Increase Cannabis Tax Fund for Early Childhood Education in Santa Cruz – KION546

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) Voters in the city of Santa Cruz have only one thing to decide in Tuesday’s election: whether or not to raise the city’s share of the city’s cannabis trade tax that funds the city’s cannabis services. early childhood education and childcare. Also known as Measure A.

Measure A aims to allocate 20% of cannabis tax revenues to youth and early childhood development services and programs.

“This measure is not limited to early childhood education,” said Kris Munro, director of schools in the city of Santa Cruz. “It also provides very important support for student access to parks and recreation, after-school and summer programs. It has allowed us to work with our low income families to enroll them in free programs.

In 2017, the Santa Cruz City Council established the Santa Cruz Children’s Fund, allocating 12.5% ​​of annual cannabis tax revenue. $ 176,272 was generated in fiscal 2020. You can find out more about how this money was spent here.

An impartial analysis of the measure, recorded in the official voter guide by City Attorney Tony Condotti, estimated that amount would rise to $ 340,000.

Measure A would also make the fund more permanent.

“A future council would not be able to reverse this contribution to the children’s fund if we were to change this contribution. It would have to come back to the voters,” said David Brody, executive director of First Five Santa Cruz County. “Most importantly, the measure would increase that percentage of the total cannabis trade tax from 12.5%, where it stands today, to 20%.”

There has been no official argument filed against Measure A, however, some are having trouble with how much this election will cost the city with just one question on the ballot.

“When I was on city council, I supported this initiative. I think it was a unanimous vote, and I’m totally in favor of it,” said former city councilor Chris Krohn. “From what I understand, the city council may already approve [the 20%] for this year and would. Instead, someone put it in an article, $ 147,000 to $ 178,000, it costs this election. Why are we spending this money, we could put it on the June ballot or the November 2022 ballot?

But advocates argue the pandemic has accelerated the need for these funds.

“We know families, young families in particular, were stressed before COVID, and they’re a lot more stressed now,” Brody said. “They are stressed about finding affordable child care. Our child care providers are stressed, being able to provide child care and pay their workers a living wage. The children of our families are subject to stress. tremendous stress. And you know what it takes to support these kids? Frankly, it takes resources. “

The measure would also create a community watch committee, consulting with education and child development partners on how best to spend these funds.

These county leaders are all listed as being in favor of measure A:

Ryan Coonerty, Third District Supervisor, Santa Cruz County
Valerie Leveroni Corral, CEO, WAMM Phytotherapies
Kris Munro, Superintendent, City of Santa Cruz Schools
Martine Watkins, City Council Member, City of Santa Cruz
David Brody, Executive Director, First Five Santa Cruz County


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