Los Angeles has become the latest county to announce it will file suit against Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to use $1 billion from the Children and Families program to cut the $26.6 billion state deficit.

California’s largest county joins Orange County and three others in opposing the proposal to shift money from the program, known as First 5 throughout most of the state. The other counties are Fresno, Madera and Merced.

Money for the Children and Families Commission comes from a 50-cent per pack tax on cigarettes. Voters approved the tax as part of Proposition 10 in 1998 and again in 2009.

The funds are used for health and education programs for children from birth through five years old.

California Healthline reported that Los Angeles, in its suit, plans to use the same legal argument as the other counties. They contend voter approval is needed before funds approved under Proposition 10 can be diverted to other uses.

Brown and legislative leaders argued that as long as the diverted money is used to help children, it is legal for state officials to redirect it.

Riverside, Solano and Ken county authorities also are reported to be considering law suits against the state.


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