State Should Release Mental Health Funds
State officials should work with "the state's counties to help as many Californians as possible as soon as possible," a Los Angeles Times editorial states, referring to $1 billion in unexpected revenue from Proposition 63 that state officials plan to withhold from counties for the time being. State voters in 2004 approved Proposition 63 to increase the state income tax by 1% for residents whose incomes are more than $1 million annually to fund mental health services.
According to the editorial, state officials say about half of the unexpected revenue "may go into a rainy-day fund" to protect the program against fluctuations in tax revenue and "the rest will eventually reach the counties but not until they can prove they can spend it effectively."
Under Proposition 63, counties must convene community meetings and secure agreement from stakeholders about priorities for the funds, in addition to evaluating programs that would receive funds, the editorial states. "County officials know better than state bureaucrats who needs care in their communities and which local mental health organizations can best provide it," the editorial states (Los Angeles Times, 8/25).