Proposes Slashing Funding -- Again
Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal,
released January 10, recommends
a deep funding cut for California’s
landmark, voter-approved treatment-instead-of-jail
program, Proposition 36. Program
supporters worry that the governor’s
budget, if accepted by the Legislature,
would undermine the success of the
program and its 36,000 participants
In just the first five years of
the program, Prop. 36 helped over
140,000 Californians enter drug
treatment and has already saved
taxpayers over $1 billion.
If the governor’s
budget is approved, this would be
the second year in a row that Prop.
36 drug treatment programs would
have less money to operate than
in the previous year. Last year,
the Legislature approved $145 million
in total for Prop. 36-related programs,
but the governor now proposes only
$120 million, to be divided between
two separate Prop. 36 funds.
Of the $120 million
proposed by the governor, $60 million
would be channeled through a one-year-old
fund called the Substance Abuse
Offender Treatment Program (OTP),
which requires county funding matches
before state money is distributed.
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.
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.
Due to delays in distributing that
money, only $132 million is expected
to be available to counties in fiscal
year 2006-07, a reduction of $11
million from the previous year.
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 Prop. 36.
36 Generates Savings
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
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.