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Calif. High Court Backs Governor’s Line-Item Cuts

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not abuse his line-item veto power when he used it to cut nearly $500 million in health and welfare programs from last year's budget, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The governor's 27 line-item vetoes reduced funding for Medi-Cal by $60 million, cut $16 million from the Domestic Violence Program and slashed $50 million from California's Healthy Families program.

Opponents of the cuts, including community health centers, home health-care workers for the poor and free health clinics, argued that Schwarzenegger's actions "exceeded constitutional limits, because the individual budget cuts he made were not imposed on 'items of appropriation' that could be individually vetoed or reduced."

But the state Supreme Court unanimously upheld a lower court's ruling that Schwarzenegger could exercise his line-item veto power to cut funding for the welfare programs.

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