Judge Rules Against CA in $1 Billion Budget Proposal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A judge has ruled that the state of California cannot take $1 billion in tobacco taxes away from an early childhood development program. Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers had proposed using $1 billion from the California Children’s Trust Fund to help cover the state’s health care budget. Fresno Superior Court Judge Debra Kazanjian ruled last week that the raid was illegal under Proposition 10, a 50 cents-a-pack cigarette tax voters approved in 1998. Lawmakers left the financing plan out of the budget last summer because of the lawsuit filed by First 5 Commissions in Fresno, Merced and Madera. Brown’s finance spokesman, H.D. Palmer, said Monday that the administration is reviewing the ruling before deciding whether to appeal. Brown initially vetoed Democratic lawmakers’ budget, citing such “legally questionable maneuvers.”

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