Sep 30 2010

Ballot Propositions 22 & 25 Focus on California’s Budget Woes

Feature Stories | Published 30 Sep 2010, 9:55 am | Comments Off on Ballot Propositions 22 & 25 Focus on California’s Budget Woes -

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Prop 25The California budget is over three months late, and there is no end in site to the stalemate in Sacramento. A November proposition may offer some relief. Proposition 25 seeks to make California the 48th state where only a simple majority vote of approval is needed to pass the annual budget. Currently, California’s budget must be approved by 2/3 of all legislators, a super majority vote that is very difficult to achieve. Passing the budget late has become routine, creating a near constant state of emergency. The cost of a late budget is in the millions. Supporters of Prop. 25 say that last year’s impasse forced the state to issue 450,000 IOUs, which then cost taxpayers $8 million in interest alone. In addition to the financial toll, late budgets can cause teacher lay-offs and delay the completion of infrastructure projects. Proposition 25 would NOT change the current requirement of a 2/3 approval to raise taxes. In the LA Times George Skelton wrote that our current system allows the minority party, historically the Republicans, to stall the budget process. He observed, “The budget inevitably closes with a deal laden with pork projects or other concessions for a holdout politician whose demands would not otherwise fly in a more democratic process.”

A second budget related initiative, Prop. 22, seeks to dramatically change the way the state of California can borrow funds. Currently if the Governor declares a fiscal emergency the state can borrow money from cities. The state must repay the loans within 3 years, and the state cannot borrow funds more than two times in ten years. The No on Prop. 22 campaign says the proposition is advertised as a way to protect small city budgets from raids by the State, but in reality it is a money grab for redevelopment agencies. These agencies have the power to seize private property and use tax-payer money for private development projects like malls, hotels, and stadiums that do not provide a financial benefit to all residents.

GUEST: Marty Hittleman: President of the California Federation of Teachers (CTA)

The CTA urges a YES vote on Proposition 25

The CTA does not take a position on Proposition 22, but the California Teachers Association and the California Nurses Association urge NO on Proposition 22.

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