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Mental Health Advocates Cry Foul



California's new state budget depends on voters approving a number of ballot measures in a special election this spring. Mental health advocates are getting ready to fight one of the measures they say will hurt important programs. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.


In 2004, California voters approved a special tax that provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year for mental health programs.


The new state budget diverts some of that money to pay for a federally mandated program that treats children. Voters will be asked to approve that change in May.


Rusty Selix directs the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies . He says the new ballot measure is bogus.


Rusty Selix: All this is doing is relieving the state general fund of 200-million dollars of costs, at the expense of the mental health program. It's doing nothing for children's mental health, and we will probably be going to court soon to challenge that title of this measure.


Supporters say the measure is needed to help the state fill budget gaps.


Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.



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