General Election, November 06, 2018
In 2004, California voters approved Proposition 63, also known as the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). The act provides funding for various county mental health services by increasing the income tax paid by those with income above $1 million. This income tax increase raises $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion per year.
In 2016, the Legislature created the No Place Like Home program to build and rehabilitate housing for those with mental illness who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. The Legislature tried to appropriate money from the MHSA two years ago to fund this program, but that effort has been challenged in court. (The legal challenge relates to (1) whether using MHSA funding to pay for the No Place Like Home program is in accord with what the voters intended when they approved the MHSA, and (2) whether voter approval is required for the No Place Like Home bonds.)
Proposition 2 allows the state to carry out the No Place Like Home program in two ways:
- Approves the Use of Mental Health Services Act Funds for No Place Like Home - The measure says that Mental Health Services Act funds can be used for No Place Like Home. No more than $140 million of Mental Health Services Act funds could be used for No Place Like Home in any year.
- Authorizes $2 Billion in Borrowing - The measure allows the state to sell up to $2 billion in bonds to pay for No Place Like Home. The bonds would be repaid over many years with Mental Health Services Act funds.
Before these bonds can be sold, the state must ask the courts to approve the state’s plan to pay for the No Place Like Home program.
A YES vote on Proposition 2 means the state could use existing county mental health funds to pay for housing for those with mental illness who are homeless.
A NO vote on Proposition 2 means the state’s ability to use existing county mental health funds to pay for housing for those with mental illness who are homeless would depend on future court decisions.
According to the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO), the fiscal effect of Proposition 2 depends on whether or not the courts would have approved the state’s plan to pay for No Place Like Home. (The case is not expected to be resolved prior to the election.) If the courts would have approved the state’s plan, the measure would have little effect. This is because the state would have gone forward with No Place Like Home in any case. If the courts would have rejected the state’s plan, the state would not have been able to move forward with No Place Like Home. This measure would allow the state to do so.
Reflections on Church Teaching:
Read Hope and Healing: A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of California on Caring for those who Suffer from Mental Illness Addressed to All Catholics and People of Goodwill and its companion Study Guide
“For many people, mental illness represents an ongoing and lifelong burden. We clearly proclaim that there is no shame in receiving a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder. We affirm the need for education in our communities to remove the unjust prejudice and stigma often associated with mental illness. Catholics should be the first among all to witness to the truth about the dignity of every human person, so as to live in love and solidarity with our neighbor. We recognize that each of us is a “vessel of clay” (2 Cor 4:7), fragile in body and mind. Yet each of us is still loved by God our Father, always capable of being healed spiritually and filled with God’s sanctifying grace.” Hope and Healing: A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of California for those who Suffer from Mental Illness Addressed to All Catholics and People of Goodwill (May 1, 2018).
“Whoever suffers from mental illness always bears God’s image and likeness in themselves, as does every human being. In addition, they always have the inalienable right not only to be considered as an image of God and therefore as a person, but also to be treated as such.” Saint Pope John Paul II (December 11, 1996).
“Every Christian, according to [their] specific duty and responsibility, is called to make [their] contribution so that the dignity of these brothers and sisters may be recognized, respected, and promoted.” Pope Benedict XVI, Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the 14th World Day of the Sick (December 8, 2005).
- Mercy Housing - Ascension Health, Bon Secours Health System, Catholic Health Initiatives, Dignity Health, Mercy Health, St. Joseph Health System, Trinity Health Corporation
- There were no committees registered in opposition to Proposition 2.