new york times on special election

Voters to Face 6 Measures on Finances in California

Perhaps the biggest issue in front of voters, policy experts say, is Proposition 1A, which would increase the amount of money funneled into the state’s rainy-day fund, restrict spending from it and extend several temporary taxes. Proposition 1B, which is related, would require $9.3 billion to be paid to education to make up for shortfalls in spending levels set, as it happens, by Proposition 98, which voters approved in 1988.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has been campaigning for the measures, saying they would “stop that madness” of budget booms and busts.

But opponents say the first measure is just a reheated version of the spending cap that Mr. Schwarzenegger unsuccessfully tried to have passed in a 2005 special election.

“This is just his next attempt to put a fiscal straitjacket on the investments we need to build a better California,” said Mike Roth, a spokesman for the union-backed No on 1A coalition.

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One response to “new york times on special election

  1. Recommendations from the Ojai Valley Democrats:
    ___________________
    1A – NO
    1B – YES
    1C – NO
    1D – NO
    1E – NO
    1F – YES
    ___________________

    As some of you are aware, there’s an election coming up. May 19th you will be asked to vote on Propositions 1A, B, C, D, E & F. This is a special election called because the legislature needs your vote to change the Constitution of the State of California. This is a direct result of the budget the legislature passed in February to deal with a $42 billion deficit. Since the budget was fashioned back in January – February, the deficit has grown, some say higher than $50 billion, so this budget doesn’t even actually solve the whole budget shortfall to date. The Ojai Valley Democrats met on Monday, April 27th and we discussed in depth and voted on our recommendations, the following is what we decided.

    In talking about the California budget, a little background is in order. Because of the 2/3 rules in the legislature, the Republicans have inordinate power over the budget process in California. We are continually witness to long, knock-down, drag-out fights over the budget due to the extreme power of the minority party in all things having to do with budgets or taxes. The 2/3 rules hold that a 2/3’s majority of the legislature, both in the Assembly and in the Senate, must vote to raise taxes or pass a budget. It is important in any discussion of the 2/3 rules that one understands that there are actually two rules that need to be addressed: 2/3 for passing a budget and 2/3 for taxation authority. This doesn’t get all that much attention in years where we are not experiencing a deficit, but as we are all aware, this year is different. Indeed, it is possibly so different that we have not seen its like in 70 – 80 years. This time around the minority party, the Republicans, pushed their recalcitrance so far that many publicly funded projects had to be stopped back in January before they voted on this deeply flawed budget which requires the approval of the citizens of this State via a vote on propositions 1A-F.

    1A seeks to put an arbitrary cap on spending, similar to what the Governor wanted with Prop 76. It is written in such a way that it is not a straight-up cap, but the effect it would have were it to pass is the same. Of all the propositions, this is the biggest one and it is unacceptable. The Ojai Valley Democrats voted unanimously for a NO vote on 1A.

    1B is a $9 billion dollar one-time giveaway to get the California Teacher’s Association’s support for 1A. 1B will run out by about 2014. 1A on the other hand will be a permanent feature or the Constitution and it will ensure that California’s schools will continue to be underfunded into the future. The feeling during our discussion of this proposition was that we needed to vote for any and all funding for schools. The reality is, if 1A goes down to defeat, 1B will never be funded and will not happen. We have already made our recommendation that 1A be defeated, but as a form of insurance in case 1A somehow passes, we decided that 1B should be a Yes vote. Money for the schools is money for the schools, even if it is a one time bribe. The Ojai Valley Democrats voted for a YES vote on 1B with only one member voting no.

    1C has been referred to as a “Payday loan” which seeks to “securitize” future lottery revenues. The idea is that we would be able to raise $5 billion dollars with these instruments. It’s worth noting that the number one financier of this proposition is the manufacturer of the lottery ticket machines. The Ojai Valley Democrats voted unanimously for a NO vote on 1C.

    1D and 1E are an insult, pure and simple.

    In 1998 we voted on Proposition 10 that funded the First Five program which provides “educational and health care programs for children under 5 whose families are otherwise unable to afford those services.”(from the blog Calitics) This proposition accomplished these worthy goals by taxing tobacco sales.

    In 2004 we passed Prop 63 to address the disastrous underfunding of mental health services in this state ever since Ronald Reagan was Governor. Prop 63 created “a 1% surcharge on incomes over $1 million”(Calitics) to accomplish this worthy goal.

    Both of these programs have been extremely successful and they both have their own sources of funding. They even run slight surpluses. 1D and 1E are blatant raids on these two successful programs. The legislature, hamstrung by the 2/3 rules, is desperate to find revenue anywhere they can. They have targeted the “reserves” that these two VERY successful programs are supposed to have. Robbing both of these program’s “reserves” would only provide about $1 billion dollars to the general fund; this at the expense of the mentally ill and young children. Ojai Valley Democrats voted unanimously for a NO vote on 1D. The Ojai Valley Democrats voted unanimously for a NO vote on 1E

    1F would block any pay raises for elected officials if the budget were in deficit. It’s hard to argue with that. Of course, this would have a vanishingly small impact on the overall budget. It’s actually kind of ridiculous when we are contemplating a $50 billion dollar budget shortfall. The Ojai Valley Democrats voted for a YES vote on 1F with only one member voting no.

    Now, if the vote goes as we recommend statewide, it is important to realize that the legislature will be right back where it was in January when they were fighting with the minority party for a budget. The difference will be that the deficit will have grown even bigger. The Republicans will renew their threats to drive the whole state off the cliff. I wouldn’t be surprised if the bridge project on the East End of Ojai gets stopped again, along with all state funded construction projects. There is even a very ugly possibility of California defaulting and going bankrupt.

    The real culprits in this situation are the 2/3 rules that give inordinate, undemocratic power to the minority party. We need to stand up and point the finger at the Republicans and dare them to destroy the largest economy in the entire United States. If they choose this incredibly irresponsible option, we need to hold them accountable by any legal means necessary. These may include recall proceedings on reckless, recalcitrant Republican Senators who vote NO and refuse to compromise on their already demonstrably failed ideology. Further, we need to target the 2/3 rules and eliminate their undemocratic influences. It is irrational to cling to the failed anti-tax, free-market ideology of the likes Grover Norquist. Our own State Senator, Tony Strickland, won his Senate seat by the thinnest of margins, yet he ignored at least 50% of his constituency and stood against passing a reasonable budget. He and his cohorts are asking us to change our Constitution with these propositions because they refuse to deal responsibly with the budget. How much longer should we allow this type of bullying? How much longer will we countenance the 2/3 rules on budgets and on taxation authority to the detriment of our state?

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