San Diego County Looks to First 5 Funding To Deal With Budget Deficit
San Diego County supervisors are considering redirecting money from the county's First 5 program for early childhood health care and education services to preserve some county services in the face of a mounting budget deficit, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
First 5 was created after state voters approved Proposition 10 in 1998 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund health care and education programs for children up to age five. The measure allowed counties to establish independent commissions that could then manage and invest their own funds.
Last week, California voters rejected Proposition 1D, which would have let the state use funds from First 5 to help balance the state budget.
Proposals Under Consideration
Supervisor Ron Roberts called on San Diego County's First 5 commission to pay the $340,000 necessary to sustain the county's Child Health and Youth Clinics program, which serves about 1,750 patients annually.Â The program is slated to close June 12.
Community clinics will be asked to absorb the increase in patients.
Roberts also called for changes to the county commission's membership.
Dianne Jacob, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and head of the First 5 commission, said, "Major changes are taking place" in First 5 and the commission might shift resources to fewer community groups to increase the program's impact.
Joan Zinser, interim commission director and former official with the county Health and Human Services Agency, said the commission is re-evaluating its budget strategy following last week's special election (McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/24).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.