I urge a “Yes” vote on Proposition 31
The New York Post recently noted the exact problem with California’s state budget — the rate of growth is higher than rate of inflation, for some years (1991 to 2009) even double the rate of inflation.
Since our elected officials in Sacramento have shown they can’t balance a budget and need some guidance, Proposition 31 gives it to them. Among other things, the measure prohibits creating expenditures of over $25 million unless offsetting revenue or spending cuts are identified, requires performance reviews of all state programs and requires the publication of bills at least three days prior to a vote. These are just three of the items that I believe make it worth a “Yes” vote. This proposition will provide some of the needed guidance to the Governor and legislature.
Sacramento politicians, for the most part, lack the ability to be fiscally responsible. Because of this, the people must step in and impose rules. Yet, politicians, if they don’t like voter approved measures, do their best to water them down. Just two examples:
- Remember Proposition 25 that voters passed in 2010? It was argues that would solve the budget problem because it gave the legislature a simple majority to pass a budget, but with the understanding that if they were late in doing so, their pay would be suspended. Well, our elected friends in Sacramento sued and had the salary suspension part ruled unconstitutional, meaning now they get to pass a budget on a simple majority, yet with no punishment if they are late. Don’t you love it when they thumb their noses at us and we allow them to get away with it?
- How about Proposition 4, the “Gann Limit” Initiative that voters passed in 1979? (Governor Brown actually supported this measure during his first stint as Governor.) Among its many rules, it restricted the rate of budget growth based upon cost of living and growth in population. But the legislature has since watered it down to the point that it no longer has any teeth.
Since politicians have failed to show adequate restraint when it comes to the size of government, reform is needed and it’s apparent it’s not going to come from Sacramento. It includes some costs, but isn’t it worth it if the measure mandates fiscal restraint on State legislators? While I would like more “teeth” in Prop 31, the prop is good enough to force our representatives in Sacramento to follow the dictate of the people and to control their spending (well, at least for a little while until our dear elected friends in Sacramento find a way to water it down like the others) . Since the Governor and legislature have shown they cannot balance a “real” budget, nor can they say no to increasing the size of programs, this measure is needed.
Special interest groups are not going to like Prop 31 because it controls growth, but how are we going to solve the continuous problems with the State budget unless we do control it?
On a side note, if I were writing a measure to address the budget, I would bring back the two propositions mentioned above, 4 and 25, and I would also require the budget be approved as balanced, without any gimmicks. BTW, here’s something I wrote way back in 2009; sadly, things haven’t changed.
So, ignore the pleas of special interests and help guide our elected officials in showing them how to actually attempt to balance a real budget. We need to try to solve the state’s continuous budget mess. We need to mold California back into the kind of state that businesses will want to be based, instead of leaving, thus raising tax revenue by the sheer number of businesses and employees. Sacramento politicians have shown that they have limited self-control, so let’s assist them. I urge you to help save the state and vote “Yes” on Proposition 31.