TOBACCO TAX REVENUE: Ousted Ventura County Health Chief Wins Contract
Ventura County's Children and Families First Commission has awarded an $80,000 contract to Kaplan & Associates -- a consulting firm headed by former Ventura County mental health chief Stephen Kaplan -- to "draw up a game plan" for tobacco tax fund distribution in the county. The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that Kaplan's firm will be responsible for identifying programs aimed at improving the lives of children under age 5, which will then receive Ventura County's $11.7 million share of California's tobacco tax revenue. California has already collected approximately $700 million in tax receipts under last year's Proposition 10, which levied a 50-cent tax increase on each pack of cigarettes sold in the state. Kaplan resigned in March over his role in the poorly managed merger of Ventura County's social service and mental health departments. The county lost more than $15 million from the merger. Children and Families First Commission Supervisor Kathy Long stated that while Kaplan's involvement in the merger process was considered, "his experience in the county and background in drug-prevention programs" prevailed (Blake, 10/2).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.