Union Opposition Raises Hurdles for Special Election Initiatives
This week, the Service Employees International Union State Council contributed $500,000 to defeat Proposition 1A, a measure on the May 19 special election ballot that aims to cap state spending and create a rainy day fund, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The donation comes as unions have become more active in opposing Proposition 1A, which public employee unions worry could translate to reduced state spending on health care and education and fewer jobs for union members.
SEIU has partnered with the California Federation of Teachers and the California Faculty Association to form a committee that has raised $1 million to oppose the measure (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 4/22).
SEIU also has donated $500,000 to campaign in favor of Proposition 1C, which would let the state borrow as much as $5 billion against future lottery revenue (Bailey, Los Angeles Times, 8/22).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and other supporters of the measures on the special election ballot have called on voters to approve all six of the measures on the ballot to help address the state budget deficit.
The Bee reports that the strategy could lead to voters rejecting all of the measures principally because of strong feelings about one measure -- potentially Proposition 1A (Sacramento Bee, 4/22).
Health Care-Related Measures
The special election ballot also will include measures that would let the state tap into special accounts for mental health services and early childhood health care and education programs (Harmon, MediaNews/Oakland Tribune, 4/21).
Proposition 1D would shift funds from First 5, which was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
In fiscal year 2009-2010, the measure would shift as much as $608 million in Proposition 10 revenue to the state general fund for other state health and human services programs for children who are not older than age five.Â The measure would shift as much as $268 million to the state general fund in each of the next four fiscal years.
The measure also would eliminate funds for statewide media campaigns and permit First 5 to allocate funding only for direct health and human services.
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.Â
In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which increased the state income tax on high-income Californians to fund mental health services (California Healthline, 4/21).
Opponents of the measures say approving the initiatives could lead to larger budget cuts and more pressure to increase revenue in the future, as well as greater long-term costs.Â
Moreover, critics point out that funds from Propositions 10 and 63 are being shifted to maintain services for federally-mandated programs, arguing that the state would have to provide the services regardless of whether voters approve the measures (MediaNews/Oakland Tribune, 4/21).
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted to formally oppose propositions 1D and 1E, the Lompoc Record reports.San Luis Obispo County Supervisors voted to oppose the measures last week (Womack, Lompoc Record, 4/22). 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.