Schwarzenegger Kicks Off Push To OK Special Election Initiatives
In an appearance at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) urged voters to approve a series of initiatives in the May 19 special election, including measures to shift money from special funds for mental health services and early childhood health care and education, the Los Angeles Times reports (Halper/Rau, Los Angeles Times, 3/13).
"A 'yes' vote gives more stability to schools and law enforcement and health care," Schwarzenegger said, adding, "A 'yes' vote puts our state back on the path to prosperity."
Schwarzenegger plans to travel around the state campaigning for the measures (Young, San Francisco Business Times, 3/12).
Details of Health Care-Related Measures
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. 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.
The measures would complete the budget Schwarzenegger signed last month that uses tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to cover California's projected budget deficit through fiscal year 2009-2010.
Rejection of any of the ballot proposals will force the governor and state lawmakers to restart budget negotiations (California Healthline, 3/11).
The Mental Health Association in California, Los Angeles-based Mental Health America and other groups have voiced opposition to the measure (San Francisco Business Times, 3/12).
In addition, Health Access and other health care advocacy groups have criticized Proposition 1A, which would cap state spending and increase the state rainy day fund.
On Thursday, the League of Women Voters of California urged voters to reject four of the six measures on the ballot (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/13).Â The league is urging voters to reject:
- The initiatives dealing with funding for mental health and early childhood services;
- The spending cap; and
- Proposition 1C, which would let the state borrow money against future lottery revenue (League of Women Voters of California release, 3/12).