Governor Pushes Initiatives


There's an important election in California on Tuesday, though the vast majority of voters are expected to ignore it. A set of complicated initiatives to adjust state government fiscal realities seem in trouble, and Gov. Schwarzenegger is desperate for them to pass.

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Valuable details on both the politics and the function of the proposed initiatives from the L.A. Times:

Battling anger and indifference on the part of California voters, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger implored them Sunday not to make the state "the poster child for dysfunction" by defeating a host of measures on Tuesday's ballot that seek to restructure the state's bleak finances.

The governor's visits to three African American churches in Los Angeles came as proponents and opponents of the ballot measures marshaled the last of the millions of dollars they have collected for the special election. Schwarzenegger said Sunday he had been told that about 25% of voters are expected to show up, a paltry percentage that underscores the difficulty of the quest for reliable voters.....

And here's what the initiatives do, in the Times' quick summation:

The ballot measures were the product of a budget deal earlier this year between Schwarzenegger and lawmakers. Proposition 1A would boost the state's rainy day fund, invoke a spending cap and trigger the extension of recent tax hikes for up to two years. Proposition 1B would begin to restore cuts to schools if 1A is also approved. Proposition 1C would allow officials to borrow $5 billion in state lottery money for general purposes. Propositions 1D and 1E would transfer money for budget use that currently is set aside for children's and mental health services. Proposition F, the only one that polls show voters leaning toward approving, would ban raises for legislators and state officeholders in years when California runs a deficit.

The GOP-leaning Policy Report web site on California politics lists the major party's stances on the ballot measures and gives its own endorsements. The PublicCEO web site's useful summation of the measure's effects, with lists of who is for and against them around the state. You might also want to study the state of California's own official "Voter Information Guide" before voting on Tuesday.

And former Daily News editor and current local political blogger and gadfly Ron Kaye says he's against all of them. Here's why:

every single elected city and county and state official has failed us....That's why I'm voting against all the state propositions on the ballot. They've gotten their hands on hundreds of billions of dollars, trillions probably, in the first nine years of the 21st century....Are the schools better? The roads? The quality of life? The economic opportunities? The air, the water the sea, the land? Our health, our sense of community, our confidence in our government, our hopes for the future?....

That's why I'm voting to send the state budget problem back to the people who are responsible for it. In their humiliating failure, they have audaciously put before voters an unintelligible hodge-podge of self-contradictory measures that do nothing to solve the real problem of state waste, inefficiency, misguided priorities and just plain overspending.

The photo associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Jim.Greenhill. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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