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Backers of an initiative to increase funding for hospitals, clinics and primary care providers serving low-income patients and medically underserved communities have received authorization to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced.

The increased funding would be financed by a 1 percent state income tax increase on income over $1 million.

“Safety net” hospitals would receive 70 percent of the additional funding and community health clinics 25 percent. The remaining 5 percent would go to health care work force development and training projects eligible for funding under the initiative.

The tax increase would generate additional state revenues typically between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion annually, depending on the economy and asset markets, according to an analysis made by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.

Valid signatures from 585,407 registered voters — 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted by July 17 to qualify what authors Michael Borges and Benjamen Tracey have dubbed “The California Care Act” for the November ballot, Padilla said.

—City News Service

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