I’m voting against all of them. Basically, these measures are half-assed alternatives to the necessary step of raising taxes – right now the only means the legislature has of maintaining fiscal responsibility and maintaining basic necessary programs. Unfortunately, because of the goofiness of the tax revolts of the late 70s and early 80s which require among other things a two-thirds majority for any tax increases. The legislature is hand-cuffed, and nobody wants to even make the effort to raise the revenues. So we’re getting a piecemeal proposal which cannibalizes essential programs to meet short term budget balancing needs. The hard right rejects the proposals because the moderates of their party tried to sweeten the deal for liberals by throwing in a few bones in the form of taxes, while placing even more restrictions on the discretion of the legislature to adapt to the needs of a particular year. If you don’t trust the legislature with your money, then vote in a different legislature, but don’t try to micromanage the budget process by ballot.
1A – proposes to put a larger chunk of money into a “rainy day” fund, and requires that it be done every year regardless of the economic conditions. It’s essentially a spending cap, and quite frankly if we have extra money I’d much rather it be used to pay off bonded debt. Having a rainy day fund is like putting money in the bank with a 1 percent interest when you have an outstanding balance on a loan for 7 percent.
Basically, the proposition locks us into a formula that does not allow flexibility to expand social services as the retirement population increases dramatically. And from what some of the experts are saying, the formulas for usage during “rainy days” are somewhat obscure.
Also, the proposition extends the time period for the emergency sales tax to 2012, instead of the current expiration of 2010. The sales tax is a regressive tax. Whether it’s necessary to get through this lien time, it shouldn’t be encouraged as a long term option.
1B – Guarantees that some of the 1A money would go to education, a bone thrown to get CTA support for 1A. Without the 1A funds, it’s pointless.
1C – Looks to allow flexibility to sell more lottery tickets. The Lottery is essentially a regressive tax which prays on mathematical ignorance and the hope of lower income people. I don’t support it as it is, and I certainly don’t support its expansion. And I don’t support messing with the flow of the money to encourage the use of the lottery for purposes beyond education.
1D – Seeks to pull money out of the special fund from tobacco taxes (Proposition 10) for certain children’s programs in order to be put into the general fund. Why are they picking on childrens’ programs? If they were willing to dip into the designated funds for prison construction and road construction as well, I might consider it as I would prefer the legislature have the flexibility to determine the needs and priorities of the moment, but until then leave the kids alone.
1E – Does what 1D does, only messes with the mental health care recipients instead, albeit temporarily. Again, don’t let essential services be deprived because moderate Republicans don’t want to increase taxes.
1F – A moronic proposal to prohibit legislative pay increases when there’s a budget deficit. First of all, contrary to popular belief legislators are not overpaid in terms of the market value of their services. Despite the popular bashing of politicians, they are actually underpaid. And to a certain extent they should be. But this is just a feel-good measure which plays on pettiness and adds nothing to the solution. The problem is not that the legislators are sitting on their asses. The problem is that they’re structurally paralyzed by the 2/3 vote requirement.
Hopefully, in 2010 there will be a ballot measure to eliminate the 2/3 vote requirement for tax increases. That’s what’s necessary, unless you want to slash even further the bare-bones services we currently receive. The lack of services is actually starting to take an economic toll.
Personally, I’d also like to see the elimination of constitutional changes by ballot box, or at least the instituting of 2/3 majority for that purpose.
In summary, my recommendations: no, no, no, no, no, no.