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Agreement ends court battle over home care

March 20, 2013|By Chris Megerian

One of the prolonged lawsuits that became emblematic of California's budget crisis is coming to a close.

Gov. Jerry Brown has reached an agreement with unions and social service advocates to avoid steep cuts to in-home care for the elderly and disabled.

Brown will settle for an 8% cut in service hours instead of the 20% reduction he originally hoped to enact last year.

The deal also ends the battle over cuts pushed by Brown's predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. State officials agreed not to reduce state funding for worker salaries or further restrict who can receive benefits from the program, known as In-Home Supportive Services.

“This looming cloud of huge cuts is gone,” said Melinda Bird, litigation director for Disability Rights California. “It helps everybody move forward.”

The legal settlement will allow the state to save $160 million in the next fiscal year, rather than the $180 million assumed in the budget Brown has proposed, according to H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance.

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Twitter: @chrismegerian

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