Ballot Arguments Feature Bipartisan Reasons to Vote ‘No’ on Proposition 1

Costly Bonds and Cuts to Mental Health Care Featured in “No on Prop. 1” Arguments

Prop. 1 is “Huge, Expensive and Destructive,” per Legislative Leaders & Mental Health Advocates

SACRAMENTO, Nov. 21, 2023 – In a preview of the fight against Proposition 1 on the March 5, 2024, ballot, initial arguments for and against the measure were filed last week.

The opposing argument calls Prop. 1 “a nightmare for taxpayers, cities and counties, and people with mental illness,” labeling the measure “huge, expensive, and destructive.”

The 500-word opposition argument, signed by two legislators and a mental health advocacy group, offers a blend of critiques of Prop. 1 that should appeal to the concerns of all voters, whether they are Republican, Democratic or independent. The signers are Sen. Brian Jones (R-San Diego), Assembly Member Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach), and Heidi Strunk, CEO of Mental Health America in California (MHAC).

The arguments warn that the true cost of Prop. 1’s bonds will exceed $10 billion, raising California taxpayers’ costs long-term. Citing interest rates today, the argument says this is a “VERY BAD TIME to be taking on new bond debt.”

Their argument also warns voters that Prop. 1 “STEALS AWAY” almost one-third of local mental health services funding that was created under Prop. 63 (2004), the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). Redirecting huge chunks of mental health care funding “threatens effective services that counties already offer,” the argument says.

The argument for the ballot pamphlet also notes how Prop. 1 disrupts the MHSA’s flow of funds, which now relies on counties to set priorities. Instead, Prop. 1 “mandates state control over local control, with reduced oversight,” the arguments says. Current accountability measures from the MHSA would be sidelined in favor of state agency control under Prop. 1.

It concludes, “Prop 1 is a multi-billion-dollar disaster that will hurt the very people it claims to help.”

Leaders of three mental health advocacy groups also filed an official 250-word “rebuttal” argument to the main argument in support of the measure.

It warns of “EXTREME DAMAGE to existing mental healthcare programs… Current MHSA programs are a LIFELINE for under-served communities and people without insurance. Many of these services WON’T SURVIVE Prop. 1’s cuts.”

The rebuttal argument concludes: “Prop. 1 doesn’t ‘fix’ a broken system, it BREAKS something that’s WORKING: the MHSA. DON’T RAID current mental health programs to pay for Prop. 1. Please vote NO!”


Californians Against Proposition 1 is a broad, nonpartisan coalition of people, including those who provide and receive local and statewide mental health services. We are concerned with the many issues raised by the proposition, from the bond itself to the many complex changes to the state’s system of delivery of services to vulnerable, and often marginalized, populations.