Court decision a boost for California’s budget

A Thursday decision by a federal appeals court could be worth $659 million a year for California’s budget.

The court’s ruling allows the state to move forward with a cut to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, meaning doctors and other healthcare providers will be paid less for providing services to poor Californians who use the program.

Gov. Jerry Brown tried to make the cut in June 2011, but lawsuits and negotiations with the federal government had placed it on hold until now. Healthcare providers who sued to block the cuts say they’ll appeal Thursday’s decision.

Still, administration officials are preparing to save $659 million annually. The administration’s budget projections always expected that the state would win the case eventually, but the victory came sooner than expected, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown’s Department of Finance.

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California’s recovery raises hopes for restoring health, social service cuts

People camped out overnight, enduring pain and boredom while waiting hours in line for something they could not otherwise afford.

It was not a Black Friday sale, but a free dental clinic this summer that attracted a record number of toothaches to Cal Expo in Sacramento.

Three years earlier, the state eliminated most adult dental services to help balance the budget.

As California recovers from a deep recession and expects several billion dollars’ worth of new voter-approved taxes, Democrats and low-income advocates are clamoring to restore health and social service programs such as adult Denti-Cal.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, specifically mentions the dental program as a priority and sees “pent-up demand” to undo the most severe budget cuts, though he isn’t sure if that can happen immediately.

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California tentative budget holds taxes steady

CALIFORNIA — California Borough Council adopted a tentative budget of $1,544,460 Thursday, with no expected tax increase.

Adoption of the final budget is expected Friday, Dec. 28 at 11 a.m.

The council also directed the solicitor to begin drafting an amusement tax and to look into modifying parking requirements in the current zoning ordinance.

“There’s a restriction in there now for parking for new commercial buildings for retail space. We’re looking at modifying the parking requirement to make it less restrictive,” said Jon Bittner, the council president.

Council also decided to save time and legal expenses related to working out a deal with the California Area School Board for the forgiveness of delinquent taxes on a dilapidated building. The borough has been offered the building if all of the back taxes are taken care of. The school board had suggested that it would forgive the taxes if there was an agreement that it would be given the funds in the future if the property is sold and developed.

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