Revisions Clarify Amendments and Cuts to Prop. 63, Remove Objectionable References to 'Protect[ing]' Existing Medi-Cal Program
SACRAMENTO, March 5 - Opponents of one of the measures on the upcoming May 19 special election ballot, Proposition 1E, settled a lawsuit this morning over ballot descriptions that the campaign had called misleading.
New language for both the short “ballot label” and for the title and summary for the measure was hammered out between the parties prior to this morning's court hearing. The court accepted the settlement this morning, and will certify it this afternoon.
“This is a good and fair resolution,” said Rusty Selix, who sued to change the language. “The new language discloses to voters that they are being asked to approve changes to an initiative they passed in 2004.”
Selix was the legal proponent of that measure, Proposition 63, which funded new mental health programs with a 1% tax surcharge on personal income above $1 million.
“Just as importantly,” said Selix, “these descriptions are devoid of the advocacy language found in the first draft, which falsely suggested that Prop. 1E would be necessary to protect an existing Medi-Cal program. In reality, Prop. 1E cuts Prop. 63 programs and backfills the state General Fund, which will pay for those Medi-Cal programs regardless of Prop. 1E's passage or defeat.”
“Make no mistake,” said Selix, “we oppose these cuts. We believe they are short-sighted and will cost the state more money to deal with the consequences of untreated mental illness. With today's resolution we believe we can make our case in this campaign on a level playing field.”
Prop. 1E cuts up to $460 million from voter-mandated Proposition 63 mental health programs over the next two fiscal years. Prop. 1E opponents had objected to the parts of the ballot descriptions suggesting that the measure would “preserve funding for children's mental health services,” and that Prop. 1E “guarantees and protects” funding for a specific program that is provided through Medi-Cal. That program is a federal mandate and will be provided at the same funding level whether Prop. 1E passes or fails.
The official descriptions of Prop. 1E were written by the Legislature and passed in the bill that called the special election, a break from the normal process. Lawyers for the Legislature agreed to the changes.
NEW BALLOT LANGUAGE FROM RESOLVED COURT CASE
NEW BALLOT LABEL FOR PROP. 1E
MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING. TEMPORARY REALLOCATION. Helps balance state budget by amending the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63 of 2004) to transfer funds, for two years, to pay for mental health services provided through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment program for children and young adults. Fiscal impact: State General Fund savings of about $230 million annually for two years (2009-10 and 2010-11). Corresponding reduction in funding available for Mental Health Services Act programs.
NEW TITLE & SUMMARY FOR PROP. 1E
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FUNDING. TEMPORARY REALLOCATION. HELPS BALANCE STATE BUDGET.
• Amends Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63 of 2004) to transfer funds, for a two-year period, from mental health programs under that act to pay for mental health services for children and young adults provided through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment program.
• Provides more than $225 million in flexible funding for mental health programs.
• Helps balance state budget during this difficult economic time.
Summary of Legislative Analyst's Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:
• State General Fund savings of about $230 million annually for two years (2009-10 and 2010-11) from redirecting a portion of Proposition 63 funds to an existing state program in place of state General Fund support.
• Corresponding reduction in funding available for Proposition 63 community mental health programs.