Democrats jeopardize $1.3 billion in federal funds

May 15, 2012

By Katy Grimes

It appears that Democrats aren’t really sincere or even serious about working toward solutions that will actually help California solve the economic crisis in the state. Last week, Democrats voted against a smart consolidation program which would have provided an additional $1.3 billion to the state.

After Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday that California’s budget deficit has grown to nearly $16 billion, astoundingly higher than the $9 billion deficit amount announced in January, one would assume that every California politician would be looking under every rock for money to shore-up the debt.

Apparently politics trumps economic stability.

Welfare system maze

One way to cut government is consolidating redundant services. If politicians are looking for redundancy in state government, the biggest mess  is also the most obvious: California currently has four different systems which run Medi-Cal, CalWORKS, and Food Stamp programs. Every county has its own maze of welfare programs as well.

Last week during the Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Health and Human Services hearing, Democrats moved to repeal the 2009 law directing the state to move towards a single, centralized system for Medi-Cal, CalWORKS, and Food Stamp programs.

In a 2010 report, the Legislative Analyst’s Office found “the new statewide process is intended to achieve two primary outcomes: (1) providing better service to people applying for these programs and (2) lowering administrative costs through better use of technology.”

Even with the LAO’s recommendation to consolidate, for efficiency, simplification, better record keeping, and cost savings, Democrats opposed consolidating the four state programs into one system – even with the $1.3 billion incentive from the Federal Government to do this.

With this opposition, Democrats have jeopardized much needed federal funds. This decision highlights the purely political problems involved in balancing our budget – government jobs and government spending, over efficiency and a slimmer state government.

In 2011 California applied for $1.3 billion in federal funding to streamline the four systems in the state’s largest welfare programs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responded in April that they were approving the funding request on the condition that California consolidate the welfare system.

But Democrats said “no.”



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