LOS ANGELES, Calif.–A state commission is suing Gov. Jerry Brown over legislation he signed to shift nearly $1 billion from early childhood programs to close the state’s budget deficit, it was announced today.
The Superior Court lawsuit, filed Thursday by First 5 LA, alleges a recently passed bill that diverts $1 billion in Prop. 10 funds is illegal because it redirects money in a way that is not consistent with the proposition’s voter-mandated purpose.
A call to Brown’s office for comment was not immediately returned.
Prop. 10, also known as the Children and Families First Act of 1998, imposed a tax on tobacco and cigarette products, created a trust for the tax revenue and mandated that the funds be spent on comprehensive programs for early childhood development.
First 5 commissions were created statewide to oversee and administer the trusts.
“Since receiving its first moneys in 1999, First 5 LA has been a leading innovator in implementing programs and services that have helped thousands of children in the County of Los Angeles with a broad spectrum of health and education resources in conformity with the purposes of Prop. 10,” according to the lawsuit.
“These efforts are now at risk due to the illegal and unconstitutional actions proposed to be taken by defendants with the approval of the state Legislature,” the lawsuit claims.