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January 28, 2009    CALIFORNIA STATE BUDGET DISCUSSIONS

NAMI has been working with a broad coalition of mental health advocates to vehemently oppose the Governor's proposal to raid Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds – Proposition 63.
 
Please read the information below.   We are requesting that you immediately send letters to the Governor, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, your Senator and your Assembly Member.  All of the information you need, including a sample advocacy letter, is contained in the information provided below.

=========== NEWS REPORTS ===========
 
Mental health advocates spoke out Tuesday against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to redirect Proposition 63 funds that go to counties for mental health services to help close the state's budget shortfall. "The governor's FY 2009-10 budget proposal amounts to a misguided attack on people living with mental illness who literally have no other option for services and shelter," said Patricia Ryan, executive director of the California Mental Health Directors Association. Schwarzenegger has said he has few easy cost-cutting options given the state's $40 billion budget shortfall.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to redirect about $227 million collected from Prop. 63, a 2004 measure to expand outpatient mental health services, and put it toward existing state mental health care programs. The redirection would alleviate shortfalls created by the state's estimated $42 billion budget deficit, he has said.
 
By law, Prop. 63 money can't fund existing programs or involuntary institutionalized mental health care. It pays for counseling, job training and housing to help mentally ill people care for themselves.
 
Patricia Ryan, executive director of the California Mental Health Director Association, said Tuesday that Schwarzenegger's plan violates state law and would end up costing taxpayers more for hospitalizations and law enforcement.  "That is the entire intent of the act," Ryan said. "The governor's proposal would put us back to where we were if not worse."
 
=========== WRITE TO THE FOLLOWING ===========
 
Write a letter or send email.
SUBJECT:  BUDGET
Show your opposition to the Governor's proposal to redirect MHSA funds
 
1. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Office of the Governor, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA  95814
click here to email
 
2. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass
State Capitol, Room 219, Sacramento, CA 94249-0047, (916) 319-2047
click here to email
 
3. Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg
State Capitol, Room 205, Sacramento, CA 94248-0001, (916) 651-4006
click here to email
 
4. your State Senator - select one:
 
Senate District 17 (includes Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru)
Senator George Runner
State Capitol, Room 5097, Sacramento, CA 94248-0001, (916) 651-4017
click here to email

Senate District 19 (includes Ventura, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Moorpark)
Senator Tony Strickland
State Capitol, Room 4062, Sacramento, CA 94248-0001, (916) 651-4019
click here to email
 
Senate District 23 (includes Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Westlake Village)
Senator Fran Pavley
State Capitol, Room 4035, Sacramento, CA 94248-0001, (916) 651-4023
click here to email
 
5. your State Assembly Member
Click here and enter your zip code to find your local State Assembly representative

=========== SAMPLE LETTER ===========
 
(Customize by adding your own family situation)
 
Dear
 
I am writing to oppose the Governor's proposal to redirect funds from the the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).
 
The Governor's FY 2009-10 budget proposal amounts to a shameful attack on people living with mental illness who literally have no other option for services and shelter.  It also represents a dramatic attempt to undermine the voters' clear call for additional services to help thousands more people living with mental illness access recovery and support in their own communities.
 
As you know, Proposition 63 was approved overwhelmingly in 2004 by voters who recognized the dire need to address decades of inadequate state funding to meet the most basic needs of mental health consumers in communities across California.  By calling for the redirection of MHSA dollars into existing state and county programs, the Governor's proposal completely undermines the intent of the voters to expand mental health services to reach thousands more who need services but who cannot be served without additional funding.
 
In short, the Governor's proposal threatens the tens of thousands of people who rely on state-supported mental health services for their basic survival and ability to live safely in their communities, and it turns the clock back on California's efforts to reach the approximately 60% of people living with disabling mental illness who have not historically been served by the State's mental health system.
 
I urge your immediate rejection of the Governor's proposed redirection of MHSA dollars to the Medi-Cal Managed Care Consolidation Program, and the accompanying ballot proposal.
 
Sincerely,

 


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