FINAL BUDGET PACKAGE LEAVES FIRST 5 IN LIMBO
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?