A state proposal to shift $623 million in costs for In-Home Supportive Services to counties won’t pack such a wallop for Stanislaus County’s budget.
County officials had dreaded the consequences of more than a $6 million IHSS budget hit for the fiscal year that begins July 1. But with Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget plan released Thursday, officials believe the county’s share of IHSS costs will be significantly less.
The governor’s budget revision reduces the estimated cost shift to $592 million and phases it over four years.
The costs for In-Home Supportive Services are projected to keep rising because of higher caseloads, overtime pay for caregivers and a state minimum wage increase to $15 an hour by the end of 2022. The program, benefiting about 470,000 severely disabled and elderly people, provides for in-home caregivers as an alternative to placements in care facilities.
Stanislaus County’s share of the costs for IHSS is $11.2 million this year. “We don’t know the dollar amount (for 2017-18) and will be considering this information as we are building the proposed budget,” said Patrice Dietrich, deputy executive officer for the county budget.
The governor proposes $400 million from the general fund next year and additional measures to help offset the IHSS costs for counties. Counties would see IHSS costs of $141 million next year, $129 million in 2018-19, $230 million in 2019-20 and $251 million in 2020-21.
Dietrich said the governor’s proposal for funding IHSS would redirect growth funds from a 1991 realignment of vehicle license fee revenue that has benefited county health and mental health programs. County staff will evaluate the net affect on county services before the Board of Supervisors considers the 2017-18 county budget June 13.
Brown said the state budget for 2017-18 is more constrained than previous budgets in the past five years that were buoyed by economic recovery. State revenue has lagged behind expectations, though a surging stock market since January has boosted revenues by $2.5 billion. Anticipated state revenues are still $3.3 billion below a forecast last June.
The governor’s May revision includes spending to deal with the misfortunes of poverty in the Golden State. It calls for an earned income income tax credit for poor working families and a 2.76 percent cost-of-living increase for seniors, the blind and disabled who receive Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment income, the first COLA for those recipients in 12 years.
Thursday’s release formally begins a month of negotiations with the Legislature to craft a final spending plan that must be approved by June 15.
The plan promises $50 million in additional state support for the University of California – but only if the system carries out the recommendations of the recent audit. “I put that $50 million in there so we can hold their feet to the fire,” Brown said.
Thursday’s package includes few other major changes from the package Brown presented in January, shortly before Donald Trump’s inauguration put Republicans in full control of the federal government and within reach of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Though it faces longer odds in the Senate, the recent repeal-and-replace legislation approved in the House of Representatives could cost the state billions of dollars in federal funding for Medi-Cal in 2020.
Gov. Brown’s revised budget plan makes no changes in the January plan’s allocation of money from last year’s ballot measure raising tobacco taxes. Doctors and dentists have pressed to have $1.5 billion of the revenue be spent on raising Medi-Cal provider rates, but Brown’s plan rolls the revenue into maintaining Medi-Cal’s overall spending.
Gov. Brown’s plan also includes $6.5 million more for the Department of Justice, and 31 positions, to handle more workload related to the legal challenges by the state to the federal government on sanctuary cities, and other policies, effectively reversing a proposed cut in the governor’s plan in January. The proposal followed Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s request for more money during a Senate budget hearing last week.
The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321, @KenCarlson16