Gloria to Counties: Spend Mental Health Services Funding

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cities, School Districts, and Other Public Entities Would Be Eligible for Unspent MHSA Funds Under New Bill by Assemblymember Gloria

SACRAMENTO, CA – With approximately $2.5 billion dollars in Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding unspent in county coffers, California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) unveiled state legislation today that would force county governments to spend those dollars or have them re-allocated to other public entities.

Voters enacted Proposition 63 with the expectation that government would provide mental health services at the local level. Unfortunately, multiple California counties have chosen to sit on this money while the need for mental health services continues to grow. It is wholly unacceptable and why I have introduced AB 2843,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “The message is simple: if counties cannot or will not spend the dollars allocated to them for mental health services, we will find a public entity that will.”

AB 2843 would give eligibility to cities, school districts, and special districts to receive unspent MHSA funds should a county not spend its allocated monies within three years. At that point, the unspent dollars would revert back to the State and then be redistributed to these other public entities to allow them to provide mental health services within the scope of the MHSA.

AB 2843 comes as a result of extensive reporting by media outlets as well as a report released earlier this year by the California State Auditor in which both detail a significant amount of MHSA funds have gone unspent. According to the State Auditor, San Diego County has not spent more than $185 million in MHSA funds as of fiscal year 2015-2016.

Proposition 63, also known as the Mental Health Services Act, was passed by voters in November 2004. It established a one percent income tax on personal incomes in excess of $1 million and created the Mental Health Services and Oversight Commission, which is charged with overseeing the implementation of MHSA. The MHSA is designed to address a broad continuum of prevention, early intervention and service needs as well as provide funding for infrastructure, technology, and training needs for community mental health systems.