The budget adopted by the Legislature on June 28 left First 5 commissions — and the local programs and initiatives they fund — in a more difficult situation than ever. On the one hand, the budget no longer includes Prop 10 revenues, but on the other hand, AB 99 is still in place — the bill that requires county commissions to send $950 million to the state by June 30, 2012.
Ironically, even though no Prop 10 revenues were needed for the budget, commissions must continue making deep program cuts to comply with AB 99.
AB 99 was passed last March as part of the Governor’s effort to enact an early budget. Seven county commissions and boards of supervisors immediately challenged the measure, charging that it violates several fundamental premises of Prop 10. It was enacted by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature, rather than a ballot initiative. It uses Prop 10 funds to supplant the state General Fund to pay for on-going state programs. And it creates a very dangerous precedent. If AB 99 stands, what would keep the Legislature from taking more money in the future to balance a tight budget?
The first hearing is scheduled on August 30 in Fresno County Superior Court.
What can the Legislature do now? There is still time to repeal AB 99. This would avoid a costly legal battle and free up the money to do what it is meant to do — meet the needs of children and families in every county in the state. Instead county commissions and hundreds of local programs will remain in limbo until the courts overturn AB 99 or a future Legislature decides to do so.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Contact your state Assembly Member and Senator right away. MOST LEGISLATORS SEE THAT PROP 10 WAS TAKEN OUT OF THE BUDGET AND THINK THAT TOOK CARE OF THE PROBLEM. THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT COUNTY COMMISSIONS ARE STILL SUBJECT TO AB 99 AND THUS CANNOT RESTORE CUTS THEY HAVE BEEN FORCED TO MAKE TO COMPLY WITH IT. At a time when young children and their families are still reeling from the recession and three years of state budget cuts, AB 99 is preventing commissions from offering help where it is most needed — in hard hit communities throughout the state.
Please call or write your state Assembly person and Senator RIGHT AWAY. Ask him or her to repeal AB 99. The budget does not require the $950 million. Ask your representatives to free up those funds, avoid wasting state dollars on legal fees, and let county First 5 commissions continue the work they were meant to do.