Pérez Taps First 5 for Help Restoring Some of Governor’s Budget Cuts
On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker John PÃ©rez (D- Los Angeles) is expected to announce that he is asking California's First 5 program to help restore a child care subsidy that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) eliminated from this year's budget package using line-item vetoes, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The First 5 program started in 1998 under Proposition 10, which raised 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.
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 (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 10/19).
Unless temporary financing is secured, the subsidized child care will end on Nov. 1 (McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 10/19).
The governor's line item vetoes -- which reduced state spending by almost $1 billion -- also targeted funding for:
- Community health clinics;
- Community-based services for seniors;
- HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs;
- Mental health services for special education students;
- Prostate cancer treatment programs; and
- Substance-misuse services (California Healthline, 10/14).
PÃ©rez said it would cost about $60 million to extend the child care program through Jan. 1, after which the new Legislature could attempt to restore full funding.
On Monday, PÃ©rez said he would contribute $6 million from the Assembly's operating budget to extend the program. He said he is asking First 5 and other groups to provide most of the remaining funds.
Previous Assistance From First 5
Last year, First 5 allocated $81 million to help restore Schwarzenegger's cuts to Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program (Los Angeles Times, 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.