Programs still waiting on checks from state

September 19, 2008 11:52:13 PM PDT
Debbie Toth is executive director of Pleasant Hill's Mt. Diablo Adult Day Care Center. The state of California now owes the senior center $200,000. Even with a budget agreement, payback could still be weeks away.

Toth has already borrowed $3,000 from her grandmother to keep the program open.

"Our cash flow is going to run out at the end of this month," Toth said. "That may be another phone call to Grandma saying 'Hey, grandma, will you please give me some more of my inheritance up front."

The state will distribute checks on a priority basis.

"We're going to work on those as quickly as possible," state Controller John Chiang said. "I understand the desperate straits the healthcare agencies, the private sector vendors, have had to endure over these last couple of months."

Last year, it took the controller about two weeks to send out the checks.

This year, the impasse was much longer, and the backlog of claims much greater.

"It will be eight days to three weeks before we'll see a check," Cheryl Johnson, director of West Contra Costa's Brookside Health Clinic said.

The state owes her program about $475,000, Johnson said. She has had to cut back on clinic and staff hours, including those of medical assistant and single mother, Susan Taylor.

"I think they're in a way playing games," Taylor said. "Arnold, I think is treating it more like a movie than an actual, real-life issue."

For California Department of Motor Vehicles workers, the issue is an executive order from Governor Schwarzenegger in July that slashed part time positions. Once the budget is signed, it could still be some time before the 1,000 DMV workers laid off from their jobs return to work, if ever. Because the job cuts came in an executive order, the order would have to be lifted before there was any rehiring, budget or not.


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