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Aid to County Cut Under Budget Plan

Times Staff Writer

If the $47.8-billion state budget proposed by Gov. George Deukmejian is enacted as written, Orange County stands to lose at least $6 million in critical state aid next year needed to operate such programs as health care for the poor and disabled.

Should the governor go further and make good on promises of sweeping cuts to balance the state budget, reductions in state assistance for health and human services alone could top $36 million in Orange County, according to a newly released analysis of the governor’s proposed 1989-90 budget and its impact locally.

‘Grim’ Picture

“The picture is grim indeed,” County Administrative Officer Larry Parrish said Thursday of the report prepared by his staff for the Board of Supervisors.

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The 12-page analysis confirmed what many top county officials have been warning since Deukmejian unveiled his budget proposal in January. Hardest hit by the governor’s blueprint to cut $485 million statewide from health and welfare services are county programs serving low-income families and the medically indigent, areas already seriously underfunded, Parrish said. In Orange County, about $24 million in state aid to provide medical services for the poor would be eliminated under the governor’s budget. That would leave only $9 million to finance those programs in a county already faced with a serious budget crisis and unable to draw on dwindling reserves to make up the difference.

Suggested Offset for Cuts

Deukmejian has suggested that his proposed cuts in funding could be offset with money generated by Proposition 99, a 25-cent-a-pack increase in cigarette taxes approved by voters in November. But many health care providers had hoped that money would be used to expand medical care for the indigent. County supervisors recently opposed using Proposition 99 money to offset reductions.

The analysis urges the board to oppose any reductions by the governor in health and human services funding.

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Parrish said there is a lot of “grief” in the governor’s budget, and he warned that “no one should be looking for any bailout this time around. We will be doing very well if we get back to level par in terms of restoring funding.”


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