WHY I CHANGED MY RECOMMENDATION ON PROPOSITION 2 FROM YES TO NO
Prop Spotlight: Proposition 2 – From the California Federation of Republican Women
The official ballot summary of Proposition 2 is as follows: Ratifies existing law establishing the No Place Like Home Program, which finances permanent housing for individuals with mental illness who are homeless or at risk for chronic homelessness, as being consistent with the Mental Health Services Act approved by the electorate. Ratifies issuance of up to $2 billion in previously authorized bonds to finance the No Place Like Home Program. Amends the Mental Health Services Act to authorize transfers of up to $140 million annually from the existing Mental Health Services Fund to the No Place Like Home Program, with no increase in taxes.
Prop 2 takes some background explanation. The legislature passed a bill in 2016, the No Place Like Home Act, to spend revenue from Proposition 63 (2004) on revenue bonds for homelessness prevention housing.
The legislation, however, could not go into effect for two reasons: 1). Because of pending litigation over whether revenue from the millionaire’s tax could be spent on homelessness prevention housing and 2) Because Prop 2 would reallocate revenue from a previously passed ballot initiative. Unlike general obligation bonds, revenue bonds do not require a public vote in California, but because this is a change to a passed ballot initiative, it must go before the voters. In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63- a one percent income tax on those making over a million dollars a year to fund mental health programs.
Over a decade later, much of that money remains unspent for a wide variety of reasons. Therefore, two years ago the Legislature approved the No Place Like Home program to spend the unused revenue. This program authorizes the $2 billion general obligation bond to pay for housing for those with mental illness who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless. The bond would be paid off with up to $140 million of existing Proposition 63 monies annually, for 30-35 years. Both chambers of the state legislature approved AB 1827 (now, Prop 2) on June 25, 2018. The vote in the state Senate was 35-0, with four members not voting, while the state Assembly vote was 72-1. If passed, the bond would allow for the distribution of $2 billion among counties as deferred payment loans to finance capital costs of approximately 10,000 permanent supportive housing for persons eligible for services under Prop 63 and are homeless, chronically homeless, or at risk of chronic homelessness due to mental health.
The California Republican Party has no position on Prop 2 because this was placed on the ballot after the Party’s convention last May, where positions on ballot measures were made by the CRP Initiatives Committee. The California Federation of Republican Women have recommended voting NO on Prop 2.
Our Voting Body believes that the original Prop 63 Mental Health funding should be used for mental health programs, not for housing. We acknowledge that our cities have a homelessness crisis, but we believe that throwing money at the problem in the form of housing is not the answer. Catching the signs of mental illness earlier, giving schools and families the tools to help their loved ones with a mental illness, and more education on mental illnesses should be addressed, but Prop 2 does nothing for that. Join us in voting NO on Prop 2.