SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have reached a deal on most elements of the state budget, but they remain at odds with Gov. Jerry Brown on a few key pieces.
The biggest dispute is over how to spend $1.2 billion in tobacco tax revenue.
The money comes from a $2-per-pack increase in cigarette taxes approved by voters last year. It's earmarked for expanding access to Medi-Cal, the publicly funded health plan for people with low incomes.
Doctors and dentists who helped fund the campaign in favor of the cigarette tax expected to see a boost in the notoriously low payments they get for seeing low-income patients on Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal.
But Brown proposed using the money to cover normal Medi-Cal growth, freeing up general fund dollars for other programs.