First 5 L.A. Contributes $15M To Restore Some Line-Item Vetoes
On Thursday, the First 5 Los Angeles Commission voted to contribute as much as $15 million to help restore a statewide child care subsidy that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) eliminated from this year's budget package using line-item vetoes, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
The First 5 program began in 1998 under Proposition 10, which increased cigarette taxes by 50 cents per pack to fund early childhood health care and education programs. The statewide First 5 Commission and its county branches receive about $480 million annually from the tobacco tax ("KPCC News," KPCC, 10/28).
When Schwarzenegger signed a budget package earlier this month, he used line-item vetoes to cut $256 million from a program that provides subsidized child care for beneficiaries of CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work program.
Schwarzenegger's line-item vetoes, which reduced state spending by almost $1 billion, also targeted funding for:
- Community health clinics;
- HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs; and
- Mental health services for special education students (California Healthline, 10/19).
First 5 Funds
Assembly Speaker John PÃ©rez (D- Los Angeles) has pledged $6 million from the Assembly's budget to extend the child care subsidy. The Assembly's contribution is expected to allow the program to continue for about a week, while the $15 million from First 5 Los Angeles could extend the program for an additional two and a half weeks, according to KPCC'S "KPCC News."
PÃ©rez and other Democrats have pledged to push for new legislation to restore the child care program when the next governor takes office. In the meantime, PÃ©rez isÂ asking First 5 commissions in all 58 California counties to provide stopgap funding for the program ("KPCC News," KPCC, 10/28).
Over the next couple weeks, county-level First 5Â commissions across the stateÂ will decide whether to contribute funds.
Mark Friedman, CEO of First 5 Alameda County, said he is confident thatÂ his local commission will provideÂ the assistance necessaryÂ to keep Alameda County children enrolled in the child care program until January (Murphy, Oakland Tribune, 10/26).
Last year, First 5 allocated $81 million to help restore the governor's cuts to Healthy Families, the state's Children's Health Insurance Program (California Healthline, 10/19).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.