Tag Archives: Legislative Analyst

Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor Says Medicaid Expansion A Net Good for California

Several Republican governors have already rejected medicaid expansion

by Brian Leubitz

There was never any real whiff of news that Governor Brown would consider opposing the federally supported medicaid expansion, but in recent months he has been explicit about that support. Now he has some support from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s office

Legislative analyst Mac Taylor urged lawmakers to adopt an optional Medicaid expansion that features an enhanced cost match from the federal government, meaning Uncle Sam will pick up most of the tab and send billions of dollars flowing into the state.

Taylor says the additional money can be used improve health care in California even though the state will take on additional costs down the road. The report estimated that by taking on new enrollees, the state could be on the hook for between $300 million and $1.3 billion a year starting in 2020.

Gov. Jerry Brown has committed to expanding Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California, for people who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $15,400 a year for an individual. The analyst estimated the expansion will bring 1.2 million new enrollees by 2017.(Judy Lin/AP)

The decision to go ahead with the expansion means millions of Californians won’t have to worry what will happen if they get sick. Whether they can afford to have even the most basic preventative care that can head off major illness.

Not to pick on Governor Perry, but his decision to reject the expansion in Texas means that there is little relief on the way for the nation’s highest rate of uninsured. It seems a rough lot for such a big decision in an individual’s life to lie in the hands of a distant governor.

But there it is, and the LAO now says that the basic numbers behind the plan make sense for California. Good for California, not so good for Texas.

A new Budget Prior

Our current Budget Nun, Liz Hill, is retiring soon. So we need a new one, and the legislators got around to the task today. So, after reading Pillars of the Earth, I’m going to go with Budget Prior for our new Legislative Analyst.  And Drumroll please, he is (h/t to the Bee):

Mac Taylor

Mr. Taylor is currently one of two Deputy Legislative Analysts, responsible for covering the “overall budget” and public finance.  So, any thoughts on Mr. Taylor?

Legislative Analyst Slams Arnold’s Budget Proposals

Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill has had the chance to review the May Revise and the verdict is not good. While Frank Russo notes that she agrees with the revenue projections, her assessment of Arnold’s lottery borrowing plan and his failure to address the structural revenue shortfall are major flaws in the proposal.

In her assessment of the lottery borrowing plan, she notes that not only does Arnold overestimate the likely sales of lottery tickets, but that by doing so his borrowing plan actually puts education at even greater budgetary risk:

While the administration acknowledges that there is no way to know for sure how much the proposed changes would increase lottery profits, its forecast model assumes that such profits would grow from $1.2 billion in 2007-08 to over $2.4 billion at some point between 2013 and 2017. This means that total lottery sales would increase from $3.4 billion to over $7 billion during this five- to ten-year period. In so doing, per capita sales would approach the national average, according to the administration’s assumptions. This assumed increase in lottery sales allows the administration to forecast that debt service will be paid in full each year and public education will receive a distribution of $1.2 billion annually. If, on the other hand, lottery sales and profits did not grow as much as forecast by the administration, bondholders would continue to receive payments, but public education would experience a drop in lottery payments.

If that wasn’t damning enough, she then points out that Arnold’s plan to divert general funds into reserves without first addressing the structural revenue shortfall will lock that shortfall permanently into place:

Under our revenue estimates, the administration’s revenue cap leads to counterproductive results-the required deposit of General Fund monies into a new reserve at the same time that the state faces multibillion dollar shortfalls. The cap also could prevent the state from accessing some of the lottery proceeds intended to help solve the budget problem. As a result, the administration’s reforms could lock the state’s operating shortfall in place and lead to automatic multibillion dollar across?the?board reductions.

The LAO provides an alternative set of solutions, claiming to be able to “maintain state services at their July 1, 2007 level” especially in the area of health care, where destructive cuts are being proposed.

Obviously Arnold’s proposals are nonstarters. And perhaps the LAO’s damning assessment of Arnold’s lottery borrowing plans will help the Legislature turn to the more fundamental and long-term solutions of new revenues. California can no longer maintain the fiction that tax increases can be avoided if we are to stay competitive in the 21st century global economy.