California Republican Legislators Expected To Target First 5, Prop. 63
Republican legislators are expected to release a proposal today that calls for reallocating funds for mental health services and early childhood health and education efforts, the Sacramento Bee reports (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 12/14).
The plan would permit the state to access the $2 billion reserve fund for mental health services created by Proposition 63.Â In years past, the program has raised more than $1 billion annually (Howard/York, Capitol Weekly, 12/12).
California voters approved the plan in 2004.Â Its funds come from a tax increase for Californians with incomes that exceed $1 million annually (California Healthline, 7/9).
Republicans' proposal also would tap into funds earmarked for early childhood health and education programs under Proposition 10, which voters approved in 1998.Â The measure increased the state tobacco tax.
Both proposals would require voter approval, prompting Republican legislators to call for a special election as early as March 2009 (Capitol Weekly, 12/12).
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said that Democratic lawmakers would not support either proposal (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/14).Â Steinberg was the author of Proposition 63 (Capitol Weekly, 12/12).
Republicans are rolling out the proposals as part of their plan to address a state budget deficit projected to hit $40 billion by July 2010.
Democratic legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) have proposed closing the budget gap through a mix of revenue increases and spending cuts.
Many Republican legislators have signed pledges not to support tax increases, and Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines (R-Clovis) said that Republicans would consider revenue increases only after Democrats agree to:
- A state spending cap;
- Permanent budget cuts;
- Efforts to curb waste in government spending; and
- Business-friendly changes to labor and environmental laws (Sacramento Bee, 12/14).