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Direct Democracy

2009-05-13 14:18:14.35109+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

So there's this budget crisis in California. Some say it's that all of the mandates of the Propositions have tied legislators' hands on budgeting issues, so when revenues dry up there's nowhere they can cut, it's all been pre-allocated to specific programs which seemed like a good idea at a time. This is one of the problems with direct Democracy.

After grumbling for quite a while, our legislators and gubernator have decided to put this dilemma up to the people in the form of a bunch of propositions on a special election. Here's the problem, the Official Voter Information Guide summary description of Prop 1A:

Changes the budget process. Could limit future deficits and spending by increasing the size of the state "rainy day" fund and requiring above-average revenues to be depositied into it, for use during economic downturns and other purposes. Fiscal Impact: Higher state tax revenues of roughly $16 billion from 2010-11 through 2012-13. Over time, increased amounts of money in state rainy day reserve and potentially less ups and downs in state spending.

Do they think we're stooooopid? So, great, by making sure that our legislators are more fiscally responsible over the long-term, it ups our immediate revenues. Uh. Yeah. So how's that happen exactly? Digging deeper, we find that it (overly simplified) ups income tax, the vehicle license fee, and reduces the amount of decision making power that the legislator and governor have, which got us in this problem in the first place.

Now I'm not necessarily against Prop 1A, but the summaries in the voter guides are all written like they're trying to put one over on the voters. Prop 1D claims that it:

Temporarily provides greater flexibility in funding to preserve health and human services for young children...

(emphasis mine) with a

Fiscal Impact: State General Fund savings of up to $608 million in 2009-10 and $268 million annually from 2010-11 through 2013-24.

So we're gonna preserve all those good things for kids and save half a billion bucks this year and a quarter of a billion bucks thereafter? That's great, but how's that gonna work, exactly?

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about the specifics of these Propositions, but the way the voter guide's written I have this "c'mon, we dare you to be stupid enough to vote for these" vibe, and I can't figure out what the politicians are trying to say.

[ related topics: Politics California Culture Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Allocation of Tax Revenues made: 2009-05-13 15:04:05.385387+00 by: jeff

Is there a pie chart (or some other illuminating representation) which illustrates where and how the current state tax revenues are being spent, versus how they will be spent down the road?

I'd be more interested in having control (or input) over where the money is being spent (and how), rather than putting lids on absolute spending.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-13 15:41:23.356459+00 by: meuon

I've got a new pet theory/plan: 3 day a week government. Tuesday-Thursday.

Underemployed Govt workers can then work another part time job elsewhere to make up for the missing income. We'll save billions. Less may actually be more!

If I can just find a way to say it's "For the childrruuuun" it'll pass.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-05-13 16:40:37.125016+00 by: JT

"For the childrunnn" or "To stop the terrists" and you could have it passed by next week.