Mike’s Easy Guide to the California Election May 19th

Here’s the simple how-to guide for voting on Tuesday.

Prop 1A – NO
This confused proposition claims to limit state spending, but the first thing it does is create a “rainy day slush fund” to the tune of ~$16B.  There are only 28M Californians, folks.  That means taxes of $571 from every man, woman and child in the state.  But since only 18M of those people want to work, and another 11.5% are unemployed, each worker will get hit with ~$968!  Yes, we should limit state spending.  As far as I can tell, this is an increase in spending.

Prop 1B – NO
California has not been able to pass a budget largely because legislators have their hands tied.  Propositions like 1B mandate spending in certain areas without consideration for future events.  When crunch time hits, legislators need maneuverability.  We cannot predict the future, and guaranteed spending always hurts.  Experts agree this will be roughly a $10B tax increase starting in 2011.  Further, in order for this law to work, you need to vote yes on 1A.

Prop 1C – NO
The proposition calls itself a “lottery modernization act”, but really it is a loan from the lottery to the state for $5B to cover more spending.   This would also make lottery profits no longer guaranteed for education.  We don’t need more loans for the state to pay back later.

Prop 1D – NO
Redirects funding from 1998’s Proposition 10 so that funding can be used for purposes other than what was designed in 1998.  This is a great example of why propositions are a bad idea.  In 1998, Prop 10 passed.  But now, the state is in a jam and wants the money to use for something else.  Let’s repeal Prop 10 altogether, not amend it to create more crazy spending plans.

Prop 1E – NO
Like Prop 1D, this proposition is redirecting funds to new purposes.  Prop 1E proposes to change the funding plan for 2004’s Proposition 63, which guaranteed funding for certain mental health services.  Now, the state is in a jam and wants to spend it on something else.  Like with Prop 1D, let’s just eliminate Prop 63 rather than create more complications in our budget.

Prop 1F – NO
This law would prevent salary increases for legislators when there is a deficit.  I don’t disagree, but we don’t need such a stupid law.  It has trivial effect on our overall state economy, and we should be more strict about balancing the budget rather than creating penalties for deficits.

The cheat sheet for this year’s election is simple.  NO.  NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.  Get the pattern?

Several of the propositions are about changing earlier propositions (the lottery, prop 10, and prop 64) so that we can balance the budget by using those guaranteed funds for new purposes.  I agree we need to unlock funds so that we can balance our budget.   But creating new, cockamamie laws isn’t the answer.  Let’s repeal the guaranteed spending initiatives altogether.

4 thoughts on “Mike’s Easy Guide to the California Election May 19th

  • May 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    To be fair, 1A doesn’t *establish* a Rainy Day *Slush* Fund. It changes the rules for the existing Budget Stabilization Fund. And it’s not a slush fund, it’s specifically for emergencies, paying down the debt, infrastructure, and education. It requires the state the save for emergencies in good years. It does also extend the recent increases in sales, vehicle, and income tax to help pump up the fund.

    I’m not saying I’m for it. But I thought I’d call you out on your mischaracterization of it.

  • May 19, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Adrian – sure, the politicians don’t call it a *slush* fund, but you’ve got to admit that allows money to be spent in a very broad range of areas. Slushy. You’re right, my word choice that it “creates” the fund was incorrect. It expands existing, similar funding and broadens the definition of how the money can be spent.

    Thanks for the clarification!

  • May 20, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Well, Mike, your influence seems to have tipped the scales. 5 out of 6 isn’t bad.

    Now to see how those fine folks in Sacramento can close the gap. What I’d like to know is this: Is the likely event that consensus cannot be had, what happens if no budgetary legislation passes at all?

    I’m guessing that the state’s credit goes into the toilet and all forms of contracting stop, prisoners riot and flee, schools just close, wildfires raze whole towns. So presumably they can reach consensus on some core issues. Ought to be very interesting to watch which issues get any money at all.

    I’ve gotta say I’m not sure that Senators from the midwest are prepared to commit federal dollars to the problem.

  • May 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Jeff – yes! It’s all part of the plan!

    California does not have a budget problem. California has a spending problem. We’ve allegedly got a $21B shortfall on a budget of $92B. That means that we just need to do a unilateral 23% spending cut. It will be fine. Legislators will continue to whine.

    Obama will ride in on his white horse, bail us out for half of it, and California citizens will notice very very little difference.


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