Field Poll Finds Support Lagging for Budget-Related Propositions
A new Field Poll shows the majority of voters are opposing five of six ballot measures in the May 19 special election, including measures that would let the state shift funds from special accounts for mental health services and early childhood health care and education programs, the Sacramento Bee reports (Hecht, Sacramento Bee, 4/29).
The only measure to win support from more than 40% of the survey respondents is Proposition 1F, which would bar state legislators from receiving pay raises when the state is running a budget deficit.
All of the measures require a majority vote (Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).
Forty-nine percent of voters said they oppose Proposition 1D, while 40% support the measure and 11% said they were undecided (Marelius, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/29).
Proposition 1D would shift funds from First 5, which was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
In fiscal year 2009-2010, the measure would shift as much as $608 million in Proposition 10 revenue to the state general fund for other state health and human services programs for children who are not older than age five.Â The measure would shift as much as $268 million to the state general fund in each of the next four fiscal years.
The measure also would eliminate funds for statewide media campaigns and permit First 5 to allocate funding only for direct health and human services (California Healthline, 4/27).
The poll indicates that 18% of respondents knew that Proposition 1D would reduce the total amount that the state spends on health and human services programs over the next four years (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).
The poll finds that 51% of voters oppose Proposition 1E, while 40% of respondents said they will vote "yes" on the measure and 9% said they were undecided (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/29).
Proposition 1E would shift $226.7 million from mental health care programs that Proposition 63 funds to the existing Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program for low-income children for two years.Â
In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which increased the state income tax on high-income Californians to fund mental health services (California Healthline, 4/27).
According to the poll, 25% of respondents knew that approving Proposition 1E would cut total state spending on mental health programs for two years (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).
The measures were placed on the ballot as part of the budget deal that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed in February.
If voters reject the measures, the state budget deficit would increase by $6 billion, but the poll found that 41% of respondents did not agree that rejecting the measures would worsen the state's budget problems.
By comparison, 72% of respondents agreed that rejecting the measures "would send a message to the governor and the state Legislature that voters are tired of more government spending and higher taxes" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/29).
The poll is based on telephone interviews with 422 voters who likely will participate in the special election.Â The interviews took place from April 16 to April 26. Â
The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).
The findings are posted on Field Poll's Web site (.pdf).
EditorialCalling propositions 1D and 1E "the lesser evils," a Los Angeles Times editorial urged voters to approve the measures, explaining, "Harmful as the cuts will be, they're less harmful than" cutting the amount of funding targeted in the ballot measures "from schools, Medi-Cal or other vital state programs" (Los Angeles Times, 4/29). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.