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(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)
K-12 Education

Santa Cruz voters will decide Tuesday if children’s fund becomes permanent, gets increased revenue

If passed, Measure A would direct more funding from the cannabis business tax into the Santa Cruz Children’s Fund and insulate it from the whims of the city council.

Just one item will be on the ballot when city of Santa Cruz residents go to the polls Tuesday: the future of the Santa Cruz Children’s Fund.

With Measure A, voters will decide whether the fund gets a bigger share of the revenue generated by the city’s cannabis business tax and if it gets a permanent place in the city charter, insulating it from the whims of the city council.

How to vote

In-person voting on Tuesday starts at 7 a.m. and polls close at 8 p.m. For more information on how to vote and locations, click here.

To vote by mail, ballots need to be postmarked on or before Tuesday’s Election Day, Nov. 2. Ballots can be dropped off at ballot drop boxes, the Santa Cruz County Clerk/Elections office or the Santa Cruz City Clerk’s office. They can also be dropped off at in-person voting locations through Tuesday.

Since the Santa Cruz City Council created the children’s fund in 2017, it has received 12.5% of the cannabis tax revenue. That would increase to 20% if Measure A passes.

The cannabis business tax, which was set at 7% of gross receipts when it was adopted in 2014, will not be changed by the measure.

And by having voters decide through a ballot measure, the fund would no longer be susceptible to changes or elimination by a future decision by council members through council policy. Instead, it would have to be changed by another election.

If Measure A had been implemented prior to fiscal year 2022, it would have increased the revenue allocated to the children’s fund by about $128,000, to a total of $340,000 for that year, according to an analysis from the city attorney’s office.

Each year, Santa Cruz city councilmembers decide which programs and organizations receive money from the children’s fund.

Previously, they’ve allocated $5,000 to the Santa Cruz Toddler Care Center, $3,000 to a local foster grandparent program and $30,317 to Thrive by Three Early Childhood Fund. The early childhood fund also receives money from the County of Santa Cruz general fund.