Health Care Groups Join Battle Against Measures in State Special Election
The California Nurses Association labor union and mental health advocacy groups are among the organizations planning to campaign against measures on the May 19 special election ballot that were qualified as part of last month's state budget package, the Wall Street Journal reports (White, Wall Street Journal, 3/9).
Proposition 1A imposes a spending cap on future state budgets and requires the state to create a larger rainy day fund. Â The measure also would extend for two years state tax increases approved as part of the budget deal (Marelius, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/8).
CNA spokesperson Charles Idelson said the union likely would announce a campaign opposing the measure soon.Â He said the spending cap would impede state spending from increasing to address future health care needs.
Health Access and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association also are opposing the measure and went to court to demand changes to the initiative's title and description (California Healthline, 3/6).
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 (California Healthline, 3/4).
The federal government requires the state to provide the EPSDT program.
The Mental Health Association in California and Mental Health America in Los Angeles are part of a coalition working on a campaign against the measure.
Rusty Selix, executive director of the Mental Health Association of California, said the groups have started raising funds for the campaign, possibly including television ads.
Selix argues that the measure has larger implications.Â He said, "If this measure passes, the Legislature will have a new play in its playbook." He added, "Whenever they're in budget troubles they can just raid funding sources from other programs."
Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has begun traveling the state to campaign for the measures.
During a news conference, Schwarzenegger said he is prepared to campaign against groups opposing the measures.
If voters reject the measures, a state budget deficit of as much as $6 billion could resurface, according to the Journal (Wall Street Journal, 3/9).
Jonathon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access,Â oppose Proposition 1A "for very different reasons," Sacramento Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub writes.
According to Weintraub, Coupal argues that the spending cap is not strict enough, while Wright maintains that the cap will make it difficult for the state to respond to the needs of a changing population."The only thing that seems certain is that if the anti-tax lobby and the spending lobby unite to kill Proposition 1A, California will have a lot more political turmoil in the years ahead" (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 3/8). 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.