First 5 Sacramento Cuts $48.5M From Children’s Health Care, Education
On Monday, the First 5 Sacramento Commission cut $48.5 million from health and education services for young children, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The cuts were spurred by the state's plan to shift $1 billion in reserve funds away from First 5 to help close California's budget deficit (Branan, Sacramento Bee, 5/3).
In 1998, California voters approved Proposition 10, which imposed a tax on cigarettes to raise funds for First 5. State and county-level First 5 commissions use the tax revenue to fund early childhood health and education programs.
In March, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed AB 99 as part of a state spending package. The bill authorizes the state to take about half of each First 5 commission's fund balance as of July 30. State officials said the funds would go toward children's services under Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
Several counties have filed lawsuits over the funding shift (California Healthline, 4/15).
Details of the Cuts
Sacramento's First 5 commissioners unanimously approved the funding cuts, which will reduce appropriations for several programs by between one-quarter and one-half over the next five years.
The commission cut $17 million -- the largest cut -- from a project that provides water fluoridation to certain areas of Sacramento County. Dentists said the fluoridation project could reduce tooth decay and other dental problems.
The commission also plans to reduce its budget by $3.5 million by laying off 10 employees, bringing its staff down to 11 workers over three years.
In addition, the commission cut $1 million from a Women, Infants and Children breastfeeding program (Sacramento Bee, 5/3).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.