It’s Election Day! Undecided on how you are going to vote today? Read some of my thoughts on Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown, the Senate Race, Prop. 19, and propositions 20-24. Once you’re caught up, read below for some thoughts on propositions 25-27 and then head to the polls!
Prop 25. Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget and Budget-Related Legislation from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes. Initiative Constitutional Amendment
Prop. 25 is one of the more complicated and important of the propositions in this election. California is one of three states that requires a two-thirds majority in the legislature to pass a budget. Ideally, the super-majority requirement would force the Democratic majority and the Republican minority in the legislature to work together to pass a fair and balanced budget. In practice, this requirement encourages the minority to hold-the-line. Instead of compromise, we go many months without a state budget.
Some policy analysts believe the two-thirds requirement to pass a budget and raise taxes is a big reason that Sacramento is so dysfunctional. I’m not so convinced that changing the requirement to pass a budget to a simple majority will solve all of our budgetary problems, but it’s worth a shot. I believe the 1990’s citizen commission was correct in their assessment: “There is no evidence [the two-thirds vote] does anything to slow the increase in state spending. Instead, it encourages horse trading [and] pork-barrel legislation… Stories abound of ‘buying’ votes to reach the two-thirds.”
The proposition will still keep in place the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes. However, I’m a little concerned that a simple majority requirement would lead to increased spending and make it easier for fees and other unofficial taxes to be raised. On the other hand, I’m tired of the unsavory compromises that resemble buying votes. In the end, a budget SHOULD only require a simple-majority. That is the main job of the state legislature and a two-thirds requirement just doesn’t seem justifiable to me. Yes
Here are what others have to say:
LA Times: Yes
Sacramento Bee: No
San Diego Union Tribune: No
Howard Jarvis League: No
Courage Campaign: Yes
Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce: No
Prop 26. Requires That Certain State and Local Fees Be Approved by Two-Thirds Vote. Fees Include Those That Address Adverse Impacts on Society or the Environment Caused by the Fee-Payer’s Business. Initiative Constitutional Amendment
To fully understand this initiative, you need to understand Prop. 13 (1978) that established a two-thirds requirement for future tax increases. This proposition would extend the two-thirds requirement to “fees” which currently require only a majority vote. Many of the fees that Prop. 26 is designed to limit deal with offsetting damage to the environment. These include cleaning up oil spills and taxes on beverages to fund recycling programs.
The simple story of Prop 26 is that business interests including oil, tobacco, and alcohol companies don’t want any more fees that are levied to pay for the damage they do to the air, water, and public health. Easy NO vote.
Prop 27. Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting With Elected Representatives. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute
For the same reasons I am in favor of Prop. 20 that would empower a citizens
commission to redraw congressional districts, I am opposed to Prop 27. which would eliminate the citizens commission to redraw state Assembly and Senate districts. A Yes vote on Prop. 27 would mean invalidating Prop. 11 passed by voters in 2008. The only reason I can think of to vote in favor of this proposition is if you are a hard-line Democrat that wants to see the Democratically-controlled legislature draw unfair but politically-advantageous district boundaries. I’m voting NO because gerrymandering is unfair, undemocratic, and just bad policy.
Just for Fun: Lt. Governor Race. Gavin Newsom vs. Abel Maldonado
Lt. Governor may be the least important job you’ll be asked to cast a vote for in this election. Even Democratic nominee Gavin Newsom said when he was running for Governor, “What does the lieutenant governor do? For the life of me, I don’t know.” When Newsom dropped out of the race for Governor and instead ran for Lt. Governor, those words came back to haunt him. But, you know what, he was just being honest. The Lt. Governor just makes a few minor appointments, sits on a few boards, and waits for something to happen to the Governor. Despite the office being minor and the fact that I have nothing against Abel Maldonado, I’m most excited about putting a little ink dot next to Gavin Newsom’s name. He’s well-spoken, passionate, and adds a little excitement when compared to other California Democrats (I’m looking at you Jerry and Barbara). I’m voting for Gavin Newsom, but hopefully he doesn’t get too bored waiting around for something to happen to Jerry or preparing for his eventual run for Governor.
Read about the candidates I didn’t cover at the LA Times and print our your custom ballot.