First 5 San Diego Votes To Cut Funds From Kids’ Health Care, Education
On Monday, San Diego County's First 5 Commission unanimously voted to approve a four-year, 26.6% reduction in future spending on children's health and education programs, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The spending reduction was spurred by the state's plan to take about half of each county First 5 commission's reserve funds. San Diego County's commission will need to send about $88.3 million to the state (Cadelago, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/9).
In total, California is shifting about $1 billion away from First 5 to help close the state's budget gap.
Background on Funding Shift
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 reserve fund balance. 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, 5/3).
Details of San Diego County's Cuts
First 5 San Diego's spending reduction will lower the priority of projects that do not have final contracts or have not started offering services.
The changes also would:
- Cut $25 million from home visits to families through fiscal year 2014-2015;
- Cut $6 million from various preschool programs;
- Reduce certain supplies and services by 11.4%; and
- Eliminate funding for new capital projects (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/9).