Governor Newsom Champions $6.4 Billion Mental Health Ballot: Prop. 1 Explained

Governor Gavin Newsom visited a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility in the Coachella Valley on Friday morning, seizing the moment to advocate for a ballot measure set for a vote on March 5. The proposed Proposition 1 aims to allocate $6.4 billion from the state to construct additional facilities for mental health care and substance abuse treatment.

During a news conference after touring the ABC Recovery Center in Indio, Newsom expressed the unprecedented scale and significance of the initiative, emphasizing its potential impact on addressing the escalating mental health crisis.

He highlighted the dwindling number of available beds for patients over the years, citing that while there were approximately 37,000 beds statewide in the 1960s when the Indio facility was built, the current count stands at around 5,500.

Newsom argued that Prop. 1, if approved, would greenlight the construction of an additional 11,000 beds. He clarified that the funding for this initiative would come from the state’s general fund and involve a reevaluation of how money from the 2004 Mental Health Services Act, approved by voters, is utilized.

In response to concerns, Newsom reassured that Prop. 1 would not result in a tax increase but rather a redirection of an existing tax established decades ago. However, not everyone supports the proposition, with Assemblyman Bill Essayli, a Republican from Corona, criticizing its reliance on funding as a solution to California’s homelessness issue.

Essayli argued for policy changes, specifically mentioning the need to reverse measures like Prop 47, which he claimed hindered officers’ ability to guide individuals into treatment. According to Essayli, enforcing existing policies is more crucial than injecting an additional $6 billion into the problem.

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