Frequently Asked Questions
What is Prop. 10?
In November 1998, voters passed a statewide ballot initiative to add a 50 cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes. The monies collected are to be used to fund education, health and child care programs that promote early childhood development, from prenatal through age 5. Programs will be funded at the county level to best meet local needs as determined by each community. The intent is for all California children to be healthy, to live in a healthy and supportive family environment and to enter school ready to learn.
What is the goal of Prop. 10?
Prop. 10 funds are intended to promote, support and improve early childhood development through coordinating resources and programs that emphasize family support, parent education, child care and development, and health care. Prop. 10 is unique because it represents a historic effort to gather input from the public. Prop. 10 directs each county to create a strategic plan based on extensive input from communities, including families, service providers and advocacy groups. The plan outlines how counties will use these new funds to develop comprehensive, integrated systems of support and services for all children, 0 to 5 years of age. Spending decisions will be made by those who work most closely with children.
Why the emphasis on early childhood?
Current research indicates that the emotional, physical and intellectual environment to which a child is exposed has a profound impact on how his or her brain develops. The experience that an infant and toddler have with parents and caregivers will influence how a child functions when he or she reaches school and later in life. Currently, most money spent on children’s programs in California is directed at children older than 5 years of age.
How much money is involved and how is it being distributed?
We expect approximately $500 million to be collected each year from the tobacco tax. Eighty percent of the revenues will be distributed to the 58 California County Commissions to fund local programs. Twenty percent will be used by the State Commission for statewide education and outreach.
How are the allocations for each county determined?
Funds are allocated to County Commissions based upon county birth rate data, according to the county where the birth mother resides.
If smoking rates go down and therefore less tax is collected, how will the amount of money a county may be expecting be impacted?
There is no provision for funding to come from other sources. The Commission anticipates approximately $500 million annually from tobacco taxes. If fewer taxes are collected, then the amount of funds to each county will be reduced proportionately.
We would, in fact, hope that smoking rates decrease as a result of the tax. It is the goal of Prop. 10 to improve early childhood education and decrease smoking rates, especially among pregnant women and the parents of young children. The intent of Prop. 10 is to create sustainable programs for children that can continue even as Prop. 10 funding decreases.
Tobacco sales have fallen significantly since Prop. 10 took effect. How will that affect Prop. 10 programs?
When the initial projections were made for the initiative, there was an expected decrease in tobacco consumption because of the price increase. The funding accrued to date is on target with the initial projections to raise approximately $500 million annually.
Will the Prop. 10 money be used to replace currently planned/funded services?
Prop. 10 money cannot be used to replace existing funding for services or programs. The money can be used only to augment existing programs or to create new ones. All programs funded by Prop. 10 must also focus on preparing children to enter school healthy and ready to learn. Each County Commission will determine how the money is to be used based on its strategic plan. For many counties, this money represents an opportunity to address problems that typically have been severely under-funded and seemed so daunting, such as child abuse and the shortage of quality child care. This planning is very important. Each Commission’s charge is to spend as much as possible on children’s needs without creating new bureaucracy. As they have begun their planning, Commissions are establishing goals for children in their counties and determining what needs are met or unmet. In essence, they are conducting “audits” of current programs and community needs to determine how to best use these funds.
Who administers Prop. 10?
The First 5 California Commission, a seven-member commission comprised of volunteers, was appointed by the Governor, Assembly Speaker and Senate President pro Tem to administer Prop. 10 funds. The First 5 California Commission’s executive director has a small staff for technical assistance, program development, public education and research. The State Commission’s functions are funded by the one percent of Prop. 10 revenues allocated for administrative costs.
What is the role of the State Commission?
The State Commission provides oversight and technical assistance to the 58 County Commissions and statewide education on the importance of child development. Specific functions include developing program guidelines, reviewing county plans and conducting an annual program review and evaluation. In addition, 20 percent of the overall revenue is specifically administered by the State Commission to be allocated as follows: six percent for communications; five percent for education of parents and professionals; three percent for education, training materials and guidelines for child care providers; three percent for research; and one percent for administrative costs. Currently, two percent is unallocated, but will not be used for administrative purposes. The State Commission will specifically fund a statewide public education campaign on the importance of early childhood development and the dangers of smoking by pregnant women and parents of young children.
What is the relationship between the State Commission and the County Commissions?
The State Commission provides oversight and technical assistance to the 58 County Commissions. The State Commission reviews the County Commission plans to ensure consistency with State Commission guidelines and will be conducting annual evaluations and audits of how the money is being spent at the local level.
What is the relationship between county boards of supervisors and the County Commissions?
Each county board of supervisors enacted an ordinance to establish the appointment, selection and removal of commissioners, and to establish a trust fund to receive and make disbursements. The County Commissioners are appointed by the board of supervisors for that county.
Who has been appointed?
All 58 counties have appointed their Commissions. Each county was mandated to appoint a five to nine member Commission to include: a county health officer; representatives of local medical, pediatric or obstetric communities; representatives of local school districts; and a member of the county board of supervisors.
What is the role of the County Commission?
County Commissions must develop strategic plans consistent with State Commission guidelines on funding local child development programs and services. They are also mandated to hold public hearings, and submit county plans and audits to the State Commission. However, each County Commission makes the final decisions on the allocation of Prop. 10 funds.
Is the immigration status of children a factor in their eligibility for services and programs funded with revenues from the California Children and Families Trust Fund?
All California children, from the prenatal stage through age 5, are eligible for services. Services and programs funded, in whole or in part, by the California Children and Families Trust Fund shall not be denied due to an eligible child’s immigration status. Each County Commission should ensure that services and programs are not restricted or denied based on the immigration status of eligible children.
How will the County Commissions involve parents and other interested people in the decisions on how to use this money?
Each County Commission is utilizing various methods for engaging the community, such as public meetings, interviews, hot lines and surveys. This is an unprecedented effort in public participation, inviting a significant level of public input.
Will the public get involved?
Yes. Many of the counties are holding meetings, conducting surveys and establishing many creative ways to involve parents, providers of children’s services, advocates and others in meetings. The county meetings are reaching out to residents who are not typically involved in setting priorities. Meetings are held in the evenings with translation, interpretation, transportation and child care services provided. These public input meetings represent a chance for adults to speak on behalf of children, a constituency that has no direct voice in government. In addition, survey data (Lou Harris, Getting Involved Survey, 1996) indicates that a majority of Californians believe that local government should bring regular citizens into the planning process, in particular for setting priorities and developing solutions.