Revised Schwarzenegger Budget Proposal Reduces Deficit for San Luis Obispo County Mental Health Department
San Luis Obispo County Mental Health Services' estimated budget deficit is less than initially expected after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) revised budget proposal restored about $3 million to the county budget, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. The department had faced a $2 million budget shortfall under Schwarzenegger's January budget proposal, but his revised budget will reduce the MHS' budget deficit by about $400,000. In addition, San Luis Obispo officials have proposed increasing funding by almost $840,000 for county mental health programs, which are financed primarily by the state. According to the Tribune, county officials have recommended using the increased funding to:
- Provide $220,000 to restore funding for two mental health therapists and a nine-bed residential treatment program for minors with mental illnesses;
- Allocate an additional $96,000 to continue funding for two mental health therapists at the County Jail; and
- Use the state funding extension for a Community Challenge Grant to restore teen pregnancy prevention programs.
However, the Transitions-Mental Health Association, which operates the county's mental health programs, says that it needs an addition $371,080 in county funds to continue all of the current mental health programs, the Tribune reports. The county budget proposal maintains calls for reducing some public health services; four other therapist positions; and several mental health services, including work therapy and socialization programs for adults with mental illnesses and the Growing Grounds farm that employs about 70 mentally ill adults. According to the Tribune, the funding cuts to mental health services will be subject to "some of the most impassioned pleas" when the county Board of Supervisors begins budget hearings Monday (Finucane, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 6/10). 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.