tree shredder as originally feared.

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