Posts Tagged ‘november’

Prop 31 – Unnecessary Budget Rules

November 2, 2012

Prop 31 is titled: State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

The official summary reads:

Establishes two-year state budget. Sets rules for offsetting new expenditures, and Governor budget cuts in fiscal emergencies. Local governments can alter application of laws governing state-funded programs. Fiscal Impact: Decreased state sales tax revenues of $200 million annually, with corresponding increases of funding to local governments. Other, potentially more significant changes in state and local budgets, depending on future decisions by public officials.

Prop 31 addresses many issues, and I don’t think it addresses them very effectively.

First, it seeks to establish a two-year budget cycle instead of an annual budget. I’m not sure how this is supposed to help taxpayers. If Sacramento can’t balance a budget without accounting gimmicks every year, why is changing it to every other year going to help?

Second, it creates rules that for every government program that exceed $25 million, the legislature has to either raise taxes or cut programs in the amount of the new program. While this sounds like a good idea, it could easily backfire. What happens if the state is running a surplus and wants to add a program to help schools? I know, the state of California running a surplus is pretty farfetched, but if it did, the legislature would still have to adopt cuts to offset the new program that could be paid for out of savings.

Third, it gives the Governor power to cut the budget by his or herself during emergencies. Personally, I am very leery of giving this kind of power to any individual. It basically makes the Governor the King of California because we will always be in a state of financial emergency.

Finally, it allows for about $200 million of annual sales tax revenue to be sent directly back to local communities. I really like this part of the Proposition, but not enough to vote for it. $200 million is only 0.14% of our state budget so it will have a negligible impact to the state. But this is a law that the state legislature should just pass. Why does it have to be on a proposition at all? This is further proof that our politicians in Sacramento do absolutely nothing and wait for ballot measures instead of doing their jobs.

This leads me to a perfect segue to my closing argument. Many proponents of Prop 31 say that we can’t trust our lawmakers to balance a budget or manage taxpayer dollars so we need this to pass.

If we can’t trust our politicians, it is our job to vote them out! If we want politicians in Sacramento to balance the budget, we need to elect representatives who will do just that! It makes no sense that we need to pass ballot measures to do something as fundamental as balancing a checkbook.

I recommend voting NO on Prop 31. It adds unnecessary layers to the state budget and will not change anything in Sacramento. There is a need to vote those in Sacramento who are absolutely failing out of office. There is no need for Prop 31.