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August 29, 2007
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Prop. 36 Funding Survived Last Minute Budget Cuts

On Friday, August 24, after one of the state’s longest budget stalemates, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed California’s 2007-08 budget into law. Before signing, the governor made good on his promise to eliminate an additional $703 million from the budget by using his "blue pencil" powers, but left funding for Prop. 36 at $120 million—the level approved by the legislature.

The governor has the power to “blue pencil”, or reduce or eliminate, funding to any program before signing the budget into law. He does not have the power to increase funding.

Senate Republicans had asked the governor to use his blue pencil to eliminate all funding to Prop. 36, but the program was fortunately not part of the governor’s last-minute cuts. This reflects the outpouring of support from advocates and legislators during the contentious budget process, including Senate President pro Tem Don Perata.

The 2007-08 budget provides $100 million for the Prop. 36 trust fund, and $20 million for a separate Prop. 36 fund, called the Offender Treatment Program. The first fund is distributed to all 58 counties, depending on need (as determined by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs). The second fund, however, requires that counties match funds at a ratio of 1:9. Counties unable, or unwilling, to match funds cannot access OTP funding.

On the one hand, the fact that Prop. 36 will receive $120 million this year is wonderful news, especially given that many other essential state programs that provide critical services were cut or eliminated.
On the other hand, the funding level is disappointing. The Prop. 36 trust fund will receive $20 million less in 2007-08 than it did the previous year, and $40 million less than the legislature’s budget committees agreed earlier this year. Meanwhile, health care and housing costs keep increasing.

Prop. 36 is already operating on a shoe string. Another $20 million in cuts will mean that more people end up on waiting lists rather than in treatment programs—and, as a result, some people will fail simply because they are unable to access treatment quickly enough.

But, because of the outpouring of support, Prop. 36 received $120 million in funding in 2007-08 rather than possibly much less or nothing at all. This means that 36,000 people convicted of low-level non-violent drug offences will continue to have access to drug treatment. There are already more than 70,000 Prop. 36 graduates who can attest to the importance of this opportunity.

 


 
Common Sense for Drug Policy
 
California Society of Addiction Medicine
 
California State Association of Counties
 

Read commentary from Oliver H., a Prop 36 graduate.

 
Get the Facts
Over a dozen Proposition 36 fact sheets are available for download. Topics include: the Effectiveness of Drug Treatment, Drug Courts/Deferred Entry, and the California Correctional System.
 
County-by-County
breakdowns of the 2000 initiative votes
 
For background on the Prop. 36 campaign and other votes nationwide for drug policy reform, see:

Contact Lists
County Lead Agencies
and Contacts
Parole Region Contact
Probation Contacts

 

     

 
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Drug Policy Alliance · (916) 444-3751 · sacto@drugpolicy.org