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Analyst’s Office Recommends
Cuts In Prop. 36 Drug Treatment
Report Says Gov.’s Plans
Threaten Cost Savings And Raise
Dave Fratello (310) 394-2952 or Margaret
Dooley (858) 336-3685
21– The Legislative Analyst’s
Office today recommended the Legislature
reject Governor Schwarzenegger’s
proposal to cut funding to Proposition
36, California’s voter-approved,
The Drug Policy Alliance welcomed the
LAO report, which acknowledges that the
governor’s plan would undermine
the cost-effective program and could lead
to legal conflicts.
Margaret Dooley, Prop.
36 statewide coordinator for the Drug
Policy Alliance, said, “The LAO
report confirms what we have been saying
since the governor released his January
budget proposal. Cutting funding to Prop.
36, which has graduated over 60,000 people
and saved the state over $1 billion, serves
neither taxpayers nor people suffering
from substance abuse problems in this
state. The evidence shows that we all
benefit when we provide life-saving drug
treatment services to people caught up
in the criminal justice system. In California
today that is an especially critical point.”
Last year, the Legislature
approved $145 million in total for Prop.
36-related programs, but the governor
proposes only $120 million for Prop. 36
drug treatment in 2007-08. The governor
has also recommended channeling all funding
through a one-year-old fund called the
Substance Abuse Offender Treatment Program
(OTP), which requires county funding matches
before state money can be distributed.
The LAO recommends the
Legislature reject both parts of the governor’s
plan: cutting $25 million from Prop. 36
drug treatment services and making distribution
of all Prop. 36 funds dependent on county
The LAO report reads,
“Our concern is that reducing funding
below the 2005-06 level of $145 million
would probably eventually result in increased
prison costs at least proportional to
the amount of any reduction.” The
LAO has estimated that the state’s
$120 million annual investment in Prop.
36 resulted in net savings of $205 million
in 2002-03 and $297 million in 2004-05.
The LAO also recommends
the Legislature oppose new county-matching
requirements based on legal grounds, saying
“we note that funding Proposition
36 programs through OTP and providing
no funding for [the Prop. 36 trust fund]
may be open to legal challenges.”
Dave Fratello, co-author of Prop. 36,
said, “The governor proposes zero
funding for Prop. 36 treatment programs
if counties don’t put up money,
too. This sets the stage for endless conflicts.
Counties will challenge the requirement,
and we could see lawsuits by drug offenders,
too, if appropriate treatment turns out
to be unavailable.”
About the Prop.
36 Budget Figures
For five years (FY 2001-02 through FY
2005-06), Prop. 36 was guaranteed funding
of $120 million per year from the state
general fund. Counties actually spent
$143 million to implement Prop. 36 in
FY 2005-06, according to the Legislative
Analyst’s Office, which was possible
because some counties had carried forward
money from earlier years with fewer clients.
Last year was the first
in which legislators set the Prop. 36
program’s budget. The legislature
approved $120 million for the main Prop.
36 fund, and $25 million in supplementary
funds under the auspices of the OTP program.
A simple adjustment
for inflation, using statistical methods
employed by the Department of Finance,
would call for a Prop. 36 budget of at
least $152.4 million to match the dollar
value of the program’s first-year
funding. By this measure, the governor’s
newest proposal is at least $32.4 million
short of the amount first allocated for
According to a recent survey by the Coalition
of Alcohol and Drug Associations, Prop.
36 needs at least $209.3 million to “adequately
address the treatment needs.” The
Governor’s proposed funding for
Prop. 36 falls almost $90 million short
of that target, which would allow counties
to better meet the range of needs in treatment,
support services and criminal justice
supervision for the over 36,000 clients
enrolling in Prop. 36 programs each year.
Prop. 36 Generates
Analyses conducted by researchers at the
University of California at Los Angeles
show that for every $1 invested in Prop.
36, the state saves $2.50. For program
completers, every $1 invested leads to
$4 in savings. In the program’s
first five years, taxpayer savings reached
$1.3 billion, according to figures from
the Justice Policy Institute. A recent
UCLA analysis on Prop. 36 cost savings
showed that the state enjoys 93% of the
savings from Prop. 36, with counties receiving
the remaining 7%.
Prop. 36 Background
Prop. 36 was approved by 61 percent of
voters in November 2000. A June 2004 poll
by the Field Institute showed support
for the law at 73 percent. Nearly 12,000
people have successfully completed substance
treatment during each year of Prop. 36’s
existence, putting the program on track
to graduate 72,000 Californians in its
first six years.
The LAO recommendations
on Prop. 36 are online
36 Fact Sheet
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