VENTURA COUNTY: Tobacco Tax Spending Plan Approved
A plan to spend Ventura County's $11.7 million cigarette tax revenue on programs for young children was approved last night, after a local commission defended a controversial provision to spend $1.1 million on a child development center, the Ventura County Register reports. Crafted by the Ventura County Children and Families Commission, the plan provides general guidelines for spending the proceeds of the 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax. Under the plan, $6.5 million would go to programs to prepare young children for school, $1.6 million would address children's physical and mental health needs and another $1.6 million would create a family support network. Nearly 9%, or $1.1 million, has been earmarked for the creation of a Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Development at a yet-to-be-named university. Some officials expressed concern that the commission already had one university in mind and planned to choose that school without putting the contract up for bids. However, Ventura County Schools Superintendent and commission member Charles Weis said that no such decisions had been made. The plan now goes to the state for review, although it has no authority to make changes. The only mandate for the cigarette tax fund is that it be used for programs geared toward children under the age of five (Koehler, 4/18).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.