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State budget cuts spare Barstow veterans

Veterans home not at risk, officials say

BARSTOW • State budget cuts are likely to have little immediate impact on the state’s veterans hospitals, California Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Peter Gravett said in a conference call with reporters Monday.

Calling the plan “modest, fair and temporary,” Gov. Jerry Brown announced his revised state budget in Sacramento Monday morning, which included new, deeper cuts to close a budget deficit that has ballooned from $9 to $16 billion.

“This is going to require us to buckle down and make some budget cuts and some changes in the way we operate,” Gravett said.

The budget will likely delay the opening of two new veterans homes in Fresno and Redding and a skilled nursing facility in West Los Angeles, but will do little to affect the department’s six existing facilities, said Pouneh Simpson, chief of financial operations for the department’s Veterans Homes division. About 2,500 veterans live in the homes.

Simpson said the cuts would not affect the ability of existing veterans homes to take in new veterans.

“Nothing has changed,” she said.

The governor released a summary of his revisions to the original budget he proposed in January, but a detailed breakdown of the new plan was not available Monday.

The Veterans Home of California, Barstow was one of three veterans homes in the state to receive a zero-deficiency rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs last month.

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