Gov. Jerry Brown said today that he will push forward with plans to shift control for some social programs to local government, after California controversially shifted responsibility for certain low-level offenders last year from prisons to county control.
"We want to do more realignment," the Democratic governor told county officials in Sacramento. "We want to look at taking over the health, the In-Home Supportive Service, the Medi-Cal, and maybe switching on some of the welfare. So, we're working on that for something we might do next year. We really want to clean up the relationship between state and local government."
A year ago, Brown proposed a Phase 2 for realignment linked to national health care reform. The plan, included in his budget proposal at the time, involved the state assuming costs associated with health care, including In-Home Supportive Services, and counties assuming responsibility for welfare and child support costs.
"We want to talk about taking the Medi-Cal, moving that more to the state," Brown told reporters after meeting with the county officials. "With social services, more authority at the local level. These are complicated. We're going to work it out over the next 12 months."
Brown was at a California State Association of Counties board meeting urging county officials to abandon a ballot measure that would guarantee state funding for additional responsibilities assumed under realignment, a protection the tax measure Brown is proposing also includes.
The governor is trying to clear from the November ballot a handful of measures that might compete with his own initiative to raise taxes.
"Obviously, not all of them can pass, and the more confusion, the more difficult it will be," Brown said.
He characterized his initiative as "your initiative, essentially, plus a little under $7 billion for schools. ... More money is better than less money, and there's more money in my initiative."
Brown suggested county officials consider their ongoing relationship with him.
"If you lose and I lose, and we're starting to squabble," he said, "that's not good, is it?"