ARGUMENT in Favor of
Almost 40 years ago, California emptied its mental hospitals, promising to fully fund community mental health services. That promise is still unfulfilled.
Hundreds of thousands of children and adults in California suffer from severe mental illnesses and cannot get the treatment they need. These children fail in school. Adults end up on the streets or in jail.
- Provides comprehensive mental health care for children, adults, and seniors.
- Helps individuals and families without insurance, or whose insurance doesn't pay for needed services.
- Includes mental health treatment, general medical care, housing, job training, and prescription drugs.
- Is paid for by a 1% tax on income over $1 million per year-people earning less than $1 million per year won't pay anything extra.
- Supports innovative programs that are proven to work.
- Requires annual oversight and accountability procedures to ensure funds are properly spent.
Proposition 63 also provides prevention services to help children, adults, and seniors get care before a mental illness becomes disabling.
The nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst concludes that Proposition 63 could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually by reducing expenses for medical care, homeless shelters, and law enforcement.
CALIFORNIA'S DOCTORS AND NURSES SUPPORT PROPOSITION 63 BECAUSE TREATMENT WORKS
Mental illness does not have to be disabling. With proper care, children can return to a normal life and enjoy success in school. Adults and seniors can regain their dignity and find productive work.
Mental illness often goes untreated because people lack access to care. State funding covers only a fraction of those needing help. Families whose loved ones begin treatment often find their insurance inadequate.
Proposition 63 provides effective treatment for all of those being denied care. It gives medical professionals the tools to save lives.
POLICE CHIEFS SUPPORT PROPOSITION 63 BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE CALIFORNIA SAFER
Twenty percent of a police officer's time is spent dealing with people with mental illnesses. One in three people who are homeless are on the streets only because of untreated mental illness.
Our prisons and jails are full of thousands of people with mental illnesses who would not be there if they had been offered treatment. We should provide care before people end up on the streets, or behind bars. Then our police officers can focus on criminals, instead of people who are ill and need help.
CALIFORNIA'S TEACHERS SUPPORT PROPOSITION 63 BECAUSE IT WILL HELP CHILDREN SUCCEED IN SCHOOL AND IN LIFE
It's heartbreaking to watch children fall into mental illness. They struggle in school, unable to focus on learning. Left untreated, many withdraw from teachers, friends, and family. Finding it difficult to "fit in" at school, many drop out. All of these consequences are preventable.
Proposition 63 provides for early intervention and badly needed services. It will help children avoid mental illness, or cope with its effects, and get back on track to learning.
MANY OF US KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS SUFFERED FROM A SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS. IT IS TIME TO STOP THE SUFFERING.
PLEASE VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 63.
For more: www.CampaignForMentalHealth.org
DEBORAH BURGER, President
California Nurses Association
CHIEF CAM SANCHEZ, President
California Police Chiefs Association
BARBARA KERR, President
California Teachers Association
REBUTTAL to Argument in Favor of Proposition 63
We must get the mentally ill off the streets and get them the treatment they need. For too long, those who suffer have been left without hope and without help.
However, we are not swayed by those who would use nice words to pass a shortsighted measure that is guaranteed to cause long-term failure. The problems the mentally ill face require a REAL PLAN for the future; not promises of funding tied to dangerously volatile income sources, which can vanish in a heartbeat.
We all remember the economic bubble that burst in California a few years ago. Budget surpluses abounded, but suddenly without warning, the high incomes and windfalls disappeared-and took important tax dollars along with them! Overnight, looming deficits and program cuts appeared. This measure follows the same risky path, pinning itself to those very incomes. Such folly is unreliable and irresponsible.
TAXPAYER-FUNDED INTERESTS pushing this new bureaucracy claim that similar programs have "demonstrated their effectiveness" in terms of "providing services," but that is not the same thing as reducing mental illness or manifestations of it. Nor does any evidence show that state and local costs have declined as a result.
We need to do something about mental illness, and reject fake solutions like Proposition 63 that only postpone serious fixes for later. This sleight-of-hand substitute is a feel-good proposal that doesn't plan for the future and doesn't make sense. Our children and families require better.
We urge you to vote NO on 63.
THE HONORABLE TIM LESLIE, Assemblyman
California State Legislature
DAVID YOW, Member
Citizens for a Healthy California
Proposition 63 is a flawed attempt to fix a serious problem. Californians are compassionate, and that's why we care about making sure that government is both responsible AND effective. This tax initiative, however, is neither. It promises wonderful things, but the benefit is much smaller and the price tag much larger than proponents are telling you.
This new law forces the Legislature to continue funding existing mental health programs at their current levels, regardless of effectiveness or efficiency. While United States Department of Justice investigations have found severe abuses within California's Department of Mental Health, proponents suggest we expand that system rather than first resolving the problems it already faces.
As if that weren't bad enough, Proposition 63 pins the hopes and needs of thousands of Californians upon a NARROWLY DRAWN SEGMENT OF A FEW TAXPAYERS' INCOMES. That is not wise, and it is not safe. Of course, most people aren't millionaires, but when those required to pay this tax end up leaving the state-the way they have been in increasing numbers since the Gray Davis days-they will take their tax dollars with them. The very same tax dollars this program needs to survive. That leaves the rest of us stuck trying to pay the tab, and helplessly watching other important services get cut to make up the difference.
On paper, this plan promises a lot. Helping the mentally ill sounds good. However, the measure itself is fatally flawed, because its funding structure is too narrowly drawn and highly vulnerable to even slight economic changes. So, you see, the failure to provide a long-term solution for mental health needs in our state will only create even bigger problems that need to be solved . . . and leave us with the original challenges, as well.
It is compassionate to help, but this plan is the wrong way to do it. It is time for real reform-not irresponsible measures like this one that merely substitute one broken bureaucracy for another. All Californians deserve a government that plans for the future, not one that threatens it with a nightmarish, risky scheme that will leave us with larger problems than ever before.
Join many Californians from all walks of life, including community leaders, state legislators, health care advocates, elected city officials, and others who care about the people in our communities in voting NO on this well-intended but short-sighted initiative. In the long run, this backward plan will only hurt those it's meant to help.
DR. WILLIAM ALLEN, Professor
UCLA Department of Economics
THE HONORABLE RAY HAYNES, Assemblyman
California State Legislature
LEW UHLER, President
National Tax Limitation Committee
REBUTTAL to Argument Against Proposition 63
PROPOSITION 63 HELPS EVERYONE IN CALIFORNIA.
Treating mental illness doesn't just mean helping individuals.
It means better schools and businesses, and safer communities.
Successful treatment keeps adults healthy, employed, and self-sufficient. It helps children stay and succeed in school. Police can focus on crime, instead of untreated mental illness.
PROPOSITION 63 EXPANDS A PROGRAM THAT WORKS.
After decades of neglecting mental illness, California began an experimental, community-based mental health program five years ago. It helps teenagers and adults get the care they need from one place. Special community teams offer treatment, medicines, housing, job training, and other assistance.
The program has been studied extensively. (See www.AB34.org.) The results show that three times more people found employment than had worked previously. Those enrolled had a 66% reduction in hospital days, and an 81% reduction in jail days.
A panel of nationally recognized experts calls this program a model for the nation.
Right now, the program is small, reaching fewer than 10% of those who could benefit. Thousands are turned away.
Proposition 63 makes this new model program available to the thousands now turned away.
PROPOSITION 63 REQUIRES STRICT ACCOUNTABILITY.
Under Proposition 63:
- Funding goes only to these proven, new programs.
- Bureaucrats can't redirect the funding.
- An oversight panel of independent, unpaid members supervises expenditures.
- To ensure accountability, they can cut off programs that aren't effective.
Proposition 63 only taxes individuals on their taxable, personal income over $1 million. The tax is just 1%. It's even deductible from federal taxes.
Please vote YES on Proposition 63.
CARLA NIŅO, President
California State PTA
ARETA CROWELL, President
Mental Health Association in California
DR. DANA WARE, President
California Academy of Family Physicians