Good news: a budget agreement between lawmakers and California GovernorGavin Newsom allows $750 million in state general funds for critical safety net services delivered on behalf of the state, including mental health and substance use disorder services.
Like everything else, California’s economy has been impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Revision to the state budget for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2121) projects a shortfall of more than $50 billion. To fill the gap, the Governor proposes multiple strategies that range from program cuts and requesting more federal assistance, to using the state’s “rainy day” reserves. The state legislature is holding public hearings on the Governor’s proposals and must pass a final state budget by July 1, 2020. A few of the highlights:
Reduction in county funding: Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) revenues are projected to be $600 million less in 2020-21, falling from $2.3 billion in the current year to $1.7 billion.
New funding for COVID-19 impacts: Newsom proposes giving $450 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to cities and $1.3 billion to counties to address homelessness, public health, behavioral health, public safety, rental subsidies, and other services to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delays to programs: The DHCS “Medi-Cal Healthier California for All” Initiative (CalAIM) and Behavioral Health Quality Improvement and Behavioral Health Integration programs are stalled.
Modified or eliminated services: Medi-Cal services
Plans postponed: Trainings, plans to reform the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), increase SSI funding and more plans are postponed.
Reforms to state prison and local public safety systems: mental health services for parolees are among those reforms eliminated.