March 5, 2024 Ballot Prop. 1

Proposition 1: The Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure. Authorizes $6.38 Billion in Bonds to Build Mental Health Treatment Facilities for Those With Mental Health and Substance Use Challenges; Provides Housing for the Homeless. Legislative Statute.


Summary

Proposition 1 has been placed on the ballot by the California State Legislature and consists of two components, one that amends an existing law and one that establishes a new bond. 

In general terms, Prop. 1 will create housing and treatment options, especially for homeless individuals with serious mental illness by changing the voter-approved 2004 Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) also known as Prop. 63 (2004) and by authorizing the state to issue a $6.38 million dollar bond. 

Changes to the 2004 Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)

There is no change to the 1% tax on incomes over $1 million. However there is a change to the percentage of funding the state and counties will receive from what is collected from the 1% tax. Under Prop. 1 the State will receive 10% of the money raised by this tax; up from 5%. Counties will receive 90%, down from 95%.

Counties will be required to spend moreof the MHSA money on housing and personalized support services like employment assistance and education. 

Counties would continue to provide other mental health services under the proposition, but less MHSA money would be available to them for these other mental health services. Examples of other mental health services include treatment, responding to people in a mental health crisis, and outreach to people who may need mental health care or drug or alcohol treatment. 

How much counties would spend on different services would depend on future decisions by the counties and the state. The proposition also allows counties to use MHSA money on treatment for drugs and alcohol for people without a mental illness.

The proposition will also change the name of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)  to the Behavioral Health Services Act (BHSA). 

$6.4 billion general obligation bond aka Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond

$4.4 billion of the bond money would be used to build 10,000 in-patient and residential treatment beds across the state.  The remaining $2 million goes to the state program that will give money to local governments to turn hotels, motels, and other buildings to fund permanent supportive housing with half set aside for veterans with mental illness or addiction disorders.

 Fiscal Impact

Prop 1 does not change the tax on people with incomes over $1 million per year. However, the money would be allocated and used. The proposition shifts roughly $140 million annually of MHSA money from the counties to the state.

The total cost to pay off the bonds plus interest would be $6.38 billion-plus several more billion, depending on the interest rate. The state would pay around $310 million every year for the next 30 years to repay the bond.

What your vote means

According to the California State Legislative Analyst’s office:

A YES vote on this measure means: Counties would need to change some of the mental health care and drug or alcohol treatment services provided currently to focus more on housing and personalized support services. The state could borrow up to $6.4 billion to build (1) more places where people could get mental health care and drug or alcohol treatment and (2) more housing for people with mental health, drug, or alcohol challenges.

A NO vote on this measure means: Counties would not need to change the mental health care and drug or alcohol treatment services provided currently. The state could not borrow up to $6.4 billion to build more places where people could get mental health care and drug or alcohol treatment and more housing for people with mental health, drug, or alcohol challenges.

Official Voter Information

Non-partisan Voter Information

Public Opinion Polls

  • Berkeley IGS Poll,  March 5, 2024 (See Table 7: Likely voter preferences on Proposition 1 to authorize $6.38 billion in bonds to build mental health treatment facilities and provide housing for homeless Californians.)

Pro/Con Statements

ProCon

 Proponents argue that Prop. 1 will expand community-based health and addiction services and create supportive housing settings where over 11,000 Californians with the severest mental health needs can live, recover, stabilize, and thrive. 

Prop. 1 will provide needed reforms to the Mental Health Services Act by prioritizing housing solutions that get people off the streets and into care.

The proposition provides treatment over incarceration for the state's mentally ill. Prop. 1 will provide $1 billion to serve veterans experiencing homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse issues.

Prop. 1 will help fund additional professionals so that people with mental health needs can get help in real-time.  Democrats and Republicans support Prop. 1 because it addresses mental health and homelessness without raising taxes.

Prop. 1 has strict accountability measures, including mandatory audits, to ensure that funds are spent as promised.

Opponents argue that the changes proposed to the county mental health system will sideline current clients and result in service cuts. Specifically, counties would be required to redirect roughly $1 billion per year from community services toward housing. That money comes from a 1% tax on millionaires tax known as the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), approved by voters in 2004. 

Prop. 1 takes away almost 1/3 of that guaranteed annual funding from the "millionaire's tax" leaving already underfunded programs to fight for the remaining money.

Additionally, they argue that the $6.38 million Bond will incur at least 60% in interest, costing taxpayers more than 10 Billion dollars. If the state wants to find a solution for homelessness, it should do so through the regular budget process, not through an expensive bond measure.

Prop. 1 brings a one-size-fits-all program and puts a huge, unaccountable state agency in charge.  California's 58 urban and rural counties all have different needs. The voter-approved MHSA was locally based, allowing counties to set their priorities, with mandatory, independent oversight and accountability. Under Prop. 1, effective county-run  programs may be negatively impacted.

Opponents state that communities will have more tents in neighborhoods and fewer people in treatment if Prop. 1 passes.

SupportersOpponents

Certified Results

YesNo
Total Votes: 3,636,734Total Votes: 3,610,511
Percent of Vote: 50.2%Percent of Vote: 49.8%
Source: California Secretary of State. (2024). Complete Statement of Vote March 5, 2024, Presidential Primary Election.
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