Will First 5 Ride to the Rescue Again?

As we reported last month, the state will freeze enrollment in the Healthy Families Program starting on Friday, July 17, to help address a projected $90 million General Fund shortfall. In response, the First 5 California Children and Families Commission, which meets in Sacramento tomorrow, will consider whether to at least partly plug this funding gap by shifting First 5 tobacco tax revenues to Healthy Families. This would not be the first time that First 5 has come to the rescue: Last December, First 5 provided nearly $17 million in tobacco tax dollars to offset a prior General Fund shortfall in Healthy Families, which allowed the state to avoid freezing enrollment for the remainder of the 2008-09 fiscal year.

— Scott Graves

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