Public, Lawmakers Torn About Health Care-Related Ballot Measures
Ballot measures that would shift funding away from special accounts for mental health and children's health care services continue to be a point of contention for some lawmakers and the public, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports (Alexander, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 3/12).
The measures are up for vote in a May 19 special election and would help complete the budget Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed last month that uses tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to cover California's projected budget deficit through fiscal year 2009-2010.
If the measures are not passed, budget negotiations would have to be restarted.
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.Â In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which increased the state income tax on high-income Californians to fund mental health services.
Proposition 1D would temporarily shift $608 million from First 5 programs to fund services for children, including programs for foster children and kids with developmental disabilities. First 5 was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs (California Healthline, 3/11).
In addition, Proposition 1A would cap state spending, sparking concerns from health care providers that the cap would lead to decreased health care funding.
Few groups have declared their formal opposition to the measures, with some planning to remain neutral, the Sentinel reports.
Fred Keeley, a former Assembly member and board member of the group California Forward, predicted, "If there is any meaningful opposition, [the measures] will fail."
Assembly member Bill Monning (D-Monterey) said further cuts to public services likely would be needed if the May propositions fail (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 3/12).
This week's issue of Capitol Weekly includes articles on the implications of the ballot measure campaigns and the special election.Â Headlines and links to select articles appear below.
- "Strategists Wrestle With Selling the Special Election" (York, Capitol Weekly, 3/12).
- "What if Voters Reject the May 19 Props?" (Howard/York, Capitol Weekly, 3/12).