PRESS DEMOCRAT STAFF
Sonoma County on Monday became the sixth county government to sue the state of California to block its plan to use voter-approved local early childhood funds for state deficit reduction.
“The state’s actions are illegal and go against the will of voters,” Efren Carrillo, chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, said in a prepared statement.
The suit filed in Sonoma County Superior Court challenges Assembly Bill 99, legislation recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that requires local First 5 Commissions across the state to give up half of their fund balances, about $1 billion statewide.
In Sonoma County that amounts to a loss of about $15.5 million earmarked for programs that target early childhood health and education programs. The funding emerged from Prop. 10 in 1998 when voters authorized a 50-cent tax on tobacco products for the purpose.
“If this raid is not stopped, our local First 5 Commission would lose dollars to the state’s general fund black hole,” Carrillo stated.
Marin, Fresno, Madera, Merced and Orange counties have filed similar lawsuits.