Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
911 Upgrade Could Cost Californians Despite Budget Surplus
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
June 14, 2019

Share

SACRAMENTO — A $214.8 billion budget approved Thursday by California lawmakers would upgrade the state’s aging 911 system following the most devastating wildfire season in state history and help middle class families pay their monthly health insurance premiums.
To fund those changes, however, lawmakers want to impose a new monthly fee on phone bills and tax people who refuse to buy private health insurance, even though the state has a projected $21.5 billion surplus, the largest in at least 20 years.
Republican Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said it’s “unconscionable” to ask taxpayers to fund the 911 upgrades when there is such a large surplus.
Democrats, who have super majorities in both houses of the Legislature, counter that they don’t want to use the surplus to pay for ongoing expenses, something previous Legislatures were eager to do and led to multi-billion dollar budget deficits when the economy soured.
“There is no other state in this union that funds a 911 upgrade with one-time funds,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat representing Healdsburg.

California’s 911 System Based on Technology From 1970s

The massive spending plan, totaling more than 900 pages, directs the spending of tax dollars in the country’s most populous state.
Lawmakers must still pass more than a dozen other bills to implement the budget. The trailer bills could contain important details, such as how to implement the new 911 fee.

“We tried very much to make sure that this budget capitalizes on the fact that we have a strong reserve and we have resources. But that doesn’t mean … that we spend it all. It’s a fee connected to a real issue.” Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins
California’s 911 system is based on technology from the 1970s. It can handle phone calls and some data but not much else. State officials want to replace it with a system that incorporates text messages, videos and photos.
California now pays for the system with a fee on phone calls. But the fund has been steadily losing money as more people send text messages instead.
Some lawmakers want to replace the call fee with a flat fee on all phone bills. The plan would authorize the Office of Emergency Services to impose a fee of as much as 80 cents a month, based on the number of phones used in the state. State officials expect the fee to be about 34 cents a month.
“We tried very much to make sure that this budget capitalizes on the fact that we have a strong reserve and we have resources. But that doesn’t mean … that we spend it all,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego. “It’s a fee connected to a real issue.”
 

Newsom Has 12 Days to Sign or Veto Budget

The spending plan is the first under Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has 12 days to sign it or veto parts of it.
It would also make California the first state to help people who earn between four and six times the federal poverty level pay their monthly health insurance premiums.
That means families of four who earn as much as $150,500 a year would be eligible.
Lawmakers plan to pay for part of that by taxing people who refuse to purchase private health insurance. That tax had been law nationwide under former Democratic President Barack Obama’s health care law, but Republicans in Congress eliminated the penalty as part of a 2017 overhaul to the federal tax code.
The proposal has angered some Republicans, who note the budget would also make some low-income adults living in the country illegally eligible for taxpayer-funded health insurance. Only adults between 19 and 25 would be eligible.

Making Sure Everyone Has Health Insurance

“The biggest increase in this budget is for people who aren’t even citizens,” said Assemblyman Devon Mathis, a Republican who represents Porterville.

“As our economy has been doing great, we know that at some point soon a recession will be coming and we need to make sure we are saving that money for a rainy day.” — Assemblyman Phil Ting
Democrats say the two health care proposals are designed to make sure everyone in California has health insurance.
“We want to make sure California is becoming healthier,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco and chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee.
The budget proposal also increases spending for public education, housing and programs to combat homelessness. It would bring state reserves to $19.4 billion, or about half of what the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says is needed to weather the next recession.
“As our economy has been doing great, we know that at some point soon a recession will be coming and we need to make sure we are saving that money for a rainy day,” Ting said.

DON'T MISS

$11M State Grant Will Help Fresno’s Emergency Shelter Beds, Mental Health Services

DON'T MISS

City Council Finally Gives New NW Fresno Costco a Green Light

DON'T MISS

Prop 47 Reformers Send Nearly a Million Signatures to Sacramento

DON'T MISS

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

DON'T MISS

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

DON'T MISS

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

DON'T MISS

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

DON'T MISS

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

DON'T MISS

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

DON'T MISS

Biden is Off on Details of His Uncle’s WWII Death as He Calls Trump Unfit to Lead the Military

UP NEXT

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

UP NEXT

See the Fully Equipped House Homeless People Built on LA Freeway Strip

UP NEXT

Juror Dismissed From Trump Hush Money Trial. Prosecutors Seek to Hold Former President in Contempt

UP NEXT

Biden Backs House’s Aid Package for Ukraine, Israel While Speaker Johnson Battles to Retain Position

UP NEXT

Myanmar’s Ousted Leader Suu Kyi Moved From Prison to House Arrest Due to Heat, Military Says

UP NEXT

Vital Climate Tool or License to Pollute? The Battle Over CA’s First Carbon Capture Project

UP NEXT

NPR Editor Suspended Over Claims of Network’s ‘Progressive Worldview’

UP NEXT

Coalition: CA Lawmakers Need to Roll Back Proposed ‘Utility Tax’

UP NEXT

Wall Street’s Mixed Trading Day

UP NEXT

New Recruiting Programs Put Army, Air Force on Track to Meet Enlistment Goals. Navy Will Fall Short

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

4 hours ago

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

5 hours ago

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

5 hours ago

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

6 hours ago

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

7 hours ago

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

8 hours ago

Biden is Off on Details of His Uncle’s WWII Death as He Calls Trump Unfit to Lead the Military

9 hours ago

Big Names in Rap, Christian Music, and Comedy Headline Must-See Weekend Entertainment

9 hours ago

US and UK Issue New Sanctions on Iran in Response to Tehran’s Weekend Attack on Israel

10 hours ago

Will State AG Rob Bonta Jump Into 2026 Race for CA Governor?

10 hours ago

$11M State Grant Will Help Fresno’s Emergency Shelter Beds, Mental Health Services

Fresno got a $10.9 million piece of California grant money to shelter people living in encampments. The money from California’s $192 m...

3 hours ago

3 hours ago

$11M State Grant Will Help Fresno’s Emergency Shelter Beds, Mental Health Services

3 hours ago

City Council Finally Gives New NW Fresno Costco a Green Light

3 hours ago

Prop 47 Reformers Send Nearly a Million Signatures to Sacramento

Crypto the WonderDog Show
4 hours ago

BTC Scammy Scams, Impact of Blockchain on Global Markets: Crypto The WonderDog Show

5 hours ago

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

5 hours ago

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

6 hours ago

Cavinder Twins Are Returning to Miami for Their Last Season

7 hours ago

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend